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At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams... and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits — just behind a Raman airlock door.


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At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams... and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits — just behind a Raman airlock door.

30 review for Rendezvous with Rama

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    It's odd to think that this book was published 40 years ago. I don't know why that strikes me as strange, but it does.... It's tempting for me to call this book "Traditional Science Fiction." Or "Classic Science Fiction" or something along those lines. But what I really mean to say is that this is a story where the science is one of the central aspects of the story. The basic premise of the story is: In the future, humanity finds a alien spacecraft and investigates it. A lot of the joy of explor It's odd to think that this book was published 40 years ago. I don't know why that strikes me as strange, but it does.... It's tempting for me to call this book "Traditional Science Fiction." Or "Classic Science Fiction" or something along those lines. But what I really mean to say is that this is a story where the science is one of the central aspects of the story. The basic premise of the story is: In the future, humanity finds a alien spacecraft and investigates it. A lot of the joy of exploration comes from the theory of how a spaceship might really work in terms of physics. How could you generate gravity on a spaceship? How would it travel? What would the aliens be like? What would the purpose of these various pieces of the ships be? (Such as, for example, a large body of water, or featureless buildings on an island? It's an interesting story, but probably *mostly* interesting for people interested in the genuine science of interstellar/interplanetary travel. For example, if you enjoyed The Martian, you have a good chance of liking this book. (But be warned, the pacing is much different than The Martian. It's not First Person. It's not conversational. It's not painfully technical, but it was written in a different age. Of particular interest to me was the fact that many of the smaller plot arcs of the books were very short. By which I mean to say that when a problem arises in the story, the resolution comes very soon afterwards. That limits the tension of the story somewhat, as you don't have time to get too worried over anything before it's fixed. Lastly, it's important to note that this book ends with many questions unanswered. But the good news is that there are two more books in the series that will explore those questions further, and I trust Clarke to pay me off with good answers by the end of the series. *** Later edit: I read the sequel, and I have to retract my previous statement. The follow-up book severely damaged my opinion of this book to the point where I don't know if I would reccomend it any more. So if you were considering reading this book based on my review, you might want to read this first in order to get the whole story... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke first published in 1973. Set in the 2130's, the story involves a 50-kilometre (31 mile) cylindrical alien star-ship that enters the Solar System. The story is told from the point of view of a group of human explorers who intercept the ship in an attempt to unlock its mysteries. The novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards upon its release, and is regarded as one of the corner Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke first published in 1973. Set in the 2130's, the story involves a 50-kilometre (31 mile) cylindrical alien star-ship that enters the Solar System. The story is told from the point of view of a group of human explorers who intercept the ship in an attempt to unlock its mysteries. The novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards upon its release, and is regarded as one of the cornerstones in Clarke's bibliography. The concept was later extended with several sequels. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در سال 1995میلادی این کتاب نخستین بار با ترجمه محمد قصاع در سال 1371هجری خورشیدی در نشر افق نیز منتشر شده است؛ موضوع داستانهای خیال انگیز از نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م عنوان: میعاد با راما ؛ نویسنده: آرتور چارلز (سی) کلارک؛ مترجم: هرمز حبیبی اصفهانی؛ تهران نشر نقطه، 1374، در 268ص، شابک ایکس - 964554825 ادامه این داستان با عنوان «راما 2» یا «ادامه میعاد با راما» با ترجمه ناصر بلیغ در نشر نقطه در سال 1375 در 494 ص به چاپ رسیده و به زیور طبع آراسته شده است شابک: 9645548276؛ کتابهای «میعاد با راما»، «راما دو»، «باغ راما» و «راز راما»، سری چهار جلدی از آثار «آرتور سی کلارک» هستند، مجموعه‌ ای بیهمتا که به روشنی، نمایانگر چیره‌ دستی «کلارک»، در آفرینش داستان‌های علمی-تخیلی هستند؛ «میعاد با راما»، در 350صفحه است و آغاز این ماجراست؛ …؛ «راما» سفینه‌ ای غول پیکر، و استوانه‌ ای شکل است، که با سرعت سرسام آوری، گرد محور خویش می‌چرخد.؛ …؛ از بیکران‌ها، گام در منظومه ی شمسی می‌نهد، و دانشمندان آن روزگاران را، انگشت به دهان می‌سازد هدف کتاب، هشداریست به بشر، که زمین، تنها در معرض خطر سلاحهای مرگبار ساخته ی دست بشر نیست، بلکه در دسترس بمبهای فضایی نیز هست؛ «میعاد با راما»، با داستانهای واقعی برخورد شهاب سنگهای بزرگ، به زمین در سده ی بیستم میلادی، آغاز میشود، و سپس، به بعد ناشناخته، و رمز و راز چنین رویدادهایی، میپردازد؛ انسان، برای رویارویی با بمباران فضایی، رهسپار فضا میگردد، اما با حیات و تمدنی شگفت انگیز، و ناباورانه، روبرو میشود، که در فراسوی منظومه ی شمسی بوده است، و ساخته ی دست نیروهایی، بسیار هوشمندتر از انسانها است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    I've been trying to read more classic sci-fi and my experience has been very hit and miss so far... But this was a very interesting take on the whole "first contact with aliens"! I do wish there was a bit more but it seems like I always do. Nevertheless the ending was pretty satisfying, would recommend! I've been trying to read more classic sci-fi and my experience has been very hit and miss so far... But this was a very interesting take on the whole "first contact with aliens"! I do wish there was a bit more but it seems like I always do. Nevertheless the ending was pretty satisfying, would recommend!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Mysterious and engaging, classic science fiction. I first read this back in high school, we'll just say a LONG time ago. Since then the concepts, ideas and themes surrounding this archetypal work of science fiction have been a huge influence on works in this genre. Clarke first published this Hugo and Nebula award winner in 1972. The first works that I think of that was influenced by RWR is John Varley's excellent Titan series, first coming out in 1979. His influence on Ridley Scott's Alien, also Mysterious and engaging, classic science fiction. I first read this back in high school, we'll just say a LONG time ago. Since then the concepts, ideas and themes surrounding this archetypal work of science fiction have been a huge influence on works in this genre. Clarke first published this Hugo and Nebula award winner in 1972. The first works that I think of that was influenced by RWR is John Varley's excellent Titan series, first coming out in 1979. His influence on Ridley Scott's Alien, also released in 1979, is clear. What Clarke did was to affirm that there are and remain mysteries that we will not get, that there are some aspects of scientific research and observation that will remain over our heads. ******2017 reread – I’m advancing my rating, giving this a 5 star. I recall liking it as a younger man, but this is premier, elite SF. Clarke deservedly won the SF triple crown for this work – Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell – as well as a host of other awards including the Locus and British SF Association Award. It’s that good. It should be on a short list of best SF ever. Clarke’s Rama has all of what’s best in a SF story: future science, intrepid explorers, contact with aliens, space, rockets, and mystery. That last element is what wins here, we know about the Ramans, but not all about them by a long shot, there is still much more to know. He has, and we have vicariously through his story, only just scratched the surface of knowledge and what is learned, decades worth of knowledge according to Commander Norman, only leads to more questions. Excellent, Science Fiction of the highest order.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cassy

