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In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge - big enough to contain a city and a sea - and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge - big enough to contain a city and a sea - and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes. Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma. Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it - and who could tell how many years away that might be? - may lie the truth about Rama...


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In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge - big enough to contain a city and a sea - and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge - big enough to contain a city and a sea - and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes. Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma. Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it - and who could tell how many years away that might be? - may lie the truth about Rama...

30 review for The Garden of Rama

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    There's a scene towards the end of the sixth Harry Potter book where Harry and Dumbledore find a small basin of water with a much-needed magical item at the bottom of it. The water is cursed, though, and they can't simply reach in and grab the item, nor scoop out the water; the water has to be drunk in its totality before the item can be attained. And you just know that water's going to taste bad. Think the purified essence of a thousand Domino's pizzas and then multiply that by three. Yes, that There's a scene towards the end of the sixth Harry Potter book where Harry and Dumbledore find a small basin of water with a much-needed magical item at the bottom of it. The water is cursed, though, and they can't simply reach in and grab the item, nor scoop out the water; the water has to be drunk in its totality before the item can be attained. And you just know that water's going to taste bad. Think the purified essence of a thousand Domino's pizzas and then multiply that by three. Yes, that bad. Anyway, Dumbledore realises what has to be done and makes Harry promise to keep feeding him the water, glass by painful glass, and not to stop no matter what happens. Well sure enough it gets unpleasant, immediately they start Dumbledore starts begging Harry to stop, weeping and ranting; Harry meanwhile pleads, cajoles, and lies to his headmaster in order to get him to drink one more glass, one more glass, one more glass. Reading The Garden of Rama is pretty much like that: I'd promised myself I was going to finish the Rama series and so had to get through this book, and so I persevered through it all, shovelling page after page of toxic drivel down my throat no matter how bad it got. I'm afraid this review isn't going to have much structure or narrative flow. There were too many things wrong with the book to make this anything more than a long list of free flowing criticisms. Besides, the book didn't bother having any structure or narrative flow so feel free to pretend that my review itself is some kind of meta-criticism if you like. Where to start? Well, the title makes no sense for one. In Rendezvous with Rama the main characters rendezvoused with a spacecraft dubbed Rama. In Rama II an identical looking spacecraft, dubbed Rama II, came to the solar system to be investigated. And in Rama Revealed I assume the secrets of the whole Rama thing will be, well, revealed (although see below). So then, this book must be about some great big vegetable patch in the spacecraft, right? Alas not. A settlement built within the ship is christened New Eden, and they have plants and stuff there, but that's pretty much the only relation to any garden in the book. Maybe this first criticism is overly pedantic, but it seems the choice of title here was either overly mundane or meaningless. Next on my gripe list is the acknowledgements section (yes, we haven't made it to page one yet). Gentry Lee thanks his wife for "conversations about the nature of the female" since the book is primarily told from Nicole Wakefield's perspective. Indeed the first part of the book is told as excerpts from her journal. So does Gentry Lee manage to transcend sex differences in this journal section? Do his wife's suggestions seamlessly meld into a convincing catalogue of thoughts from a woman trapped in an alien environment and getting pregnant left, right, and centre? No. No, no, and no. Instead we get utterly bog-standard first person prose, except every ten pages or so there will be a cringe inducing paragraph along the lines of "So my husband didn't put the toilet seat down today. What is it with men and not doing that? Huh? As a woman it really gets my goat. You know what I'm talking about ladies, oh yes." I've no doubt Mrs Lee gave her husband numerous insights into "the nature of the female" but he hasn't used them to make a believable character, he's just shoehorned a few of these bad stand-up routines into the main text. And while we're talking about the believability of our esteemed protagonist Nicole, let me ask you a question, dear reader. If you had to start the human civilisation again from scratch, how many people do you think you'd need to ensure enough genetic diversity to make the new civilisation tenable? I seem to recall a figure mentioned in The Matrix Reloaded for the number of humans needed to rebuild Zion is twenty three. Stephen Baxter makes this a big plot point at the end of Ark and agonises that forty six people with maximal genetic variation might just be okay. A quick straw poll amongst my friends with backgrounds in the biological sciences reckoned that quite a bit more than that would be needed. There's evidence that the human population fell to less than 15 000 once, and that maybe 500-1000 humans could breed their way away from extinction. So, with all that in mind, how many people does Dr Nicole des Jardins Wakefield, hero of Garden of Rama, think are necessary to breed their way out of trouble? Fifteen thousand, like the actual human population after the Toba eruption? Maybe one thousand, which some research suggests is a safe minimum? Perhaps only one hundred and sixty as determined by American anthropologist John Moore? Or only one hundred, as suggested by my biology friends after three glasses of wine and two minutes to think about the problem? Maybe Baxter was right with forty six, or the Wachowski brothers with twenty three? Well, Dr Nicole, what's your answer? (view spoiler)[Two. (hide spoiler)] I'm sorry, what? There are three adults on Rama at the start of the book — two men and one woman. Nicole and her husband Richard have two daughters at which point Nicole starts wondering