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Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1973)

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English (84)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (89)
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I love stories about alien artifacts and Rendezvous with Rama is always heralded as one of the classics of that particular subgenre. The problem is that it is not a good book. There is basically no characterization and the utopian future Clarke describes feels so silly that it's painful to read. That these world-building parts feel forced in does not help.

I started the book with high expectations but was disappointed about 40 pages in. I felt no connection to any of the characters; mainly because there are none. They are just names that drive the story. So I gave up and read the summary on Wikipedia. If you are curious about this book, I suggest you skip it entirely and be content with the summary. ( )
  kenzen | Feb 23, 2015 |
An intruder to the solar system turns out to be a space ship from some far away civilization. A crew of explorers lands on it and find their way inside to find a cold, dark hollow space. As they get nearer to the sun Rama comes to life.

Arthur C. Clark has created a totally credible arc from some unknown place fully thought out to react to the heat of our sun and start to make a habitable space. But we don't find out for who in this book. I would love follow what promised to be further adventures with an unknown species but the reviews of Rama II don't sound promising. Alas. ( )
  mamzel | Feb 21, 2015 |
While there is well-deserved respect for this classic, I think it lacks some of the complexity and economy of more contemporary space opera stories. Admittedly, many of those modern works stand on the shoulders of this novel, relying on concepts pioneered here or in Larry Niven’s ‘Ringworld’ when using shorthanded jargon such as ‘orbital’, ‘arkships’, ‘generation ships’, etc. Clarke has created a fantastically mysterious alien artifact that evokes both the reader’s wonder, and frustration. The thoughtfully imagined engineering is very internally consistent, and completely soaring in its wonder and scope. Lacking any apparent passengers, Rama qualifies as one of the genre’s original inscrutable BDO’s (Big Dumb Object), and is the center of the story’s plot and focus. In fact, very little interpersonal drama or secondary conflict appears in the story aside from some brief nationalist sword rattling which never transcends sideshow status. The only tension that ever seems high enough stakes is that provided by Rama itself, and in each case Clarke returns to the theme of cosmic indifference towards microscopic mankind. Likewise, Clarke’s treatment of characters is fairly superficial, allowing just a peppering of distinct personalities to differentiate the cast a bit. For me, the most interesting, yet unexplored of these was Rodrigo, a devout member of the Fifth Church of Christ, Cosmonaut. These “Cosmo Christers’ hold a belief with a xenopomorphic deity, and I feel could bring many questions and dilemmas to this or just about any Space Opera story. However, much like the ‘Simps’ (genetically engineered SuperChimps), they are a concept introduced and then largely ignored in the text. Narratively, the novel is structured to bounce between a first person perspective through protagonist explorer Commander Bill Norton, and third person scenes from the chambers of government, providing some exposition and perspective. All in all, this story gives a thoughtful, slow examination of BDO concepts- rare in more contemporary works- at the expense of drama and characters, and provides helpful historical background to newer genre readers looking to gain perspective and appreciation for the Space Opera libraries. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Feb 4, 2015 |
I loved this book. Whole Rama series were one of my favorites. Along with Assimov's Foundation and Herbert's Dune formed my favorite Sci-Fi series. ( )
  Aiw | Dec 6, 2014 |
An enjoyable tale of humans exploring an apparently lifeless spacecraft from outer space - Clarke draws many analogies with archaeology, and his vision of the potential of humanity and the inevitability of progress seems (sadly) a little dated now, but his imagination is undoubtedly impressive. ( )
1 vote bodachliath | Nov 4, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (33 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?
(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 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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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