    Ladies, have you ever heard the advice that the more you cover up, the sexier you are? Forgo the plunging neckline for the small keyhole. Let the boys use their imagination. Hint, but don’t show. Clarke evidently had. He dressed this book in a turtleneck, elbow-length gloves, trousers, work boots, and one of those hats with ear flaps. There is barely any flesh showing. What does show is intriguing – a mysterious spaceship, a beautiful flower, an unknown destination, buildings with no doors or wi Ladies, have you ever heard the advice that the more you cover up, the sexier you are? Forgo the plunging neckline for the small keyhole. Let the boys use their imagination. Hint, but don’t show. Clarke evidently had. He dressed this book in a turtleneck, elbow-length gloves, trousers, work boots, and one of those hats with ear flaps. There is barely any flesh showing. What does show is intriguing – a mysterious spaceship, a beautiful flower, an unknown destination, buildings with no doors or windows, living machines. But the book stops the courtship at the flirting stage. Nothing happens. No answers. No aliens massacring the human exploration team. While this was a nice departure from books nowadays that reveal everything, it was ultimately unsatisfying. Clarke withheld too much for me to really enjoy the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    An enormous alien structure enters our solar system and a team is dispatched to explore it before it drifts away and is lost forever. What will humanity discover after its Rendezvous with Rama? Years ago, I decided I needed to read more hard science fiction. Then I read Ringworld and was so uninterested that I quit my hard sf quest before it began. Months ago, a copy of Rendezvous with Rama fell into my clutches. I decided to give it a try, despite my fears that it would be another Ringworld, a b An enormous alien structure enters our solar system and a team is dispatched to explore it before it drifts away and is lost forever. What will humanity discover after its Rendezvous with Rama? Years ago, I decided I needed to read more hard science fiction. Then I read Ringworld and was so uninterested that I quit my hard sf quest before it began. Months ago, a copy of Rendezvous with Rama fell into my clutches. I decided to give it a try, despite my fears that it would be another Ringworld, a book where the concept far outweighs the story. Well, the concepts behind Rendezvous with Rama do outweigh the story but I found it far superior to Ringworld, a much more enjoyable reading experience. As near as I can tell, Rendezvous with Rama is the first Big Dumb Object (or Megastructure, if you prefer) science fiction novel. For that reason alone, I'd say it's worth a read. Hell, that's why I read it. The characters are weak but I think that's actually an asset for a story like this. My problem with Ringworld was that I didn't find any of the characters likeable and that overshadowed any sense of discovery I would have felt as they explored Ringworld. In Rama, the characters take a back seat to the Big Dumb Object from the first page. Clarke's writing is workmanlike but does a surprisingly good job at conveying the wonder and majesty of Rama as the team explores it. As things heat up the closer Rama gets to the sun (see what I did there?), the book really takes off. With today's special effects technology, I think it would be fantastic if an adaptation was filmed like a faux-documentary. Like that Mermaid one National Geographic put out, only not so cheesey. I liked it but I didn't love it. There's not a lot of plot or character development. Or action, for that matter. Now that I've read it, I respect its place in the hard science fiction pantheon but the sense of wonder doesn't make up for its shortcomings so a three is as high as I can give it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    We, the humanity, see quite a lot of comets and meteors flying around. So in the future (fairly distant) nobody cared much about yet another such visitor until astronomers realized it had an ideal cylindrical form. At this point it did not take a genius to realize its artificial origin. Luckily there was a spaceship nearby to catch up with the guest (named Rama) before it disappears into depths of space. This is the story about the ship's crew exploring dead alien derelict and the reaction of th We, the humanity, see quite a lot of comets and meteors flying around. So in the future (fairly distant) nobody cared much about yet another such visitor until astronomers realized it had an ideal cylindrical form. At this point it did not take a genius to realize its artificial origin. Luckily there was a spaceship nearby to catch up with the guest (named Rama) before it disappears into depths of space. This is the story about the ship's crew exploring dead alien derelict and the reaction of the rest of the humans to their findings. The real rating is not 5 stars by the way; it is only 4.5. The characters were quite flat and not exactly life-like. For this reason I understand why some readers did not like the book. It is however not about people. It is about incomprehensible wonders of alien technology - just hasty brief glimpses of it. This sense of wonder present through the whole book and that is the reason for the high rating. I can only recall one other science fiction book which has the same sense of alien wonders: Roadside Picnic (Red's Zone adventures to be exact). Arthur C. Clark does outstanding job between being descriptive, but not overly so. His descriptions are brief enough to never become boring, yet they always give you good picture of what the explorers see. This takes some real skill to accomplish. Modern popular writers fall into two extremes when it comes to descriptions: non-stop absolutely unnecessary long ones (George R.R. Martin), or no descriptions whatsoever (Steven Erikson). My advice to both of these guys: read this book and learn. Read it one more time and learn better. Continue reading it until you are able to deliver an excellent tale in under 150 pages. So if you are looking for great flawed characters look elsewhere. Otherwise the story is really good and highly recommended. The common wisdom is that the following books are much weaker. Unlike this one they are written in collaboration with Gentry Lee and collaborations rarely work, in my opinion. Reading the descriptions of the book 2 and its reviews I became convinced that I am not interested to continue the series. Fortunately first book works well as a standalone.