about how her daughters are going to continue the species. Clearly they need a man, preferably one each. So, she decides, she needs to pop out a couple of sons. Luckily, though, "one of [her] major areas of specialty during [her] medical training was genetics, especially hereditary defects." Phew! Looks like she'll realise the futility of all this and stop dooming all these kids to a lonely future in space. But no! There's more. At this point of the book Nicole is 41 years old and worries how many more babies she can have. She decides she has to have a son and preferably with Michael, the other guy on Rama with her. So then the next generation will consist of two girls and a guy, all of them either half- or full-siblings. And obviously that's a genetically viable group if ever I saw one. To be fair, Nicole doesn't just want kids with Michael to get some more genetic diversity, that'd be silly, she also picks him because both of her husband's kids are girls, while two out of the three kids that Michael has had back on Earth were boys, so having a son would be pretty much guaranteed with Mike but nigh on impossible with Dick. And here was me thinking it was fifty/fifty with both of them. So Nicole tells her (emotionally insecure and already quite jealous) husband she wants to get it on with Michael for scientific purposes, i.e. so their daughters will have a half-brother to shag later in life. And then she's surprised when he gets upset. Aggh! Stop, Harry, I can't take anymore! Later, after having had two sons with Michael, Richard shows up and she has a third daughter with him. Her main concern? That she's already paired up in her mind her two daughters and two sons, so daughter number three doesn't have a brother to make babies with. Aggh! No more, Harry! Please! The folly of the whole thing is only pointed out to her later by her thirteen year old daughter, who decides to marry seventy-two year old Uncle Michael, because marrying her half-brothers would be incest. Aggh! Enough, enough! And on a tangentially related note, Michael's two sons with Nicole sometimes refer to him as dad and sometimes as Uncle Michael, and similarly they sometimes call Richard dad and sometimes Uncle Richard. Why? Part two of the book reveals the purpose of Rama, how it was made, and so on. Most of the big questions are answered, which leaves one major question: what exactly is left to be revealed in Rama Revealed? We don't yet know who the over-arching authority is behind the whole thing, but it's some alien or another and frankly I don't think "It turns out Rama was built by Zylorgs from planet Herpes" is particularly fulfilling. On the subject of Rama's mission, it seems fundamentally flawed. It's supposed to catalogue the spacefaring species of the galaxy by flying through star systems, luring these species aboard, and then taking them back to The Node. From there Rama is refitted with biomes to support larger numbers of these species and messages are sent to each of these species' planets to the effect of "We're coming back, prepare a few thousand of your species to come and live on Rama for an unspecified length of time. Then the whole thing flies back around the galaxy, picking up these species for observation. Frankly this sounds like a rubbish way for an ultra advanced society to study other species, as proved by the fact that Rama only "captured" its three humans by a huge fluke. Rama's mission is only slightly less believable than Earth's reaction to it. The human race of the original Rendezvous with Rama has spread across the solar system and, excitable Mercurians aside, the biggest problem it seems to face is an overabundance of petty bureaucracy. Gentry Lee ruthlessly deconstructs this world in Rama II, with a huge economic slump occurring just after the first novel's events that sets Earth back a century or so and obliterates its space programme. By the time Rama II begins, seventy years after its predecessor, the slump has lifted enough for a mediocre space programme to exist, but the military still decide to destroy Rama when it comes near Earth. Their missiles are ruthlessly efficient at tracking the spacecraft as they try (and fail) to obliterate it, but in this book it's claimed that Earth had believed the craft was destroyed. Apparently they fired their nuclear missiles at it and then everyone started staring at the ground saying "Yup, I'm so sure we destroyed that thing I'm not even going to look up and check." So when Earth is informed in the 2240s, forty years after Rama II, that they need to send two thousand individuals to Rama, do they rejoice at the chance to redeem themselves, to fix past mistakes, to send their best and brightest to discover the secrets of the Universe? No, the shady council that rules the world decides it's all a hoax perpetrated by those pesky Chinese, so they send their best and brightest and a whole ship full of rapists and murderers to Mars. If there happens to be a honking great spacecraft in the vicinity of Mars then they'll board that, if not they'll start a new Martian colony. Of course they don't tell all these people going to Mars that they might end up in an alien spaceship until they're actually in the alien spaceship. Of these two thousand people it seems that about twelve are half-decent human beings, that's including Nicole, Richard, and some of their kids. Since the kids were in stasis for their entire teenage lives they all have to deal with being, essentially, a child in an adult's body. Gentry Lee obviously deals with this in a delicate and thought-provoking manner: Patrick is shy with girls, Eleanor is perfectly fine, and Katie becomes a nymphomaniac. Wow! Of these twelve normal people, half are unceremoniously killed in a scene near the end of the book, and the humans in the colony happily let a Japanese mob boss take over. No one seems bothered that there's little food, the weather system is broken, and a hundred other problems, because the mob boss starts a war with another biome in Rama. Such flagrant clichés can work if they're told well, alas that's not the case here. Despite the three hundred or so five star reviews here on Goodreads, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who struggled to find the resolve to finish this book. The editors apparently had the same problem. As the book goes on more and more typoes start appearing: spelling errors, punctuation where it doesn't belong, and so on. One of the few solaces I could take was that this book is trashy pop science fiction, not hard science fiction, so powering through its six hundred pages was not difficult, just unpleasant. With all that in mind, I'm now off to read Rama Revealed, hopeful in the knowledge that things surely can't get worse. Can they?

