- Series: Rama (Book 1)
- Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Spectra (December 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553287893
- ISBN-13: 978-0553287899
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,245 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rendezvous with Rama Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1990
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An all-time science fiction classic, Rendezvous with Rama is also one of Clarke's best novels--it won the Campbell, Hugo, Jupiter, and Nebula Awards. A huge, mysterious, cylindrical object appears in space, swooping in toward the sun. The citizens of the solar system send a ship to investigate before the enigmatic craft, called Rama, disappears. The astronauts given the task of exploring the hollow cylindrical ship are able to decipher some, but definitely not all, of the extraterrestrial vehicle's puzzles. From the ubiquitous trilateral symmetry of its structures to its cylindrical sea and machine-island, Rama's secrets are strange evidence of an advanced civilization. But who, and where, are the Ramans, and what do they want with humans? Perhaps the answer lies with the busily working biots, or the sealed-off buildings, or the inaccessible "southern" half of the enormous cylinder. Rama's unsolved mysteries are tantalizing indeed. Rendezvous with Rama is fast moving, fascinating, and a must-read for science fiction fans. Clarke collaborated with Gentry Lee in writing several Rama sequels, beginning with Rama II.
"Mr. Clarke is splendid...We experience that chilling touch of the alien, the not-quite-knowable, that distinguishes SF at its most technically imaginative." -- The New York Times
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There’s something to note about the author’s style which is at the same time his greatest strength, but for some less sci-fi inclined could be problematic. Everything and everyone in the storie is subject to a rigid framework of something. For example, if not laws of physics then military rank. There are no characters that act in surprising ways, because all characters are able to use a scientific mind to make decisions in any situation they face. There are no elaborate relationships between characters, because their military rank or role in the team dictates their relationship to everyone else. If you want deep characters you need to look elsewhere. If you want to read an intellectually intriguing story about life in space, this is your book.
Clarke’s stories are surprisingly easy to read and keep at least myself glued to the story like few other authors can. Whether you are a scifi enthusiast or just scifi curious, I’d give this author’s books a try.
I have the story "Rendezvous With Rama" and several other good works in a several-works volume, which is where I was unexpectedly taken with his imaginative, humanly fulfilling and action AND character driven story I mentioned above. It was like finding a hidden gem.
As for Rendezvous With Rama, I enjoyed the "jaunt" across a strange alien artifact of astonishing technology, possibly some alien "escape pod" that was to pass through Sol's solar system, which included one space-faring civilization, Earth's, and then to vanish as suddenly as it appeared, headed on some strange mission already planned for it, how many ages ago, no own knows. What could it have been, what did it mean, and who WERE these folks, also, WHERE were they? Characters, details, imagination, scientific approach by Clarke's cast, with his own calculations, and his creations - nice work.
There is a difference in the stories by Arthur C. Clarke, and my enjoyment of them derives from the wholesomeness of the storytelling, with limited violence and no graphic sex or gratuitous scenes, the scientific roots to his theories and images, and the groundbreaking nature of many of his concepts. By now it is well known that he helped popularize the idea of geostationary satellites and foretold the appearance of satellite television broadcasts worldwide, and he wrote extensively on non-fiction topics related to space flight and undersea exploration.
This book is the first in a series of four that continue the Rama story:
- book 1: Rendezvous with Rama, first published in 1973
- book 2: Rama II, written with Gentry Lee and published in 1989
- book 3: The Garden of Rama, written with Gentry Lee and published in 1991
- book 4: Rama Revealed, written with Gentry Lee and published in 1993
Over forty years after it was first written, this is fresh and enjoyable and not at all dated. Well worth reading for anyone who has not discovered it already, and re-reading for those who have.
The story is one of Clarke’s best works of high-concept science-fiction, with themes similar to those in the “Odyssey” series. Like much of his high-concept work, the human characters tend to fall into more archetypal roles, serving to advance the big ideas rather than having fully-fleshed out identities of their own, but this is not such a problem for a 240-page book that clips along at a good pace. More problematic is the beginning of chapter 11, “Men, Women, and Monkeys,” which begins with a rather dated musing about the effects of low gravity on women’s bosoms and how that impacts male crew members. It’s a relatively small section, but it has aged poorly and only serves to highlight that nearly all of Clarke’s characters are men. Other than this, the story will entertain readers and leave them thinking about its ideas long after finishing, like the best of Clarke’s work. Clarke worked with Gentry Lee to write three additional sequels, “Rama II”, “The Garden of Rama”, and “Rama Revealed”, though these break from Clarke’s tone as Lee did most of the writing himself.