  8. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    There was just enough detail to go with the all the mystery behind the alien ship hurtling through the solar system to make Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama an engaging and thought provoking read! Other than a spaceflight to intercept and explore the huge Raman spacecraft, there’s very little action in this novel and (unfortunately) very little character development. I do think there is a sense of wonder about the possibilities contained in the mysterious ship. The book whets your appetit There was just enough detail to go with the all the mystery behind the alien ship hurtling through the solar system to make Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama an engaging and thought provoking read! Other than a spaceflight to intercept and explore the huge Raman spacecraft, there’s very little action in this novel and (unfortunately) very little character development. I do think there is a sense of wonder about the possibilities contained in the mysterious ship. The book whets your appetite to get to the bottom of some of the mysteries contained on the Raman spacecraft and maybe even meet some actual Ramans, but (given that the ship has a limited amount of time in the solar system), there are lots of unanswered questions. While Clarke doesn’t explain all the mysteries, that’s also a strength of the novel. We as readers supply some of our own answers about the possibilities. This makes Rendezvous with Rama an engaging read! 3.75 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    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 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. My favourite Rama art by Jim Burns 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 Gateway very nicely, one is about the BDO, the other is about the psychological impact of a BDO. I recommend reading both. Another view of Rama (don't know who it's by, sorry).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Workmanlike Prose: "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke Ah, yes. Rama. I actually read this with a torch under the blankets in an intense all-nighter back in the day. What I like about this book in retrospect is its complete lack of compromise as a work of SF. Characters? Who the frack needs 'em. Themes? Bah, pointless! All SF needs to be is an unbroken, brilliantly done description of an alien environment. I'm glad things have mo If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Workmanlike Prose: "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke Ah, yes. Rama. I actually read this with a torch under the blankets in an intense all-nighter back in the day. What I like about this book in retrospect is its complete lack of compromise as a work of SF. Characters? Who the frack needs 'em. Themes? Bah, pointless! All SF needs to be is an unbroken, brilliantly done description of an alien environment. I'm glad things have moved on since, but I'd still happily sit and read a book so single-mindedly in its purpose like this one.   In any genre of literature, you definitely have some people whose names tower above everyone else, and their influence could not be denied. However, people who like literature don't just read the so-called greats. Clarke certainly wrote some seminal works of SF, but he probably read many obscure works too, some of which may have influenced him. Readers don't just read the big name writers, but have a much bigger interest in the genre. A writer’s work only makes sense within a tradition and how it is situated along other people's work. It is all interlinked and some of the smaller voices may be bigger than critics acknowledge. For instance Clarke's influences aren't as well-known but what he learned from them is part of his work, so the voices remain powerful, and readers equally value preceding works. That doesn't mean that the big name writers don't deserve their place in history, but as fan of literature, I think sometimes, the bigger contributions are made by lesser known writers. I disagree with the assessment that Clarke left questions unanswered; world-building can get boring at the micro, non-plot-related level. This book was "sensawunda" in triplicate -- for the Ramans always did everything in threes. How about those tripodal cleansing things that whirled about? I'm not disappointed that Clarke had no sequel; when you look at 2001 on the screen, then read Clarke's rejected worlds, you realise that Kubrick was right to end with the “Star Child”.      If you're into SF, read on.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    I think if I could, I’d give this 6 stars ⭐️ More unworthy thoughts on an amazing novel tomorrow 😬 So where do I start with this novel. I first read this oh some time back in the mid 1970s, when I first started reading "grown -up" Sci-fi books. Arthur C was a name I knew from the 1968 film and book 2001, so by the time Rama came out I had read a few of his books. However this book, just blew my mind. The writing is as ever wonderful in its scope, its descriptions, its scene setting, its characters I think if I could, I’d give this 6 stars ⭐️ More unworthy thoughts on an amazing novel tomorrow 😬 So where do I start with this novel. I first read this oh some time back in the mid 1970s, when I first started reading "grown -up" Sci-fi books. Arthur C was a name I knew from the 1968 film and book 2001, so by the time Rama came out I had read a few of his books. However this book, just blew my mind. The writing is as ever wonderful in its scope, its descriptions, its scene setting, its characters and of course the story. I suppose during the 70s after Apollo we were all (especially the young) very much taken by anything to do with space, so sci-fi was exceedingly popular, as was SETI or even First Contact. This is just such a wonderfully written First Contact novel. I suppose in its immensity it rivals Niven's Ringworld or even the concept of Dyson Spheres; an enormous cylinder that slowly spins creating internal gravity. Another thing that struck me is how modern this novel is, ok there aren't mobile phones but one would never guess that this novel is nearly 50 years old, it just doesn't feel that old or even dated. Hey, I could just go on chucking out random thoughts as to why this an amazing novel, and although I realise it will not be to everyone's taste, I feel it should be on the list of novels one should read during one's lifetime. Don't miss it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    This book was SO BORING. Wow. I did not care about any of these characters, they were only slightly different demeanor-wise, which I guess could be believable among astronauts, but it made for a really lacking characterization element. Even during parts of the plot where danger was ensuing I felt no sense of danger & I had no feelings of hoping that the character in danger survived. In this novel women hardly served a further purpose than to be a distraction for or sleep with the men. Sure they c This book was SO BORING. Wow. I did not care about any of these characters, they were only slightly different demeanor-wise, which I guess could be believable among astronauts, but it made for a really lacking characterization element. Even during parts of the plot where danger was ensuing I felt no sense of danger & I had no feelings of hoping that the character in danger survived. In this novel women hardly served a further purpose than to be a distraction for or sleep with the men. Sure they carried titles of importance but their actions didn't line up with their titles. And the men they're distracting are some of the flattest men I've ever read about so it's kind of a stretch for me to believe anyone would want to sleep with them. The plot was also pretty weak, I never felt much of an urge to continue finding out what was going to happen. And then the end of book was entirely anticlimactic. I know this is a huge classic amongst Sci-Fi lovers but I cannot even begin to understand which part everyone loves so much. On top of that, there is absolutely zero payoff for all that boring ass build up. I struggled through this book at the recommendation of a friend. I've read that the next books are much better & that Clarke had a co-writer with him. I may give the sequel a chance but only after I've gargled a gallon of Listerine to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    I originally read this in junior high, when I first eagerly devoured all the writings of the "Big 3". This reread is part of a project to revisit the classics I read in my youth, now with my pesky adult brain in tow. Rendezvous with Rama is pretty much the prototype for what people complain about when they say "they don't make 'em like they used to." It is also, by consequence, exactly what others are criticizing when they say "they shouldn't make 'em like that anymore." It is essentially a hard I originally read this in junior high, when I first eagerly devoured all the writings of the "Big 3". This reread is part of a project to revisit the classics I read in my youth, now with my pesky adult brain in tow. Rendezvous with Rama is pretty much the prototype for what people complain about when they say "they don't make 'em like they used to." It is also, by consequence, exactly what others are criticizing when they say "they shouldn't make 'em like that anymore." It is essentially a hard sci-fi narrative centered around scientific discovery and methodical problem solving by its hyper-competent hero(es). It is an exciting story filled with all manner of wondrous events and inventions and landscapes to explore, and can easily be enjoyed at face value, hence the four stars. It's a darn good read, no question. What I have recently noticed upon re-evaluating our holy trinity of Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein, is that their sins were the collective sins of the Anglo-American golden age of sci-fi. There is very little in the way of emotional engagement with the characters, and Clarke in particular seems to regard other humans and their behavior with clinical interest at most - as if the inner life of his characters is only a necessary component of their existence insofar as it can explain their choices or their responses to stimuli. The social sciences were also poorly represented by these authors and their colleagues; being almost wholly obsessed with hard science, their future histories feel more like they were engineered in a controlled experiment, rather than having developed from any of the cultural conflicts and movements that really shape history. Science fiction will always date badly in some ways, because speculating about the future based on present day understandings is never going to be 100% accurate; however, the future society posited in Rendezvous with Rama is impossibly naïve in its conception and comes across as surprisingly reactionary, especially since Clarke was usually lumped in with the political left in the SF community. I know, I know, "That's just how things were done back then!" There were plenty of writers from the olden timey days who didn't, though. There's a reason why John W. Campbell hated PKD's writing, for example. And also, there are plenty of authors who still do it that way (have you read Neal Stephenson?) As a time capsule work, though, Rama is almost peerless in its execution, and definitely worth the read, even if our modernized adult brains have to let a few things slide to make it work.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Scurra