  2. 4 out of 5

    bsc

    This is where the Rama series ends for me. A lot of the Rama mystery is gone. Clarke appears to be completely absent in this one and Lee is just not cut out to fly solo. The first quarter was interesting. There was still some focus on the Rama mystery. The rest of the book, however, is tedious and pointless as it focuses on the human society aboard Rama. Basically society breaks down and ridiculousness ensues. This is not what I wanted in a Rama sequel. I wanted to learn more (but not too much) ab This is where the Rama series ends for me. A lot of the Rama mystery is gone. Clarke appears to be completely absent in this one and Lee is just not cut out to fly solo. The first quarter was interesting. There was still some focus on the Rama mystery. The rest of the book, however, is tedious and pointless as it focuses on the human society aboard Rama. Basically society breaks down and ridiculousness ensues. This is not what I wanted in a Rama sequel. I wanted to learn more (but not too much) about Rama. I did not want to spend most of the novel exploring the interaction between unlikable and clichéd characters.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Osman

    Loved the first Rama novel; number 2 something of a disappointment- this one is a major let down. What I liked in the first 2 is the mystery and the sense of weird erieness; the inexplicable killings and the strange surreal architecture; also the loneliness and emptiness. These elements do appear in the first half of this book- I loved the description of Nichole venturing ito the Avian lair and walking down miles of empty corridor before coming to a solitary door. Yup these bits make me tingled w Loved the first Rama novel; number 2 something of a disappointment- this one is a major let down. What I liked in the first 2 is the mystery and the sense of weird erieness; the inexplicable killings and the strange surreal architecture; also the loneliness and emptiness. These elements do appear in the first half of this book- I loved the description of Nichole venturing ito the Avian lair and walking down miles of empty corridor before coming to a solitary door. Yup these bits make me tingled with anticipation... However i was cruely let down because the 2nd half is a sort of commune experience in which 2000 people are crammed on board Rama and it becomes one of those 'all-the-characters-rub-along'. There's no sci-fi at all, it's all character unraveling done so badly as to be incredibly dull. I didn't care for any of these boring non-entities and found myself skipping huge chunks of back-story (which lost nothing as far as narrative was concerned) And don't even get me started on the rissible HIV/AIDS analogue- talk about clumbsy preaching. So- all in all a dud. Over long, boring. My editorial advice would have been cut out all the character work and stick with the sci-fi. Could do better boys Over and Out

  4. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    Unlike the first sequel, aptly titled, "Rama II", this third instalment refers less to Clarke's original novel, "Rendez-vous with Rama". This is set nine months after Rama II which is set 70 years after the first appearance of the mysterious artifact that cruised through our solar system. While Nicole des Jardins, husband Richard Wakefield and Michael O'Toole were stranded on Rama II headed somewhere near Sirius, they have between then five children. These become our new cast characters for the Unlike the first sequel, aptly titled, "Rama II", this third instalment refers less to Clarke's original novel, "Rendez-vous with Rama". This is set nine months after Rama II which is set 70 years after the first appearance of the mysterious artifact that cruised through our solar system. While Nicole des Jardins, husband Richard Wakefield and Michael O'Toole were stranded on Rama II headed somewhere near Sirius, they have between then five children. These become our new cast characters for the rest of the series. There is very little left of Clarke's original idea here; the mysterious sense of wonder. The story is now completely in the hands of Gentry Lee, it seems. This has been replaced by some odd and sometimes ridiculous segments. Rama III is basically an experiment set up by some advance alien entity. The members of this experiment are colonist bound to colonize Mars, but no, they are told that they will not go to Mars and will be observed while being transported to another galaxy! When there should have been panic and rioting, no one seems to mind... The novel is broken down into segments, almost as if this was a collection of novellas set in Lee's version of the Rama world. The first segment is written in the form of a journal written by Nichole. At first, I thought this was a fine idea; changing up the narrative style and such, but in its first person form, it became more of a tell rather than show situation. Some later segments, the "Mircat" segment in particular, with its crazy descriptions of alien beings was almost unreadable for me. And when Gentry Lee goes on about sexual situations, well... However, whether I like it or not, accepting where Lee is taking this mammoth of a thing, it is, overall, actually not too bad. There is enough there to keep me interested. I will keep on going. "Rama IV Revealed", here I come.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Palmyrah

