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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer 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. I enjoyed it so much that I read it again a few years later, and still loved it.

I'll continue to visit the series throughout my life because it's a wonderful space adventure.

All 4 books in the Rama series are superb. In fact, they are some of my favorite books by Arthur C Clarke, and in my opinion, some of his best writing.

I really don't know what these people were expecting, because The Garden of Rama is a beautiful science fiction book.

Brian D.
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5.0 out of 5 stars exception to everyone else March 20 2004
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 could hardly wait 'til the next book in the series was published! To let you know how much I was affected by the series: at the end of Rama Revealed, I was moved to tears at the death of Nicole and the realization that this was IT. But, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in what was and was not reavealed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the downward spiral Oct. 21 2003
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 wandering and not much continuity. Once again, as he has done in the past over and over, Clarke comes up with a superlative idea but his literary talents - or lack thereof - are not up to the task. Only rarely does he succeed with character development and this is not an uncommon occurrence among scifi writers.
I found myself staring into space several times and even peeking ahead. The best parts were all the creatures in the Garden. It is an axiom that the really memorable science fiction stories do not center on the unworldly aspect but on unforgettable people - Contact, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune. This series could have been really remarkable but it has been dithered away. What a waste of time and energy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!!! Oct. 1 2003
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. The first section of the book, containing extracts of "journal entries" from Nicole's journal (it's obvious now that Nicole is going to be the main character from here on out) which serve to send forward the plot about 13 years (and entangle the characters in some cloyingly obvious sexual "misunderstandings"). The remainder of the book is a description of the "colony" from Earth chosen to inhabit Rama, and the disastrous choices made by nearly everyone -- from the politicians on Earth, to most of the colonists.
To paraphrase B.B. King, "The Thrill of Rama is Gone". I'll give "Rama Revealed" a chance, just because so many loose ends are left hanging.
A real disappointment.
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With only one or two exceptions, everybody seems to agree that this follow-up series is the biggest waste of time of our lives!
Like another reviewer wrote: What I wouldn't do to get the time back!
If the setting were entirely different (ie. NOT a sci-fi novel, let alone a sequel to the original Rama by Clarke) then some of the characters and situations MIGHT be interesting.
Certainly not, however, when we're expecting sci-fi on the same level as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Wreck/Dreck of Rama Aug. 22 2002
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 is no where -- third-rate 'cliff-hanger' to get you to buy the next book. It will take another 400 pages in Rama Revealed to get to the so-called revelation. Fans of ACC will not recognize any of his ideas in this volume which basically assumes humans have learned nothing over the years: just plain ignorant, easily manipulated by political leaders, guided by superstition, and usually kill anything in sight. Most of the lead actors are mere caricatures, no personalities or redeeming features and you'll probably despise the heroine, Nicole, who is portrayed as perfect. You're more likely to be entertained by an old B-film from American International than this sludge.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Suds in Space Aug. 15 2002
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 yo) daughter to marry an old geezer at some triangle-shaped parking lot near another star because it would reduce inbreeding, then this eagle-headed biot dude wants to send the rest of them back to our Solar System so Nicole goes to sleep for 19 years (I about fell asleep, too) in order to find another 2000 losers from Earth to join this pathetic venture. (Remember, things are pretty sorry on Earth by then, after the great Chaos/depression, so it won't take much.) Oh yeah, her younger daughter learns how to masturbate while they enter orbit around Mars. If it sounds stupid, it is. I fought to preserve my memory of the beauty of the original story. But hey, its your time to waste.
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