    For heaven's sake, don't expect great writing from this book. For all his talent, Clarke wasn't a wordsmith (heck, even Asimov could write better!) Instead, simply glory in one of the cleverest conceits you will ever read - an encounter with an alien civilisation in which the aliens are absent and there is no convenient "universal translator" to explain things. Slowly you can begin to piece things together, keeping maybe one step ahead of the astronauts, but you become aware that trying to under For heaven's sake, don't expect great writing from this book. For all his talent, Clarke wasn't a wordsmith (heck, even Asimov could write better!) Instead, simply glory in one of the cleverest conceits you will ever read - an encounter with an alien civilisation in which the aliens are absent and there is no convenient "universal translator" to explain things. Slowly you can begin to piece things together, keeping maybe one step ahead of the astronauts, but you become aware that trying to understand Raman culture is like trying to appreciate the Sistene Chapel ceiling without ever having read the Bible - you could create an explanation, but it would be utterly and magnificently wrong. All I ask is that you don't make the mistake of going on and reading the pointless sequels. Yes, I understand why they were written, but I can never forgive them for ruining the magic of the original. Just take this one and enjoy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    "The long-hoped-for, long-feared encounter had come at last. Mankind was about to receive the first visitor from the stars." Watching the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 yesterday, I was thrilled and mesmerized and briefly able to forget all the other shit that's happening in the world.  When I came back down to earth, I just couldn't stop wondering what we humans could do if we put aside our hatred and intolerance and began working together as one human race. Here we are sending two astronauts back into "The long-hoped-for, long-feared encounter had come at last. Mankind was about to receive the first visitor from the stars." Watching the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 yesterday, I was thrilled and mesmerized and briefly able to forget all the other shit that's happening in the world.  When I came back down to earth, I just couldn't stop wondering what we humans could do if we put aside our hatred and intolerance and began working together as one human race. Here we are sending two astronauts back into space, to a life-sustaining station we have built up there. We have put men (next we need a woman!) on the moon and created robots that we sent to explore Mars. So much we have done. And yet.......  After watching the launch, I had a quick foray through my Facebook feed only to be overcome with sadness and anger at all the injustice in this world. All the racism, the hatred, the murder. Instead of working for the better of the human race, instead of fighting our common enemy Covid19, we have here in the US another cop killing a Black man for the crime of too much melanin. Another. When will it end? It didn't end with the abolishment of slavery. It didn't end with the Civil Rights movement. It didn't end when America elected our first Black president. It didn't end. And so it was with relief that I picked up my Kindle and escaped back into the future. A future where humans have colonized our solar system and have hopefully begun seeing and treating each other as equals.  I enjoyed Rendezvous with Rama. It is at times slow-moving and yet this is necessary to set the scene for the following three books in the series.  It was exciting to go along as astronauts explored this unknown space-world, discovering what they could about the species who built it. It is likely millions of years old and no life remains; the ship is sterile.  Our main character draws parallels to the voyages of James Cook, as he and his team begin traversing this cylindrical world. I enjoyed following this expedition much more than I do sci-fi in which humans and alien life forms are in a galactic battle, using lasers and other advanced technology to kill each other.  It's not all a bed of roses though, and there are unforeseen dangers awaiting them as they try to learn what they can and solve the mystery of who built this space-faring world. Unfortunately, the underlying sexism that permeates much of classic science fiction poked its ugly head into this story. I guess we haven't reached true equality for everyone after all.  Commander Norton, who is leading this excursion into Rama, feels that attractive, shapely women, "should not be allowed aboard ship; weightlessness did things to their breasts that were too damn distracting". Eye roll, WTF, SMH, Sigh....... 🙄 Oddly(?), these humans of the future also felt the need to force others into a life of subjection and slavery. This made absolutely no sense to me. They have advanced technology that allows them to traverse and colonize the solar system and yet, instead of artificially intelligent robots to do the menial work aboard the ship, they genetically modify chimps to raise their IQs, enabling them to do all the cooking and cleaning and dirty work. These superchimps are obviously not free and though we see no violence enacted against them, it is still a form of slavery of another intelligent and sentient being.  Arther C. Clarke couldn't possibly have envisioned intelligent non-sentient robots in their stead?? Isn't he the one who created Hal 9000? Shame, shame, shame. I would have been OK with this in the story if even just one person spoke out against it and Clarke used it to point out the evils of slavery. Instead, it seemed normal and acceptable to all. While I enjoyed exploring the alien world of the Ramans and wonder from where it came, I'm not sure I will continue the series.  I like science fiction that is more political (and more scientific).... showing the ills of our current society and how they might be amended.  I want to be able to escape the evils of our present world when I read science fiction, not read more of it. 3.5 stars rounded up. 