    Vile. Clumsily written by a dullard and carelessly edited by a sluggard. Read Lee's review near the top of the list if you really are still curious.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    The book is good. I still like the story. I'm still giving it 4 stars. The rest from now on will probably be spoilers. (view spoiler)[ I am sticking with my 4 star rating for the third time in the Rama series, even though this book is completely different from the first two. The present work translates more like a social experiment (what would happen if you take a cross section of 2000 humans that would perfectly resemble Earth's genetic, social and cultural population and you plant them on an al The book is good. I still like the story. I'm still giving it 4 stars. The rest from now on will probably be spoilers. (view spoiler)[ I am sticking with my 4 star rating for the third time in the Rama series, even though this book is completely different from the first two. The present work translates more like a social experiment (what would happen if you take a cross section of 2000 humans that would perfectly resemble Earth's genetic, social and cultural population and you plant them on an alien spaceship in an environment so close to their home that they forget where they are) than a SF work. It has elements of SF - spaceship, aliens, higher intelligence, but it suffered some kind of metamorphosis between the initial expression and the current one. The story is very much character driven by now, and you are invested in Nicole and Richard's lives, with all their children (enough to make the plot of the book thicken, if you know what I mean) and their connection with other humans, billions of kilometers away from Earth. I can't shake the feeling that some of this book is a bit of a filler, whilst you're waiting for the main action to happen, but I can't be overly critical about it, because I find Clarke's writing to be rather good, and I am still gripped by the story, still in need to find out what happens to them in the future. I think readers who are familiar with longer series go through this quite a lot, because to be frank no author can keep his public's attention at the same level for so many pages on end. In the end, I'm very pleased with the third book as well, and am currently starting the fourth. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    In space, nobody can get an erection. That's the takeaway from the first third of The Garden Of Rama where the three surviving astronauts (Nicole, Richard, Michael) from Rama II try, and try, and try, and try, to conceive and repopulate the human race as it exists in a giant space tube. The notion of a unorthodox family unit forming on the Rama spacecraft seemed promising as eventually children are had by Nicole and Richard. But the train goes off the rails when Nicole decides she REALLY needs to In space, nobody can get an erection. That's the takeaway from the first third of The Garden Of Rama where the three surviving astronauts (Nicole, Richard, Michael) from Rama II try, and try, and try, and try, to conceive and repopulate the human race as it exists in a giant space tube. The notion of a unorthodox family unit forming on the Rama spacecraft seemed promising as eventually children are had by Nicole and Richard. But the train goes off the rails when Nicole decides she REALLY needs to bang Michael to attempt to keep the species going (even though Earth still, like, exists and stuff). So we get a LOT of description of their attempts and his failures. Great. Unsurprisingly, Richard gets upset. Surprisingly, he leaves his sort of-wife and his actual for YEARS and treks off elsewhere in the spacecraft. Eventually Nicole and Michael conceive and Richard returns. So that was a useful first 200 pages. Eventually we learn that Rama was built to catalog and study the various spacefaring species in the galaxy and it is heading back to earth to pick up roughly 2000 subjects for inspection/study. Nicole is given the task of sending a message back to earth to inform humanity of this fact and to tell them to make sure people are ready because, in no uncertain terms, that 2000 humans WILL be getting on the ship. This leaves one with the distinct impression of a mass kidnapping. Earth suspects the message is a hoax and decides to send 2000 convicts to either (a) board the ship if it's real or (b) start a colony on Mars if it's a hoax. Well, it's option (a) now we have a ship with 2000 assholes + a family of 7. Then there are Japanese mob bosses, rape accusations, AIDS-like infectious diseases, prostitutes, attempted genocide against other beings on Rama, a mass-shooting at a wedding, hallucinations while tiny robots spout Shakespeare...oh hell, I give up. I'll suffer through the final volume just to say I've completed it, but uggh. I'm done.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim Razinha

    Torn on this one...the story might have gotten three stars for being a relatively mindless read with fairly good flow, it was still mightily flawed. First, two men should not presume to write first person from a female perspective - even if one of those men claims to have bounced the story off of his wife; the first quarter of the book was in the form of diary entries of a carryover female character from Rama II...and reminded me of early sci-fi sexism. The second quarter was decent enough scien Torn on this one...the story might have gotten three stars for being a relatively mindless read with fairly good flow, it was still mightily flawed. First, two men should not presume to write first person from a female perspective - even if one of those men claims to have bounced the story off of his wife; the first quarter of the book was in the form of diary entries of a carryover female character from Rama II...and reminded me of early sci-fi sexism. The second quarter was decent enough science fiction, but the entire last half of the book was a tiresome play on the failings of the human race, replete with a ton of caricatures and cardboard characters. And if the authors's bludgeoning polemic wasn't enough, what made them write dialogue using 20th century slurs and prejudices when the story takes pace 200 years in the future? I am guessing that much of this came from Gentry Lee, but then Clarke typically was weak on human interactions. I think I'll need to put some time between this one and Rama Revealed (I'm stubborn - I still intend to read as much Clark this year as I can.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert Devoe

