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Garden of Rama [Turtleback]

Arthur C. Clarke
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1992
An instalment in the saga which began with the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning "Rendezvous with Rama" and "Rama II". Rama II, the giant alien artifact, is to be turned into a habitat suitable for human beings. The colony starts well, but soon disintegrates under mounting political tensions.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

Introduced in Clarke's 1973 Hugo- and Nebula-winning Rendezvous with Rama and most recently seen in Clarke and Lee's Rama II , the massive spacecraft Rama is back, but the luster and sense of wonder generated by its first appearances have eroded. The once-exciting vessel, a "cylindrical worldlet," has been turned into a cheaply painted backdrop for an equally garish exposition of vice-lord politics. When Rama returns to earth and demands a sample of humanity for observation, a lying, corrupt government hands over 2000 citizens. These individuals serve as a microcosm to reflect most of today's big sociological problems, thus implying that in 300 years no existing problems will have been solved nor will any others have been created. Clarke's unmistakable style is sadly lacking. Essentially, the book suffers from an imbalance between what occurs onstage and what offstage. Minor characters are built up with detailed introductions and then generally ignored. Major events, about which reader interest has been piqued, are skipped, then given a one-sentence review. Potentially captivating interactions with aliens and advanced technology are ignored. Readers are advised to give this voyage a miss and wait for Rama's next adventure.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Trapped aboard the massive Raman spacecraft as it leaves Earth's solar system, three cosmonauts begin a 13-year voyage toward an unkown destination. Combining the best of space adventure (as the spacefarers encounter other life forms within the multi-habitat vessel) with human drama (as children are born and raised in an unearthly environment), this third novel in the Rama cycle asks as many questions as it answers. Recommended, along with Clarke's classic Rendezvous with Rama ( LJ 8/73) and Rama II (Bantam, 1989, coauthored with Lee), for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Takes a bit of willpower to finish July 18 2002
It's not that I thought this book was awful, it's just that it didn't have much in it that I found very good. The original Rendezvous with Rama is a classic, filled with an environment that makes you wonder about the alien intelligence and crave for more.
These sequels, on the contrary, are set in the same "universe" but center around some Jerry Springer-esque quarrels amongst all the various humans. The notion that this has anything to do with Rama or aliens is secondary (or even tertiary) to the plot. In this installment, there are fleeting bits of the original wonder as the characters visit the "Node" and again when Richard visits the mysterious other dome towards the end. Sadly, this doesn't constitute very much of the overall book itself.
There are also some references that hit the reader with all the subtlety of an anvil to the head: the AIDS-like RV41 virus, Nicole's impending martyrdom and the constant (and fleeting) references to her heroes Joan of Arc and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the groaner where someone confuses Richard with Jesus. Social and religious commentary are the main themes of this book (as they were in Rama II). Science fiction is merely (and IMHO unfortunately) a backdrop.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Want to get ripped off? Buy this book March 26 2002
Want to get ripped off? Buy this book.
The original book in this series was very good-close to a classic. One of the few criticisms one could make of it was it was so transparently commercially manipulative was clear more books were on the way and this was as much--if not more--a money making exercise as an artistic one. But the book was good and this trilogy thing has apparently become a (bad) habit in the sci-fi world, so you give people a little leeway.
Or I did till the second book, Rama II came out.
If you read the first book then read Rama II, one thing is brutally clear-the books were written by different people. Clearly this book should have read "By Gentry Lee, based on the ideas of Arthur C. Clark.
The 2nd book was awful-the worst sort of 4th rate pulp sci-fi fiction. Sex and sensationalism replaced sci-fi as the driving force of the book. It advanced the readers understanding of the Raman'-their form, ideas, intentions, etc.--not one whit.
So why did I venture into this book? I thought that Clarke might just possibly have been sufficiently chagrined by the harsh criticism Rama II got to try to get back on track and provide a sequel worthy of the first book.
Unbelievebly, this book is even worse than Rama II. Much, much worse.
I won't even bother with a plot or character analysis. I really don't want anyone to even remotely think that there's anything here worth reading.
It's sad to see a giant of the genre sell out but I can think of no other explanation for these recent abominations.
Save your money. This book is worse than trash.
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As people who might have read some of my reviews probably noticed - I have this really bad case against sequels - they always seem to have too many facts of the first book restricting them, and too much to live up to. This sequel is no different. I could give Rama 2 some credit for trying to fix some problems that were in the original book, and it did try to be different, as bad as the result was. This junk is even worse!
We are finally destined to meet the makers of Rama, and a bunch of other aliens besides, and are exposed to some REALLY advanced technology. Wow!
Then we head back to earth to pick up 200 other human 'specimen'. At first all goes well under Nicole's leadership, but since the human society is so diverse crime evolves, and the criminals take over the habitat, and Nicole's family is put in jeopardy. The last scene in this book is her escape from jail the morning beore her execution.
Why read this book? We do learn a little more about Rama, about the aliens we already know, and about the ones we don't know, and get quite a big helping of the blah blah I resented so much in Rama 2 (again - this is an unfimiliar theme in other AC Clarke books - so I guess it has something to do with Gentry Lee joining in?) This book was a waste of my time and money, and I think it is a waste of yours too.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Curate's Egg Rolls On June 17 2001
"Good in Places". Indeed. (**Warning - a few slight spoilers ahead**). The opening few chapters even recaptured for me some of the mind-bogglingly grandiose wonder of the original Rama, The interaction with the Eagle and the eel-like aliens made for inspired and compulsive reading. The decision of how to divide the extended family and the tearful goodbyes made for a dramatic and genuinely poignant moment. Once Nicole transmits her message however and the action switches to the Earth-side preparations for rendezvous, the book nose-dives into mediocrity. Putting aside ones disbelief that such vast expense would be devoted to sending such a dysfunctional band of ex-felons to Mars as representatives of homo sapiens, the less-than-subtle and often irritatingly obvious allegory of human prejudices will surely make most readers groan in disbelief. Come on Sir Arthur (or was Gentry Lee the chief culprit?). You can do a lot better than resorting to two-dimensional soap-opera style goodies and baddies in space! As soon as characters are introduced, it is obvious whether they will fall into the hero or villain pot. Life just ain't that black and white guys! Why couldn't Benjy, Richard, the Redneck farmer or the annoyingly saintly Nicole have at least dropped some litter or something? Surely Katie, the boring Scotsman and the Jap entrepreneur must have had some decent features? Rama III does redeem itself somewhat in the later stages, where exploration of the mysterious far end of the spacecraft produces some enthralling revelations. All too soon however, the authors invoke the feelbad factor once again to remind us what a bunch of rotters humans are. The pious sanctification of Nicole was a particularly irritating sub-plot and really strains the readers' credulity. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read on a winter night. Don't believe the negative reviews.
I cannot understand the people who are putting down this third book in the Rama series.