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Paolini

    Classic hard sci-fi. Short, full of interesting ideas, and with one of the best ending lines in the genre. (Seriously, Hollywood, why haven’t you adapted this yet?) In many ways, a more human and interesting take on the first contact idea Clark explored in 2001.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    This 1973 novel won the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Award, as well as the Locus Award and several others. It’s certainly one of those books that someone that is interested in science fiction should read at some point in their life. For me it was a reread, and I was curious to see if and how my opinion about it was going to change, four years on from that first read. Especially after I had slightly downgraded my rating of Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey just recently. The short answer, it ha This 1973 novel won the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Award, as well as the Locus Award and several others. It’s certainly one of those books that someone that is interested in science fiction should read at some point in their life. For me it was a reread, and I was curious to see if and how my opinion about it was going to change, four years on from that first read. Especially after I had slightly downgraded my rating of Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey just recently. The short answer, it hasn’t. It’s a first contact novel in which a large object enters the solar system, is found to be artificial, and the crew of a spaceship is sent to explore. And that’s where the book is rather great. The design of Rama, the science behind it, the exploration, the mystery, it is fantastic. The novel is not as strong when it comes to characters. Literally minutes after I had finished the book, I was trying to remember of how many people the crew of Endeavour consisted, and already I couldn’t. Because they are all highly forgettable. Funny side note: In 2001: A Space Odyssey the spaceship was called Discovery. Here, like I said, it’s Endeavour, and there are three other ships mentioned, one of which is named Challenger (the other two are Calypso and Beagle). While Clarke certainly didn’t get super creative with those names, neither did NASA in their Space Shuttle program. Anyways, the book is certainly one that is driven by plot rather than characters. And I’m fine with that. It won’t be for everyone, though. And for one particular reason it isn’t really for me either. The thing is, I am one of those readers that tend to skim over long passages with descriptions of landscapes and the like. And by design, that is an important part of this novel. However, I must admit that Clarke did a formidable job here. At no point was I skimming because the way he imagined Rama is just so impressive. At the same time, it was always unlikely that I was going to love this book. I did however love the sense of mystery. Thankfully, I have a rather pathetic memory when it comes to books. So, while it did all come back when I was reading it, I was never able to say what exactly would happen next. Is this world alive? they asked themselves, over and over again. Is it dead? Or is it merely sleeping? Find out for yourself. It is certainly worth doing so. Am I a fan of the ending? Well, yes and no. We would get into serious spoiler territory now, so I can’t go into any details. One word of caution though. While the sense of mystery in this book is strong, if you are one of those readers that needs to have all the answers by the end, this might, after all, not be the book for you. 3.5 – 4 stars Recommended. This has been a buddy read with Vero, Diane and Jorid. Thanks for the interesting discussion, guys.

  18. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    i like world-building in science fiction and fantasy. in these modern times, extensive world-building is commonly derided... it is often seen as a lazy way to create a world, telling not showing, an author so in love with something they've built that they just want to describe instead of allowing the reader to slowly experience. i understand that point of view; world-building can often be seen as a glorified, masturbatory info-dump. but for some reason, it just doesn't bother me too much. i thin i like world-building in science fiction and fantasy. in these modern times, extensive world-building is commonly derided... it is often seen as a lazy way to create a world, telling not showing, an author so in love with something they've built that they just want to describe instead of allowing the reader to slowly experience. i understand that point of view; world-building can often be seen as a glorified, masturbatory info-dump. but for some reason, it just doesn't bother me too much. i think this is because with good world-building, i feel like i am looking at a kind of work of art created by the author - a rather nerdy work of art, sure - but still something that a person has put a lot of thought, energy, and passion into. i really respond to all those details that the author is in love with sharing. but maybe i just have a high threshold for these kinds of things, as i'm also the kind of person who likes to hear all the details in a person's dreams. Rendezvous takes world-building to a different sort of place: Clarke is artifact-building. the amazing alien spaceship Rama is indeed amazing; almost the entire novel is devoted to exploring this gigantic vessel. most of the narrative is in service to purely descriptive passages of Rama; everything else is either minimal characterization or political discussions from various scientists & ambassador types about how to respond to Rama. all of this very focused world-building has the potential for much boredom and irritation. but i never felt that; the author's love for his creation is too clear, his details are too meticulous, his sense of wonder and his ability to concretely illustrate the almost-unknowable are too skilled, too palpable. despite my feeling that this novel essentially functions as a prologue to the 'real' action to come, i got caught up in Clarke's passion and enjoyed it all. for such a man of science and large-scale concepts, Clarke is a surprisingly warm writer. his characters are pleasant - and real. there are no grand villains, at least not in this initial volume of the series. and he has a sense of humor - particularly around sex (one character is described as having no interest in anything outside of work, except for sports and sex - preferably combined; a high-level scholar is described as originally making his reputation through researching "puberty rites in late-twentieth-century Beverly Hills"). for all of the high-falutin' ideas on display, there is zero pretension present in Rendezvous. although the novel ends before anything actually happens, there does seem to be interesting directions that the series could go. the slight mining of sexuality and gender roles could lead somewhere. and politics - particularly around how government responds to the unknown - are clearly an intriguing next step. i'm looking forward to seeing how this series pans out. all that said, as far as Giant Mysterious Alien Artifacts go, right now my favorite is still Greg Bear's Eon - which in many ways appears to be an homage to Rama.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    A large ominous object is discovered entering a remote part of the Solar System in 2131, an impressive thirty miles long and heading in the direction of Earth.You can imagine the implications, indeed... causing a little nervousness back on our world, everyone knows what happened in 2077. If you don't remember since it hasn't occurred yet a large fireball hit the Earth killing hundreds of thousand of people, devastating the great cities and untold trillions of dollars in damages. At last in Proje A large ominous object is discovered entering a remote part of the Solar System in 2131, an impressive thirty miles long and heading in the direction of Earth.You can imagine the implications, indeed... causing a little nervousness back on our world, everyone knows what happened in 2077. If you don't remember since it hasn't occurred yet a large fireball hit the Earth killing hundreds of thousand of people, devastating the great cities and untold trillions of dollars in damages. At last in Project Spaceguard an early warning system was established, a kind of shield can be formed which protects precious Terra from being pulverized again by a roaming asteroid.They also tract the 500,000 space boulders found in the mystifying region between the orbits of distant Mars and Jupiter however now more than fifty years later a new crises arises. Can Spaceguard save us? If it collides with the third planet , Earth will be no more than a memory good or bad. Quickly acquiring the name Rama this large rock (from a Hindu God) , the object keeps surprising us , after a space probe takes pictures it's not an asteroid but an alien spaceship of tremendous size. The long feared aliens have arrived , peaceful or otherwise that is the question? Computer analysis shows the trajectory of Rama will miss Earth and go around the back side of the Sun out into the uncharted, blackness of deep Space, never we hope to return here again. Problem solved right, if you're a sci-fi fan you know better, but humans are not very trusting beings. So the spaceship Endeavour is sent to investigate in command is Captain Norton.When the crew of the Endeavour, finally get inside Rama they are amazed the alien spacecraft, is really a new , vast, strange world to say the least.The only way down to the bottom of Rama are stairways many miles in length, in the darkness so they go, try that folks! Even in low gravity creatures seen below are half animal and half robot"Biot", as they're named by the invaders and look peaceful still where are the Ramans...A large enchanting calm Sea, who believes their eyes here is also discovered by the people from Earth. Great "cities," weird blue lights and exotic structures unexplained atmospheric storms, electrical discharges this Noah's Ark has it all except answers.The crew of the Endeavour will they ever be able to solve the mystery of Rama,the alien craft is getting hotter and hotter as it nears the scorching Sun, time is limited so the explorers must work fast. If the crew could somehow get over the high cliff blocking them and into the unknown, south pole area of Rama . Maybe all the secrets will be explained....A glorious walk into the never-ending place we call imagination...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    This is one of my all-time favorite science fiction novels. Arthur C. Clarke's 1973 classic made a clean sweep of the genre's awards, winning the Campbell, Hugo, Jupiter, and Nebula awards. The concept of the story is brilliant. The planet sized, spinning, cylindrical world of Rama is the star of the story, featuring a sea that circles the inside of the cylinder. The visuals created by Clarke were stunning. What will mankind make of this interstellar traveling alien world? I loved it, couldn't p This is one of my all-time favorite science fiction novels. Arthur C. Clarke's 1973 classic made a clean sweep of the genre's awards, winning the Campbell, Hugo, Jupiter, and Nebula awards. The concept of the story is brilliant. The planet sized, spinning, cylindrical world of Rama is the star of the story, featuring a sea that circles the inside of the cylinder. The visuals created by Clarke were stunning. What will mankind make of this interstellar traveling alien world? I loved it, couldn't put it down.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Simon Clark

