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Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1972)


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English (76)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Finally re-read after many (~15?) years. Holds up well and was even better than I remembered (updated to 4 stars from 3). ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
Is Rendezvous with Rama the greatest science fiction novel ever written? It is certainly the best one that I have read, and its impact remains undiminished after several re-readings. Clarke's supremacy as a writer of science fiction lies in his ability to describe fantastic events, scenarios and phenomena in clear, accessible prose that enables even the scientific layman (such as myself) to appreciate the marvels he describes. He also has a gift for mingling the magical with the almost mundane, which always lends that extra verisimilitude to his books.

Rendezvous with Rama is set in 2130, and opens with the discovery of what appears to be a new asteroid trundling through the outer reaches of the solar system. This is, in itself, of little moment until astronomers notice that it appears to be perfectly symmetrical, and moving abnormally quickly. As every available resource is directed to studying this celestial visitor it becomes apparent that it is not a natural object at all but a huge cylinder, fifty kilometres long and thirty kilometres across. The human race has to come to terms with the fact that it is, at long last, bout to encounter another civilisation.

The manned solar survey vessel Endeavour, under Commander Bill Norton, is sent to study Rama, as it is the only ship close enough to do so during the brief period that Rama will spend in our solar system. Endeavour manages to rendezvous with Rama one month after the space ship first comes to Earth's attention, by which time the alien ship is already inside Venus' orbit. Norton and his crew find it surprisingly easy to gain entry to Rama through one of a series of triple airlocks. They soon come to realise that everything in Rama is done in threes.

Once inside they are faced with a vast internal landscape laid out across the internal surface of the cylinder, including a band around the centre of the craft which they soon recognise as ice. This is dubbed the Cylindrical Sea. One bonus is that the atmosphere within Rama is breathable, which facilitates wider exploration. Their time in Rama is limited as there is no way that the Endeavour could survive going too close to the sun, and will have to depart within about a month of landing there.

The nature and purpose of Rama, and the identity and home of its creators remain enigmatic throughout the book. Inside Rama, the atmosphere is discovered to be breathable. The astronauts discover several features, including "cities" (odd blocky shapes that look like buildings, and streets with shallow trenches in them, looking like trolley car tracks) that actually served as factories and seven massive cones at the southern end of Rama – believed to form part of the propulsion system.

Clarke maintains the reader's sense of awe throughout the book, partially because it is matched by that of the characters themselves as they continually discover new aspects of the wonders of Rama. Clarke also investigates the political and religious impact of this sudden manifestation of other civilised life elsewhere in the universe, with the colonies on Mercury, the Moon and Mars all having different responses to the presence of Rama. He even manages to throw in a fair amount of humour, and captures it all in just two hundred and fifty pages. An excellent novel, that is as compelling now as when I first read it about thirty-five years ago. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jul 26, 2014 |
This is one of the few classic science fiction books I truly felt I had to read, the concept was just so fascinating and seems to get repeated a lot in current fiction, and the images that artists and fans have come up with to visualize the story were just so amazing.
I always held off reading it as sometimes older science fiction can be both challenging and a disappointment as both writing styles and scientific knowledge often moves on and leaves the books feeling dated. I did not get that at all with this book.
Compared to most science fiction of today it was rather slow paced with few to none action scenes, it was more like reading a puzzle as it unfolds before you and you just can't wait to turn the page and come across the next fascinating feature of Rama.
I had a lot of questions at the end of the book that never got answered (and probably never will, and possibly that was the point) though it is clear there is a set up for the sequel which I will have to read soon.
This may seem an odd way to explain it, but reading this book made me feel very happy and excited to read more science fiction. ( )
  Kellswitch | Jun 21, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book many years ago when I was younger and always wondered if I would enjoy it again.
I'm glad to say I did.
Arthur C. Clarke was always good at portraying the future of humanity as one that is upbeat and positive. And he does that again while also describing the sense of mystery, fascination and wonder that is Rama - an alien ship that has entered out solar system.

The characters are mostly perfunctory, but they serve their purpose. The real main character of the book is Rama and you are left wanting to know as much about it as possible.
Some people may not like this book because you are left with many more questions then answers, but if you are willing to accept you can never know everything and keep a sense of wonder, you will enjoy this book. ( )
  LustyRebel | May 30, 2014 |
Me resulta una tremenda crueldad que el libro terminase sin resolver muchas de las preguntas que saltan al leerlo. Uno podría discutir que este es un libro en el que en realidad no sucede nada, y es que en verdad no "pasa nada" (no hay acción de por sí, ni demasiadas confrontaciones, ni nada por el estilo), es puramente la exploración de Rama. Pero es justamente Rama en sí, los personajes, y la manera en que está escrito que me atrapó por completo, y ya quisiera tener los otros libros para ver si proveen las respuestas a las preguntas que me han quedado.
La frase final del libro ciertamente promete.

Lo único que no me gustó fue el típico momento dónde los Señores Disparo Primero y Pregunto Después intentan destruir Rama, un cliché un tanto cansino, y el cual podría haber sido obviado ya que a mi parecer no aportó nada a la historia y me resultó más molesto que otra cosa. Pero fueron solo un par de capítulos, y bastante cortos. ( )
  AshuritaLove | May 20, 2014 |
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:19 -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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