In the year 2130, a huge alien artifact approaches the Earth from outer space. Commander Norton and his crew take their ship to meet it, and, once inside, discover the wonders that go to make up Rama.
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.Read more ›