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Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1973)

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English (104)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All (109)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
I've known about this book for what seems like ever, as a canonical "big dumb object" book, but have only just read it for the first time. My what I've missed.

The plot is simple: a mysterious cylindrical object appears in nearby space. Humans go to investigate. They see many mysterious things, but many questions remain unanswered at the book's closing. That's what I knew, and it's a pretty fair description so the story didn't surprise me. Here are things that did.

First, the date. I had thought this was from the 1950s, contemporary with Asimov's Foundation and early robot stories, early 1960's at the latest. But 1973 means it appeared post-New Wave; it was written in a context where other writers were looking to be more literary: experimenting with prose, writing complicated characters, and making social and political commentary. Heck, this book is younger than I am.

Which makes the next surprise all the more surprising: how completely unconcerned Clarke is with trickeries of style, character development, or social awareness. Not that his characters are uninteresting. On the contrary, they represent multiple social groups with competing political or religious agendas. But Clarke doesn't seem to be commenting on current events so much as he is creating a world in which events have moved on from current preoccupations. Even forty-four years later it does not feel dated.

Another surprise: I knew that questions would be unanswered. What I didn't know was that *every* question would be unanswered. Things got curiouser and curiouser until it was just over. And yet I never felt that Clarke was being coy. Whatever the mystery, physics still applies, so despite a lack of answers it always *feels* like the answers are there. They taunt like one of those simple-to-state-difficult-to-prove problems in number theory: you always feel the result would be obvious if only you could find the right approach. I can see why this book attracts such strong devotion.

Last surprise: I knew that a sequel (Rama II) came years & years later in response to persistent requests from fans. What I didn't know was how strongly Rendezvous With Rama seems to promise a sequel, or how badly I'd want one too. I hear it's disappointing. I'm reading it anyway. ( )
2 vote swynn | Feb 20, 2017 |
Pulp fiction. I was not at all engaged by this book. ( )
  nngrey | Jan 13, 2017 |
A well written book. But horribly dull. I felt like I was eating oatmeal the whole time. It might be good for me, but it sure is bland and boring. Will definitely not be reading any more in this series. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
It was as advertised. ( )
  oswallt | Nov 25, 2016 |
5 ( )
  ronchan | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
กลุ่มอ…Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castellano, Peter M.Back cover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Merlo, AuroraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
della Frattina, BeataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, StanislawCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleissner, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ganim, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jiránek, MiroslavCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Longworth, TobyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawyer, Robert J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siegel, HalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swendsen, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallandro, LeonelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volný, ZdeňekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zebrowski, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Sri Lanka, where I climbed the stairway of the Gods.
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Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.
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Haiku summary
An unknown space probe
flies through Earth's solar system;
What is inside it?
(sullijo)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553287893, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:19 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Astronomers discover a huge, celestial object hurtling through space and after a space probe confirms that is not a natural object, send a space team to investigate.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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