    When I read this novel as a teenager, I loved it, as I totally enthralled with the Rama series and the writings of Arthur C. Clarke in general. As I read this book a second time as an adult, I realized that this book is really just lousy, and it was extremely evident that this was not in any part written by the master author Mr. Clarke, but instead was likely written entirely by Gentry Lee and signed off on by Mr. Clarke's agent for some quick cash. This "Sci-Fi" novel is better suited for a dri When I read this novel as a teenager, I loved it, as I totally enthralled with the Rama series and the writings of Arthur C. Clarke in general. As I read this book a second time as an adult, I realized that this book is really just lousy, and it was extremely evident that this was not in any part written by the master author Mr. Clarke, but instead was likely written entirely by Gentry Lee and signed off on by Mr. Clarke's agent for some quick cash. This "Sci-Fi" novel is better suited for a drinking game, where you drink every time you read the words 'tears', 'cry', 'crying', 'cried', and so on. I assure you, you will be completely drunk for the duration. I give this book two stars instead of one because the writing itself is fine, it's just the overall story, and the insult to the much better Rama 1 and 2. Things do get a little better in Rama 4 thankfully, but not much better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David (דוד)

    SUPERB! Looking much forward to read its following book. This book gave me thoughts (once again) to ponder about the human situation towards itself and its attitude towards other species. Gave me the shudders!! At another instance, it also pointed out about the pleasures (and possible rewards) of experiencing things anew. A Fantastic Book, in a Fantastic Series! :) :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    OK, Arthur, how about cutting to the chase? Actually, this was OK, but not as good as the previous two. I haven't heard much about the last novel, Rama Revealed, but I think I've had enough already.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katrine Austin

    Updated August 2020 - did not reread, left the past memory be :) Plowed through this series in high school, loved it, quite memorable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Mainly, this book was very boring and not a hard sci-fi book at all. We do learn about a new alien species, but the social/political drama overshadows it all. The main character is a woman, which usually I appreciate, but not in this book. Nicole is a over the top mary sue type character, we are expected to believe that she is a gold medal Olympian astronaut, who also had an affair with the King of England?! Several times in the book it mentions that her daughter from the affair could technicall Mainly, this book was very boring and not a hard sci-fi book at all. We do learn about a new alien species, but the social/political drama overshadows it all. The main character is a woman, which usually I appreciate, but not in this book. Nicole is a over the top mary sue type character, we are expected to believe that she is a gold medal Olympian astronaut, who also had an affair with the King of England?! Several times in the book it mentions that her daughter from the affair could technically be a princess. * insert eye-roll here* All Nicole cared about are her children, and she was not knowledgeable in hard science, so every time her husband or uncle Michael explain something, she interrupted with something like, “ I don't get that, but you guys are so brilliant! “ So annoying. The characters and society were all very cliche, with the good characters being over the top perfect, and the bad characters being so evil with no background on their motivations. It also disturbed me that the good girl characters in the book were all shown as pure and naive, and ended up getting married. While Katie, the bad sheep of the family, is shown being promiscuous and smoking a cigarette. The book doesn't explore the fact that she feels alienated by her mom, who self-admittedly favors Ella more than her! Katie is always shown acting snotty while everyone freaks out over her bad manners. You would think no-one had ever been rude to a member of the family before, or argued, except with Katie. * Major spoilers* Basically the martyr Nicole was executed by the big bad corrupt government for opposing them, and the society has gone to shit. We are given hope that Nicole's husband Richard will arrive and some how save everyone but they kind of leave that open ended. Basically, this book is not worth reading, especially if you are science-fiction fan.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ed Tinkertoy

    This is part three of the series and my second time reading it. Again, I just didn't remember things the way the book presents them. In this book the family has reached the Node, been informed by the aliens that they are to be studies as are all other species the aliens can find anywhere in the universe. Meanwhile, the family has expanded to 5 kids. They are then informed that they can all leave the Node to go back to their solar system except two must remain at the Node. The oldest person agree This is part three of the series and my second time reading it. Again, I just didn't remember things the way the book presents them. In this book the family has reached the Node, been informed by the aliens that they are to be studies as are all other species the aliens can find anywhere in the universe. Meanwhile, the family has expanded to 5 kids. They are then informed that they can all leave the Node to go back to their solar system except two must remain at the Node. The oldest person agrees to say and also the oldest daughter stays to serve as the mating pair for study. The two are married even thought they are 40 years apart in age. A member of the group makes a video that is broadcast to Earth telling them they will return and inviting them to provide 2000 people to live in Rama when it returns. The spacecraft is reconfigured with robots to handle most chores. Houses and cites are built in Rama and it leaves for Mars with the family in suspended animation. The 2000 people selected enter Rama and things go great until one of the people decides he wants to be in charge of the civilization and take steps to eliminate all of his competitors. The society crumbles, things are destroyed, and the family finally escapes to another part of the spacecraft to prevent executions and prosecutions. I can't put the book down. Now into the last part and it's as exciting as the first time I read it 15 years ago.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg Sidor