    Strange read, but I really liked it. This was my first Arthur C. Clarke - though the movie adaptation of 2001 is one of my all-time favourites that I've repeatedly rewatched - and definitely will not be my last. As sci fi nerd with scientific training from the west country, on paper Clarke (no relation) should be my perfect author. And Rendezvous with Rama is dead on the bullseye of my interests. It blends hard, hard sci-fi with the kind of near-futurism that I find fascinating, and succeeds in Strange read, but I really liked it. This was my first Arthur C. Clarke - though the movie adaptation of 2001 is one of my all-time favourites that I've repeatedly rewatched - and definitely will not be my last. As sci fi nerd with scientific training from the west country, on paper Clarke (no relation) should be my perfect author. And Rendezvous with Rama is dead on the bullseye of my interests. It blends hard, hard sci-fi with the kind of near-futurism that I find fascinating, and succeeds in creating a seriously spooky ambience in a compelling scenario: the first extraterrestrial object, clearly artificial, to enter the solar system. Yet despite hitting all of my buttons, and being breezily written (I read the whole book in maybe three sittings) I found it strikingly uncompelling in a few ways. Clarke - and maybe this common to his writing, or just to this book (I'll need to find out) - seems bizarrely indifferent to the niceties of characterisation. A character is frequently introduced as, for example, Claire who is a sailor. Tom who is a cyclist. Mary who is a doctor. These individuals are then used according to their one note characters in the melody of a story which has no real overarching structure. Perhaps it's because of the hyper-realism of hard sci fi, but there was no traditional story structure to speak of. Or if there was one - and there kind of is to do with the Hermians - it had no tension whatsoever. In short, the setting and ideas are fantastic, and this has some of my favourite world building I've ever seen in sci-fi. Undoubtedly this was incredibly influential on stories told afterwards. But the story that was told in that setting was - to me - severely lacking. Still, looking forward to reading more Clarke!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bernardo

    An unknown object of exceptional size and perfect geometry is detected outside the orbit of Jupiter. Additionally, this object seems to have some remarkable properties and is moving too fast to be captured by the sun’s gravitational field. A spaceship and crew are sent to investigate this peculiar object, which will become known as Rama. Will this be the first visit from beyond the solar system? Rendezvous With Rama is different from any other science fiction book that I have read to date. Usuall An unknown object of exceptional size and perfect geometry is detected outside the orbit of Jupiter. Additionally, this object seems to have some remarkable properties and is moving too fast to be captured by the sun’s gravitational field. A spaceship and crew are sent to investigate this peculiar object, which will become known as Rama. Will this be the first visit from beyond the solar system? Rendezvous With Rama is different from any other science fiction book that I have read to date. Usually the characters are the ones who carry the story. Not so in this case. The characters in this book feel more like a means to explore Rama, with only the main character having some kind of personal story. As a consequence, Rama is the plot. Incidentally, I don’t think Arthur C. Clarke was actually trying to write character development. I think he just wanted to write a mysterious science fiction book that would incite our imagination and sense of wonder. In that respect, he did a great job. Understandably, some readers might find the novel to be a bit slow at times. Personally, I actually liked the way it was written. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Rama and its ambience, giving a very atmospheric feeling to the novel, and making us want to know more about it. Later in the book, Arthur C. Clarke actually does throw in some moments of suspense and action. Otherwise, this isn’t a quick paced or action packed novel. There are no subplots and all the attention is directed at everything surrounding Rama. I enjoyed the way the novel ended. I won’t spoil it for the people who haven’t read it yet. I’ll just say that it leaves more questions to be answered than it actually answers. I’m fine with that, as it is in line with the way the novel was written, trying to capture our imagination. Rendezvous With Rama is considered to be a classic among science fiction books and seems to have had influence in later books and movies in the genre. It’s a very good book, albeit with limitations. This novel actually reminded me of 2001:A Space Odyssey (the movie, not the novel which I haven’t read), as it carries a similar theme about unknowns in space. I guess that’s a good sign.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gary K Bibliophile

