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Rendezvous with Rama [Mass Market Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 1990
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 inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredible, 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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An all-time science fiction classic, Rendezvous with Rama is also one of Clarke's best novels--it won the Campbell, Hugo, Jupiter, and Nebula Awards. A huge, mysterious, cylindrical object appears in space, swooping in toward the sun. The citizens of the solar system send a ship to investigate before the enigmatic craft, called Rama, disappears. The astronauts given the task of exploring the hollow cylindrical ship are able to decipher some, but definitely not all, of the extraterrestrial vehicle's puzzles. From the ubiquitous trilateral symmetry of its structures to its cylindrical sea and machine-island, Rama's secrets are strange evidence of an advanced civilization. But who, and where, are the Ramans, and what do they want with humans? Perhaps the answer lies with the busily working biots, or the sealed-off buildings, or the inaccessible "southern" half of the enormous cylinder. Rama's unsolved mysteries are tantalizing indeed. Rendezvous with Rama is fast moving, fascinating, and a must-read for science fiction fans. Clarke collaborated with Gentry Lee in writing several Rama sequels, beginning with Rama II.

Review

"Mr. Clarke is splendid...We experience that chilling touch of the alien, the not-quite-knowable, that distinguishes SF at its most technically imaginative." -- The New York Times

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps you think that a sci-fi book about an alien contact without aliens might fail to intrigue. Perhaps you're nuts! In Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke charts humanity's response to the arrival of a mysterious alien artifact. All the elements of exploration, terror, and elation are bundled into a novel worthy of inclusion in the annals of great science fiction.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
After a meteorite impact devastates Italy, humanity instigates project Spaceguard to track potentially dangerous space rocks. In 2130, Spaceguard detects a gigantic object moving at 100 000 km/h heading for a loop around the Sun. Closer inspection reveals the object to be a perfect cylinder 54 km long and 20 km across, its origin apparently intelligent, and its source deep space.

A investigation team is quickly dispatched to rendezvous with the object—now called Rama after a Hindu god—while it still remains in the solar system. To the surprise of everyone involved, Rama appears to be an interstellar ark: a world contained in a spaceship, complete with spin-induced artificial gravity and a surprisingly Earth-like atmosphere. But more importantly, there is no sign that Rama is inhabited—what, then, is the purpose of the craft?

This is definitely a hard science fiction novel, in that its focus is a primarily scientific account of the further exploration of Rama, pinning down technical details and the testing of hypotheses on the ship's origin and function. Needless to say, no first contact novel would be complete without the politics springing from an alien encounter, and Clarke's view of interplanetary negotiations on such add a nice complement of believable soft science fiction to round out the novel.

For the most part, Clarke also avoids character development, again preferring to develop Rama itself. I've read on various websites that the sequels place stronger emphasis on characterization, but, as with Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey series, don't measure up to the original (which, in Rama's case, was initially supposed to stand alone). Much of this can probably be blamed on collaborating with other authors, who are usually good but not nearly as good as Clarke.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book July 31 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading the very first page I wanted more. That's a very good start, usually I have to tell me it will get better after one or two chapter. I loved the way the chapters are separated, only 3 to 5 pages long, very good book to read when you don't have much time. I liked that a lot. I hate having to close a book in between chapters. The only disappointment I had was the ending.. it's.. well anticlimactic. But overall a very good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic of hard science fiction Feb. 14 2011
By Andre Farant TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written by Arthur C. Clarke, author of "2001: A Space Odyssey" (among many, many others), "Rendezvous with Rama" is considered by many one of his finest works and a contemporary classic in the genre of hard science-fiction. It tells the tale of a ship and its crew tasked with docking with and exploring the interior of a mysterious alien vessel nick-named Rama. The story approaches such a momentous event from a variety of perspectives, including the political, scientific and philosophical. It mostly withstands the test of time and offers an interesting mystery that keeps the reader wondering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Raman's Are Here. . . Oct. 11 2006
Format:Paperback
Rendezvous with Rama is a great peice of work. One of Arthur's finiest. The plot line is about a huge cylinder ship heading for earth. A crew is sent to make a rendezvous where they experience an exploration with an alien ship. If you enjoyed the book 2001:A Space Odyssey, you will love this master piece. The book ends with the words "The Raman's do everything in threes" and the book is followed by three more Rama books that are just as good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arthur C Clarke June 4 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I already have this book in a translated version. Wanted the original version, no surprise the story is the same... And it's still a truly good science-novel.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA showcases a lot of things that must fascinate Arthur C. Clarke, or at least a lot of concepts that he likes revisiting in his fiction. Once again, we have mankind's first contact with extraterrestrials, human colonies on the moon and on other solar planets, academic and political in-fighting, and, of course, a healthy dose of science. But the ingredients do well together here. This is, as you surely already know, one of the so-called classic science fiction novels, yet I only just got around to reading it recently. I'm happy to say that it matched my expectations, both compared to other Clarke novels and to its own lofty reputation.
An unknown object has entered Earth's solar system in the year 2130, and a rocket ship is dispatched to study this alien artifact (dubbed Rama) and report back on its findings. That sentence is a summary of almost the entire plot. But RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA is not a story that is wholly concerned with plot. It's more a series of set pieces: the decision to explore, the examination of the immediate inside, the voyage across the interior's sea, etc. Each one is interesting on its own, but not all of them contribute much to the overall story.
The purpose these set pieces serve is to invoke a sense of wonder at this unknowable alien object. I'm reminded of Jules Verne's voyage-type stories, where his protagonist(s) would become engaged in a multitude of individual adventures. But instead of exploring (and inventing) Earth's wonders, Clarke is showing us a completely fictional environment. It's quite fun. Clarke put most of his effort into creating this landscape, and it becomes the focus and centerpiece of the whole novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that proves why Arthur C. Clarke is still a Master!
This book, even today, is as fresh and fascinating as it was when it was first published several years ago. Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by Eric
4.0 out of 5 stars Arthur C. Clark at his best...
Although it has been almost two years since I read "Rendezvous With Rama," I clearly remember how the novel entertained and impressed me. I recall that Arthur C. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by Niko
5.0 out of 5 stars When the science and the fiction are both strong...
We've all read scifi by brilliant minds with great technical ideas that somehow fell short in the storytelling department. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by Magin
5.0 out of 5 stars Master Piece
Es una obra maestra de la ciencia ficción, que se continua de manera muy atractiva con otros 3 volumenes. Muy recomendable.
Published on Jan. 2 2004 by zerjio
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable book
Rating System:
1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten
2 star = poor; a total waste of time
3 star = good; worth the effort
4 star = very good;... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2003 by Erik1988
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes your imagination soar!
I read this in my early teens, and it's been read many times since then. It's the best kind of science fiction - full of wonder and imagination. Read more
Published on Dec 13 2003 by tollick
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic tale of humanity's 'first contact'
Author Arthur Charles Clarke is one of the most revered names in the history of science-fiction writing. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2003 by Patrick L. Randall
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