    This is the third in the series and I've read them one after another. "The Garden of Rama" is by far the weakest entry. The first book focused on the mystery of the craft and its absent creators. "Rama II" followed another expedition that delved deeper into the craft. The third installment gets hung up on humans who aren't that interesting, and predictable themes that don't fit into a series about enigmatic aliens. As strange as it sounds, "The Garden of Rama" needed less of a human element. Nico This is the third in the series and I've read them one after another. "The Garden of Rama" is by far the weakest entry. The first book focused on the mystery of the craft and its absent creators. "Rama II" followed another expedition that delved deeper into the craft. The third installment gets hung up on humans who aren't that interesting, and predictable themes that don't fit into a series about enigmatic aliens. As strange as it sounds, "The Garden of Rama" needed less of a human element. Nicole, Michael and Richard have a slew of kids. Not only does it seem cruel to bring children into the isolation of Rama, but there are so many that it's hard to care about any of the new characters. When more humans arrive it just compounds the problems with the book. Bringing common themes into Rama just takes away the mystery. I will read "Rama Revealed," but for now I'm taking a break. Just a little too disappointed to keep the commitment right now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Todd Martin

    The Garden of Rama is the third installment of a four part series. It's better than the second book, but nowhere near as good as the first. On the positive side: - It accurately portrays humans as the dysfunctional assholes they are. - A bit of the mystery that can be found in the first book is re-introduced. On the negative: - The plot quite literally goes nowhere (the ship travels to Sirius only to turn right back around and return to Earth). - The characters are uninteresting. - There's qu The Garden of Rama is the third installment of a four part series. It's better than the second book, but nowhere near as good as the first. On the positive side: - It accurately portrays humans as the dysfunctional assholes they are. - A bit of the mystery that can be found in the first book is re-introduced. On the negative: - The plot quite literally goes nowhere (the ship travels to Sirius only to turn right back around and return to Earth). - The characters are uninteresting. - There's quite a bit of cheesy nonsense (Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María to name but a few). Since there's one more book I suppose I must press on and finish the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Heavens to Murgatroyd and back again! Shamelessly inventive and enjoyable. Less mysterious than Rendezvous with Rama, less confined than Rama II, a grand, grand adventure. Little leggies, I'll miss you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    L

    Some of this book was fascinating, but I found myself skimming the bla-bla-bla sections. And that's something I rarely do. It ends with a cliffhanger, but I am not motivated to read book four.

  19. 5 out of 5

    BRT

    The Rama series has pretty much been all over the map, and not in a good, explorer, way. The first book was heavy on the science part of science fiction, almost too technical. The second book was more about the personalities and the wonder of an alien spacecraft faded to the background. This third book starts off with the interpersonal relationships of the people stranded on the spaceship. Then it moves back into science and the wonder of an alien species. It then becomes more sociological as th The Rama series has pretty much been all over the map, and not in a good, explorer, way. The first book was heavy on the science part of science fiction, almost too technical. The second book was more about the personalities and the wonder of an alien spacecraft faded to the background. This third book starts off with the interpersonal relationships of the people stranded on the spaceship. Then it moves back into science and the wonder of an alien species. It then becomes more sociological as the new group of earthlings, heavy with less desirable persons, (almost as if the Earth wants to offload them,) devolve into a classic example of Utopia gone wrong. It's at this point that it takes a side journey back into alien wonder. However, I'm invested enough at this point that I want to finish the series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    This book started where the previous book left off. Nicole, Richard, Michael and their families are heading towards a destination unknown. When they get there they are taken off Rama and are tested before being told the next stage of their plan. They are to return to Earth's solar system and gather 2,000 humans and return. This book did lose me a bit in the middle. What it did highlight is the destructive nature of humans and how they view themselves at the centre of everything. I think this was This book started where the previous book left off. Nicole, Richard, Michael and their families are heading towards a destination unknown. When they get there they are taken off Rama and are tested before being told the next stage of their plan. They are to return to Earth's solar system and gather 2,000 humans and return. This book did lose me a bit in the middle. What it did highlight is the destructive nature of humans and how they view themselves at the centre of everything. I think this was a key point the authors were trying to make.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steve Schinke

