[Reading] ➯ Rendezvous with Rama ➷ Arthur C. Clarke – Uroturk.info
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 any 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 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 na ve 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. 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 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 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. At First, Only A Few Things Are Known About The Celestial Object That Astronomers Dub Rama It Is Huge, Weighing 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 Ladies, have you ever heard the advice that the 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. 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 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. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C ClarkeRendezvous with Rama is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C Clarke first published in 1973 Set in the 2130s, the story involves a 50 kilometre 31 mi cylindrical alien starship 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 1995 1371 1374 268 964554825 2 1375 494 964 5548 27 6 2 350 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. 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 BurnsThat 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 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. I ve been trying to read 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 but it seems like I always do Nevertheless the ending was pretty satisfying, would recommend 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 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 questions.Excellent, Science Fiction of the highest order.