I found it to be a great read. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2006 by Richter™
5.0 out of 5 stars exception to everyone else
I guess I am the exception to the rule, as I absolutely loved all 4 of the Rama books. I was so caught up in what had happened and would happen with Nicole and her family that I... Read more
Published on March 19 2004 by Jeffery Hunn
2.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the downward spiral
Ever so gently this series is starting to drift. GET BACK ON FOCUS!!! Much of the writing was about mundane people doing mundane things, petty conflicts, a lot of wondering and... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2003 by Avid Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!!!
What a let-down!!!
This is an unbelivably poor, hashed-together, novel with a few points of interest (hence 2 stars, instead of 1) but mostly pathetic and unbelivable. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003 by David Zampino
1.0 out of 5 stars Please, oh please don't waste your time with this garbage!
With only one or two exceptions, everybody seems to agree that this follow-up series is the biggest waste of time of our lives! Read more
Published on July 23 2003 by Richard Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars Wreck/Dreck of Rama
If Rama II disappointed, avoid this one. The entire plot line is silly (as Nicole and Co. go back and forth between star systems, mostly asleep but aging) and at the end the reader... Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2002 by Barry E. Boothman
2.0 out of 5 stars Suds in Space
In this, the 2nd sequel to the fine SF novel, "Rendevous with Rama," our herione, Nicole (from "Rama II") flys around the Milky Way having babies, then she leaves her oldest (14... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2002 by "bluejay54"
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical thought provoking Clarke work
I read this book several years ago and am now getting ready to read it's precursors. I must admit I'm a bit biased being a fan of Arthur C. Read more
Published on July 18 2002 by Chad Biggerstaff
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Dreadful
Tedious, boring, endless. This book goes over and over the same agonizing territory, and it can do that easily because it is impossibly long. Read more
Published on April 29 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars more of the boring same
This continues the continuation. It gives details of the ship, keeping its purpose a mystery and developing the personalities in depressingly predictable ways. Read more
Published on March 4 2002 by Robert J. Crawford
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