    Average pulp science fiction about the inherent evilness and goodness of humans. "Lord of the Flies" in space, with a dispassionate alien race watching.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. OK, here we go: This, the third of the quadrology of Rama, refers to new Eden, sort of the New Garden of Eden if you will; took me some time to get it. This one starts out with the journals of Nicole Des Jardins and her husband and companion, having kids and eking out their existence in Rama II. The first part, then, is a description of life with the scientist and the theologian, whom Nicole convinces to sire her next two kiddos, with the possibility of them kiddos hookin' up and makin' some mor OK, here we go: This, the third of the quadrology of Rama, refers to new Eden, sort of the New Garden of Eden if you will; took me some time to get it. This one starts out with the journals of Nicole Des Jardins and her husband and companion, having kids and eking out their existence in Rama II. The first part, then, is a description of life with the scientist and the theologian, whom Nicole convinces to sire her next two kiddos, with the possibility of them kiddos hookin' up and makin' some more kiddos. This part of the book went on for an interminable 150 or so pages and could have been reduced to 50, if that many. Things get more interesting when Rama II arrives at "The Node," a sort of Deep Space Nine or Babylon Five, in which our jaunty crew meets up with alien life forms and prepares to return to Mars orbit to pick up some (well, thousands) more humans. Rama II has been refitted with "fit-for-human-habitation" aspects, but only in one of the hemi-cylinders, with the other presumably for another species which will also be picked up and all of 'em brought back to The Node, not sure why. However, the Intelligence that put this whole thing together seems intent on studying all the species in the Universe, to what ultimate end is quite uncertain. WELL, now, the scene shifts to Earth and a proposed re-colonization of Mars (which was abandoned after The Chaos put Mars exploration on the WAY back burner). Unbeknown to the explorers, the three ships carrying the colonials is gonna really dump all of 'em into Rama II. Now this gets interesting, because one of the ships (three, the Santa Maria, the - well, you know) contains presumably model prisoners who are needed to fill out the passenger list - Uh-Oh, BIG mistake! Much of the rest of the book looks at the collapse of the civilization on Rama, led by the Chief Bad Guy, Nakamura, (read Hitler). Nicole is arrested and convicted of sedition because she speaks out against this baddie and his minions and at the end of the book is condemned to be electrocuted, so that's sort of a cliffhanger. All is not lost, however, as I found the description of the redone Rama craft very interesting, as were the interactions of alternate, very different species. I had the same reaction when reading a long section in which our plucky scientist/husband Richard makes his way through to the other hemi-cylinder and interacts with the other species, which includes the avians and the melons from the second book, in a very intriguing symbiotic interdependence. This book coulda been done much better, but, as with some of the other reviewers, even though this had some clunky parts, I'm a-gonna read "Rama Revealed" after cleansing my palate with a few others, including "A Storm of Swords." I will add that I have also purchased(I do love those used bookstores!) the last three books of the "2001" series - read the first a gazillion years ago, THEN watched the movie again with greater understanding. I wanna experience Mr. Clarke's genius on his own, which he had used in the original "Rendezvous with Rama."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    So, this is the third book in a series of at least four, possibly more. I don't know though; my mom handed me this one thinking I'd like it. So I jumped in without really knowing anything that happened before the story started. It added a mystery piece to it, which was pretty cool. And they give enough information throughout that I could guess what was going on, and even get those kind of questions answered. I think they even did it in a way that the information would not have been redundant had So, this is the third book in a series of at least four, possibly more. I don't know though; my mom handed me this one thinking I'd like it. So I jumped in without really knowing anything that happened before the story started. It added a mystery piece to it, which was pretty cool. And they give enough information throughout that I could guess what was going on, and even get those kind of questions answered. I think they even did it in a way that the information would not have been redundant had I read the series in the correct order to begin with. The basic idea is that during the first two books humans cosmonauts have rendezvoused with an alien spacecraft and are now travelling the stars as their passengers. Even by the end of this book, the highly intelligent alien hosts have not truly identified themselves to the humans. At first, the humans are riding the craft with their every need provided by the aliens through communications in math and chemistry. By the middle of the book, the aliens send an emissary that speaks nearly perfect English to inform them they will be helping remodel their part of the craft to accommodate more humans. The aliens are on a scientific observation mission to observe and categorize all the space exploring organisms in the universe. The craft is reconditioned, humans are picked up, and a colony on the craft begins. Shortly after their arrival, their idyllic society begins to collapse as greed and corruption take over. The original humans on the craft either go into hiding or are persecuted for trying to keep the others within the parameters the aliens have set. It took a lot to wrap my head around this book. But, it did have a way of staying with me. I was impressed with how clean the book was in the beginning, despite attempts at, um, uncleanness. And then they added new humans, and the morality went out the window. The book was set 200 years in the future though. Surely the inappropriate language could have been altered, or something. Otherwise, it was a compelling story and really made me wonder what I would do in that situation...or in similar ones when society degenerates on itself. It was frustrating to realize what was being described was history repeating itself.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lars Dradrach

    After giving up on the series many years ago I recently decided to give it a go again hoping my adult, more mature mind would be better prepared for some of the unpleasant topics. And here we go again, less than half way though I have to call it a day... There’s nothing wrong with posing provocative or even indecent notions if it’s linked to the narrative, but here it seems unnecessary and just stupid. Gentry lee thanks his wife and some other women in the foreword for providing an insight into the After giving up on the series many years ago I recently decided to give it a go again hoping my adult, more mature mind would be better prepared for some of the unpleasant topics. And here we go again, less than half way though I have to call it a day... There’s nothing wrong with posing provocative or even indecent notions if it’s linked to the narrative, but here it seems unnecessary and just stupid. Gentry lee thanks his wife and some other women in the foreword for providing an insight into the minds of women, maybe he should have talked with someone else or just listened more, because Nicole or female main character is totally unbelievable and makes some choices which are totally unbelievable. “Let’s have some more children in outer space, without any concern about which kind of life they are going to live’ “Let’s have children with 2 different men, so the children can have (healthy) children with each other” “Let’s marry our 13 year old daughter to our 71 year old colleague” And then there’s the religious nonsense which becomes more and more prominent as the series progresses. To many good books out there to waste more time with this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ira Livingston