    (3.5 stars really). Rendezvous with Rama is one of those rare triple crown award winners... meaning it won a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award - all recognizing exceptional sci-fi. In addition to Rama I’ve read two others on this list: American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This is also one of my *puzzle books* (see my profile pics) where I originally got the idea to read it because it was on a ‘classic sci-fi book’ puzzle I put together a few years ago. (My methods for bo (3.5 stars really). Rendezvous with Rama is one of those rare triple crown award winners... meaning it won a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award - all recognizing exceptional sci-fi. In addition to Rama I’ve read two others on this list: American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This is also one of my *puzzle books* (see my profile pics) where I originally got the idea to read it because it was on a ‘classic sci-fi book’ puzzle I put together a few years ago. (My methods for book selection are very scientific as you can tell) As with a lot of classic sci-fi - you’re never sure how well it ages and if the ideas hold up well over time. In this case I thought the story actually did hold up ok. The setup at the beginning was very cool... and I thought the mysterious Rama object was as well. The descriptions of the technologies were done so in a way that didn’t make it obvious the story was from the 1970s. So that was well done too. I do admit that when they talked about taking photos I kind of envisioned the characters with Polaroid cameras - and shaking the photos - given that if I read this when it was released that would have been state of the art. So why did I rate it lower? One reason was the lack of character development. It mentioned in the book intro that this is not Clarke’s strong point. Yep - nailed that one for sure. I’ve also read both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End, however and I didn’t feel the same way about the characters in those books. In this case there didn’t seem to be much memorable dialogue and overall I just didn’t care much about the main characters. The view of the roles of the sexes was really askew. There wasn’t much for the women to do... He introduced the idea of it being commonplace to have multiple wives on different planets, having end of mission orgies, and (I’m not making this up) that women shouldn’t be allowed on zero G space flight because the unpredictable movement of their breasts is too distracting. Ok... so this doesn’t quite go as far as Stranger in a Strange Land (that one had lots of elements that didn’t work for me either), but these ideas didn’t age as well as the story concept did. The pace of the story seemed rather slow as well. It seemed to take a long time to play out what was going on. There didn’t seem to be any twists that got me excited either. It was kind of like watching a very speculative space documentary rather than a sci-fi fiction adventure story. This is probably just me, but at times I had trouble orienting myself in the cylindrical spaceship... trying to figure out which way was up based on the descriptions (since the directions were all relative). This included which way the staircases went - the *seas* - the *cities*, etc etc. I looked online for fan art and there were a few pics and even some videos that were pretty creative. Nevertheless many times I had to struggle with “which way are they going now?” I thought the concept of the Simps - genetically engineered ‘Super Chimpanzees’ was interesting. I’m guessing research is going on right now to replace me in my job with a Simp. Many of you may be thinking my reviews have been subcontracted to Simps - Hey... that’s not nice... Their IQs are only 60! 😜 Despite what I didn’t like about the story I found it enjoyable and think it’s something sci-fi fans ought to check out as many of the ideas pioneered here are revisited in later stories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Rendezvous With Rama is the best and worst of classic pulp science fiction. The sciencey stuff is neato and the plot is exciting; philosophically, it raises some good questions. But the prose is functional at best, and the characters are wooden. If you can get past that, it's a great book. If you can't, most science fiction is maybe not for you. Clarke is given to breathless, pulpy sentences like this: "It was a good plan - and it failed completely." Which, I mean, I appreciate a good pulpy sente Rendezvous With Rama is the best and worst of classic pulp science fiction. The sciencey stuff is neato and the plot is exciting; philosophically, it raises some good questions. But the prose is functional at best, and the characters are wooden. If you can get past that, it's a great book. If you can't, most science fiction is maybe not for you. Clarke is given to breathless, pulpy sentences like this: "It was a good plan - and it failed completely." Which, I mean, I appreciate a good pulpy sentence, but it's tempting to snicker a little. And the crew members are just chess pieces: when Jimmy Pak shows up with a conveniently smuggled flying machine, you've never even heard his name before. It feels like Clarke had the basic plot mapped out, but invented the rest as he went. The basic plot is that a big-ass mystery space ship shows up and humanity has to figure out why and what to do with it. There are a range of possible responses to a big-ass mystery space ship, and each of them is explored intelligently. The book doesn't completely resolve; it's the first of a series, and Clarke wants you to read the rest of them too. Clarke was known as one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers of the mid-to-late 20th century, along with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. It's an odd team: Clarke and Asimov had major philosophical differences with Heinlein, who became a radical conservative lunatic. Heinlein's books were always fairly political. Asimov, the most talented prose stylist, wrote what amount to very clever space puzzles. Clarke seems like maybe the best pure storyteller of them, and Rendezvous With Rama is a highly entertaining book. Take it for what it is; it isn't George Orwell. But I tore through it. There are worse things than pulp science fiction, and this is about as good as pulp science fiction gets.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Will M.

