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Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke Collection Book 17) Kindle Edition
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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.
It has the taste of the best science fiction of end of XIX century, that used to explore the unknown in a world we thought already discovered and conquered.
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.
I read this book eons ago when I never wrote book reviews. I write a review on this one (repeating what so many other have said) because this book is so superb, I had to add my voice to those praising it. I bought all the sequels (and read just about everything else from Clarke). I am not sure I can give the sequels the same A+++ rating, but they were wonderfully entertaining. This one, though, I'd place among the top 5 SciFi books of all time.
Buy it. You won't regret it.