    What can I say about this volume, it is a fascinating examination of what happens to the crew of Rama II. How the crew has children, becomes a multiple parent system with half-brothers/sisters. That was all in the first third of the book and was extremely mind blowing as a reader trying to figure out what you would have done in their shoes. It’s written with a scientific flare, keeping one examining it with an open mind. However, the book then is turned over to Larry who seems obsessed with sex an What can I say about this volume, it is a fascinating examination of what happens to the crew of Rama II. How the crew has children, becomes a multiple parent system with half-brothers/sisters. That was all in the first third of the book and was extremely mind blowing as a reader trying to figure out what you would have done in their shoes. It’s written with a scientific flare, keeping one examining it with an open mind. However, the book then is turned over to Larry who seems obsessed with sex and all the fetish, cliched and bad things about the human race. As Rama returns to pick up a larger group of colonists to study, it seems they are all stereotypical types of the worst that humans have to offer, eventually breaking out and battling the other Rama-ites. It seems his writing style just doesn’t hold to the beginning of the book. I still want to see where book four goes, but for me this was a tough one to finish and I would not really recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    As with Clarke's other books, I found this to be a serious page turner and got through it in a handful of sittings. He keeps the Rama mystery interesting even if events are a little bit predictable. What Clarke and Lee do wrong here is stuff the book up with flashbacks to flesh out main characters. The authors should have relied more on pages of action and dialogue, which they do better but which frequently seemed abridged. My other gripe, and this is a complaint about the series generally, is t As with Clarke's other books, I found this to be a serious page turner and got through it in a handful of sittings. He keeps the Rama mystery interesting even if events are a little bit predictable. What Clarke and Lee do wrong here is stuff the book up with flashbacks to flesh out main characters. The authors should have relied more on pages of action and dialogue, which they do better but which frequently seemed abridged. My other gripe, and this is a complaint about the series generally, is that the authors skim over the motivations of their bad guys, reducing them to conflict creating plot tools. Similarly, more time should have been spent developing the human colony through richer secondary characters. As interesting as things get in the colony, it ultimately becomes only one of several forces driving the action.

  27. 5 out of 5

    LKM

    Sooo, disappointing. Enjoyed reading about the parts about Rama, totally disliked the whole human parts of it and specially towards the end. (view spoiler)[And hated how suddenly when people are found alone on strange lands/ships/planets where they might never see another living person, they immediately think "Oh my, how are we EVER gonna populate this place? Lets get it on!" Nevermind at the point they still could have explored a lot more of Rama's secrets, or minded their survival even more tha Sooo, disappointing. Enjoyed reading about the parts about Rama, totally disliked the whole human parts of it and specially towards the end. (view spoiler)[And hated how suddenly when people are found alone on strange lands/ships/planets where they might never see another living person, they immediately think "Oh my, how are we EVER gonna populate this place? Lets get it on!" Nevermind at the point they still could have explored a lot more of Rama's secrets, or minded their survival even more than they did, or even tried to interact more with other species, etc. No no, lets propagate our species first. Also totally miffed about insertion of typical human reaction ("shoot first, ask later"). Since we're doing sci-fi, can we 'fictionize' it a bit more and pretend humans actually think? (hide spoiler)]

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cyrus

    I blame myself a bit for this one. After reading "Rendezvous" I thought how tragic it was that Arthur Clark, who has such an interest in humanity seems to have so little interest in humans as individuals. All the wonders of Rama, and nothing to bring it home on any kind of real personal level. Enter Rama II, with something that very much resembles characters with lives and motivations, even if they were inexpertly handled; a trifle soap operatic at times even. It's nothing but the characters for I blame myself a bit for this one. After reading "Rendezvous" I thought how tragic it was that Arthur Clark, who has such an interest in humanity seems to have so little interest in humans as individuals. All the wonders of Rama, and nothing to bring it home on any kind of real personal level. Enter Rama II, with something that very much resembles characters with lives and motivations, even if they were inexpertly handled; a trifle soap operatic at times even. It's nothing but the characters for far too long, and anything that made them endearing or interesting in the previous book has been sucked away. As has the wonder. And the grammar. This is probably only the second time in my life I've just consciously put a book down, never to return. I felt myself going blind as my eyes were slowly sacrificing themselves to save my mind.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ata

    Rendezvous with Rama was unquestionably brilliant. I endured Rama II because I wanted to read all four books. The writing and the characters in this book just got more and more perfect as it continued on. It got unendurable. Abandoned.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Farley

    This review contails spoilers: It sucks, then it sucks more, then you'll feel hopeless, then it will end.

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