    “But at least we have answered one ancient question. We are not alone. The stars will never again be the same to us.” I remember promising to read more /classic/ SciFi books last 2014 and so far I've failed. I can only remember the Ender series (I haven't even read the last book of the original quintet) and The Martian being my /classic/ SciFi reads since 2014. I have a vast interest in space, aliens, space opera... well SciFi in general but I have to honest and say that I'm a but intimidated t “But at least we have answered one ancient question. We are not alone. The stars will never again be the same to us.” I remember promising to read more /classic/ SciFi books last 2014 and so far I've failed. I can only remember the Ender series (I haven't even read the last book of the original quintet) and The Martian being my /classic/ SciFi reads since 2014. I have a vast interest in space, aliens, space opera... well SciFi in general but I have to honest and say that I'm a but intimidated to tackle the hardcore ones. I always watch movies, documentaries, and TV series that are SciFi related (even hard SciFi) but reading has always been an issue. This time though I told myself, fuck it, it's been way too long since I made that promise and boy am I glad that I finally read one. Ridiculously good choice too, all thanks to amazon for having the $1.99 deal on the omnibus. Rendezvous with Rama is all about a space exploration into Rama. An identified space object yet unidentified purpose for... existing. The plot is absolutely amazing. It's fun to read about how they slowly find out about Rama and what's inside. I like books that are heavy on the world building and character development, unfortunately this novel only had the world building. The book (for me) is way too short and deserves so much more, but there are 3 more books in the series so there's that. I admired the mysteriousness of Rama, and that helped me want to finish the novel faster. I didn't even expect to read the next novel right away because I have a pile of books waiting already, but I can't prolong it anymore. I've heard mixed reviews of the next 3 books (especially the second one) but I'm still willing to gamble considering I enjoyed Speaker for the Dead more than I did Ender's Game. I heard the second one is a lot more political, and that got me even more excited! Even by the twenty-second century, no way had yet been discovered of keeping elderly and conservative scientists from occupying crucial administrative positions. Indeed, it was doubted if the problem ever would be solved. It's weird how I didn't really expect an alien encounter or a space battle in this novel. No spoilers will be given though, so I won't dwell much on that matter anymore. (view spoiler)[ Well, there is no real encounter with an alien here, or even a space battle. Just a vague hint in the end though, and that made me really want to read the next novel right away. I'm hoping for aliens and space battles in the next ones but if there will be none, then I hope for world building just as splendid as this. (hide spoiler)] I did have an issue with the novel, hence the 4 star rating. The character development is heavily lacking. I'm a type of reader that relies on character development as much as the plot development so it's a bit of an issue for me. Maybe hardcore SciFi novels have less character development? I'm honestly not sure but I will read this novel again in the future and hopefully I could turn that 4 star rating into a 5. 4.5/5 stars. Strongly recommended even for those who know nothing about space. It is NOT full of jargons and the author actually wrote it in layman's terms for the most part so it shouldn't be a much of a problem.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Othy

    "Rendezvous with Rama" is the perfect example of a great idea executed in the worst possible way. The concept behind the plot really captured my attention and had me dreaming of possibilities, but the plot itself, as well as Clarke's writing style, was not even anti-climactic: it was the height of boring. First, Clarke should be noted as having a particular style, something that (unfortunately) not many sci-fi writers have. He has his own voice, his own turns of phrase and, if I had to look at a "Rendezvous with Rama" is the perfect example of a great idea executed in the worst possible way. The concept behind the plot really captured my attention and had me dreaming of possibilities, but the plot itself, as well as Clarke's writing style, was not even anti-climactic: it was the height of boring. First, Clarke should be noted as having a particular style, something that (unfortunately) not many sci-fi writers have. He has his own voice, his own turns of phrase and, if I had to look at a paragraph of his a year from now, I could probably attribute it to him. The problem is that his style is terrible. Much of the time it felt like I was reading a textbook, though often enough Clarke's style was worse. It was as if a robot had gained the ability to write novels and idly typed this one out. Characters "cautiously increase their mutual separation," for example, and everything seems to be described with a cold distance. Perhaps this'd be fine in another book, but this is supposed to be an -adventure story-. Where's the excitement? Where's the sense of discovery? No where. Anything resembling "discovery" is muddled behind a thick mist of technical, misplaced vocabulary. People often wonder why things like "poetic diction" came about, and this book answers the question rather nicely: science-y, exact writing doesn't make for very good narration. I could have looked past the style issues had the plot or the characters had been (in any sense of the word) strong, but unfortunately they were worse. Each character proceeds through Rama (and the plot) as if they were machines. Every now and again they talk of a bit of fear or strange feelings, though these are destroyed by the poor style, pushed away with some sort of scientific "stoicism" or else explained as purely natural phenomenon (once a character had an eerie sense of 'doom,' but realized it was just simple build up of electricity). I've known a few scientists and am friends with one or two, and I doubt that they would act so dispassionate. Most I know are excited, interested and creative people who love their work and (like everyone else) can get swept away in the moment. People don't, and wouldn't, act like this. So I'm left with the feeling of having read 250 pages of a story about robots "exploring" a world where very little happens that is written by a robot. How could this story have been boring? How could so little have happened? How could there be not a single memorable character? Where is the mystery, the joy of exploration? If the future is filled with such dead explorers and so little to explore than I pity the future generations.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    5.0 stars. One of the best first contact novels ever. The ability of Clarke to bring a high level of detail regarding the mechanics of the expedition without having the story get bogged down is a rare thing. This novel succeeds brilliantly. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: (tie) John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: British Scienc 5.0 stars. One of the best first contact novels ever. The ability of Clarke to bring a high level of detail regarding the mechanics of the expedition without having the story get bogged down is a rare thing. This novel succeeds brilliantly. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: (tie) John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This was a fun read. It was very typical classic sci-fi with no character development, lots of adventure and mystery packed in a 200 page novel of awesome goodness. It wasn’t long and drawn out like most books today. It was one of those small treasures not many people know about but should. I got sick of all the modern alien invasion stories but this one is different which was refreshing. Sometimes I like simple characters but a larger-picture-kind-of-story. If you’re like me this one is for you This was a fun read. It was very typical classic sci-fi with no character development, lots of adventure and mystery packed in a 200 page novel of awesome goodness. It wasn’t long and drawn out like most books today. It was one of those small treasures not many people know about but should. I got sick of all the modern alien invasion stories but this one is different which was refreshing. Sometimes I like simple characters but a larger-picture-kind-of-story. If you’re like me this one is for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Giant alien spaceship is sighted. People go and check it out. It's full of cool stuff. Clarke adds some sex to show that he isn't just a holdout from the Golden Age, but his heart's not in it. As soon as they've finished, he wants to go out and explore the spaceship again. I can see his girlfriend rolling her eyes. Giant alien spaceship is sighted. People go and check it out. It's full of cool stuff. Clarke adds some sex to show that he isn't just a holdout from the Golden Age, but his heart's not in it. As soon as they've finished, he wants to go out and explore the spaceship again. I can see his girlfriend rolling her eyes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ova - Excuse My Reading

    I've read this book when I wasn't even 20 and would love to re-read sometime. I know hardcore sci-fi books are not too much fun to read, especially if they are in the space (My eyes bled while I read 2001: A Space Odyssey) but I remember really enjoying parts of this book, although overall finding it very long. I've read this book when I wasn't even 20 and would love to re-read sometime. I know hardcore sci-fi books are not too much fun to read, especially if they are in the space (My eyes bled while I read 2001: A Space Odyssey) but I remember really enjoying parts of this book, although overall finding it very long.

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