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Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1973)


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I liked the book even if found some annoying details I won't talk about here because they could be a spoiler. My Clarke's favorite is still Childhood's End. But both the descriptions of Rama and Clarke's great writing style were interesting enough for me to consider reading this story sequel. ( )
  Leticia.Toraci | Feb 10, 2016 |
I've no idea why but I struggled with this all the way. It's not as if the story is slow or anything, in fact I think the idea is brilliant! Perhaps I have too much going on in my life to enjoy it right now.

I think this will have to get reread at some stage! ( )
  sundowneruk | Feb 2, 2016 |
Rendezvous With Rama starts off where lesser books would climax. To begin with parts of Italy are wiped out by an asteroid leading to the creation of the Spaceguard system for detecting future asteroids well in advance of collision so that preventative measures can be taken. Along comes another huge object initially mistaken for another asteroid but as it draws nearer turns out to be a ginormous spaceship with no apparent mean of propulsion. The ship is given the named Rama and the crew of Earth's survey ship Endeavour land on it and enter to investigate.

This is the father of the popular Big Dumb Object sci-fi trope which features humongous alien artifacts befuddling humanity when they are discovered or unexpectedly show up. I just reread this book immediately after finishing another BDO classic Gateway by Frederik Pohl. Gateway totally confounded my expectation because while it features a BDO the focus of the book is on the impact of this object on the life of the protagonist. Being confounded in this case is not too unpleasant as Gateway is a good though provoking read. However, it still left me with a hankering for some BDO adventure and Rendezvous With Rama provided this in spades. This book really is what it says on the tin and if you are in the market for some jaw dropping sense of wonder this is the one to pick up.

Arthur C. Clarke was a stupendous writer of sf, unlike a lot of scientist sf authors he could write with excellent transparency and clarity of vision. He is particularly brilliant at describing the minutiae of space voyages; just the simple act of walking up and down stairs in near zero gravity can become a vivid and fascinating adventure in his stories. Certainly with "Rama" Clarke gets a lot of millage from the cylindrical shape of Rama, the gravitational and centrifugal effects, the weather, the visual impact of the north and south poles, the sea as a cylindrical band etc. That said it is worth noting that this is a novel of exploration, not essentially a pulse pounding action adventure on a dangerous planet, although there is an element of that also. The emphasis is more on the sense of wonder than sense of danger. There are many vividly imagined scenes in this book so clearly described that if you do an image search for "Rendezvous With Rama" on on Google you will find quite a few excellent artworks inspired by this book, a similar search on Youtube will also yield quite a few fan made videos (this short student film is my favrorite).

As usual Clarke did not write with literary flourishes and characterization was clearly not a priority for him. I find the central characters of this book almost interchangeable in their blandness. However I am not sure this is a weakness of Clarke's writing because his books are generally not very long and by not allocating many pages on developing the characters he is able to do a lot of world building, describing the minutiae and implications of his settings, and a spring a few surprises on his readers from his plotting.

I feel that Rendezvous With Rama complements Phol's [b:Gateway|218427|Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)|Frederik Pohl|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388262265s/218427.jpg|1668837] very nicely, one is about the BDO, the other is about the psychological impact of a BDO. I recommend reading both. ( )
1 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It...

As a reviewer on Worlds Without End pointed out, this book is a bit of a mystery story. But, as a reader you can’t really participate in unraveling the mystery, you just have to follow Clarke’s lead. It’s an interesting world at first, with a real sense of wonder, but after about 150 pages it begins to drag, just because there’s no real story here, no character development, etc., just one short chapter after another of exploring the big mysterious cylinder. So after a while, the book’s narrative shallowness starts to hinder the pleasure of exploring. The stale writing doesn’t help either. It does pick up pace a bit for the final 5th of the novel, but ultimately doesn’t deliver, with a disappointing ending. Clarke is not a straight out horrible writer though: Rama is filled with some original, well thought out things, and the meetings of a council on Earth – monitoring the discovery – is a clever narrative device, that helps further the story with exposition that doesn’t feel forced at all.

Rendezvous is (...) ( )
  bormgans | Dec 15, 2015 |
I listened to the audio read by Peter Ganim and Robert J. Sawyer. This book was originally published in 1973, it is a story of space flight and first encounter. A probe enters Earth solar system. A crew land on the probe with the purpose of studying it to determine what it is and what purpose does it serve. I found the story interesting. I liked the speculation about the probe especially the one about it being the arc and the second coming. The title Rama is a name for the Hindu god Vishnu. The readers did a good job and the story was easy to listen to. Sometimes the detail in a science fiction can be a little much for audio but this wasn't the case with the book. Criticism's that I read includes lack of character development and the conclusion leaves you hanging. It was not written to be a series but the ending works perfect for a series and Arthur C. Clarke later wrote several books to follow. I would be willing to read another. This book, regardless of the criticism's was awarded the Hugo, the Nebula and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (1974) as well as Locus (Novel, 1974)and British Science Fiction Association Award (1973). I did like the ending; "The Ramans do everything in threes." ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 3, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (24 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
Jiránek, MiroslavCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
An unknown space probe
flies through Earth's solar system;
What is inside it?

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)

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