Discussion in 'Arthur C Clarke' started by Brian Turner, Jun 10, 2004.
What are the Rama books about, and are they recommended?
Well, I've never read it but from what I gather, the fascination stems from the mysteries.
A giant object/craft that is completely unfathomable to the people who explore it. It has clearly been crafted by someone/thing/culture that is both more advanced and mysterious. It is like a microcosm of Star Trek. You are exploring an entire universe but all in one place. Each new find is unique, and until you discover what it is/does, it is magical. All mysteries are magical. I've also heard that people enjoy the underlying logic of it all. I just may have to read it someday. I think it won a few awards, a Nebula? Not sure.
As been said, it's about a giant space craft entering our solar system. Human astronauts are sent to investigate. There are four books, in the following order: Rendezvous With Rama, Rama II, Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed. I would highly recommend them.
Ya it was allot of years since I read the first book of Rama but it made an impression in my mind and I never forgot it, It was an awsome starship built by another inteligent race. It was a huge cylindrycal ship with a complete eko system vegitation water and clouds on the inside of the walls of the hull with an artificial sun at zero gravity at the center of the ship but there was no sign of who the previous owners were or what had happened to them. If I remember corectly the eko system in the ship didn't start coming to life until it entered our solar system, automatically kicking in the on switch. I think it was designed to shut down in interstelar space while all life in the eko system went dormant or in stasis. I think it was the second book about Rama, unless I'm mystaken with another book I read with a similar ship, in this Rama there were people living in it, many genertaitons of earth people had lived in it and they thought the inside of the ship was their world, the only world there was. After all those genrations they had lost the knowledge and memory of their original purpose except for a legend of a promissed land. They were not aware they were inside a star ship on a colision course with a star. They were living in the life style of the early Amarican colonial days. I think it was one of the males and his mate found an entrance to an ancient passageway that eventually led them to one of many control rooms in the ship and they discovered they were indeed in a starship traveleling through an infinite voide of blackness dotted with tiny bright lights and one ahead of them much biger and brighter then the rest was the star they were on a colision course with. Oh what to do they didn't understand any of the control panels and what their functions were and I'll leave it there.
Well, to get info about books I always use the internet megasite named after a south american river (starts with an A... no commercial intended it's just the best repository of books online).
About the rama books the first one is not bad, but not one of Clarkes' best works.
I only got as far as the sequel "Rama 2" (written with Gentry Lee) and it's a complete waste of time. I find it hard to believe it was written by Clarke, I found the plot and characters extremely unrealistic and uncaptivating.
What are the Rama books about, and are they recommended?
I think that at the time, the original book was the only one to scoop both the Hugo and Nebula awards. So, yes, it comes recommended!
The first book is by far and a way the best of the lot though, in my view.
The sense of mystery and awe which Clarke inspires with his images of the vast and utterly alien craft is pretty unbeatable. Great writing. Believable science. Suspense, wonder and a really cool spacecraft.
The humans characters are a bit thin as usual with Clarke but it is still a really really good read.
Rama been very unkindly described as a book where "Nothing happens and nothing continues to happen from start to finish."
There is only one Rama book by Arthur C. Clarke, and that’s “Rendezvous With Rama.” The others should not be associated with his good name.
The gist is simple: A gigantic spacecraft is about to swoop through (and then out of) the solar system. A team from Earth gets together to take a look in the short window of opportunity they have. They explore the giant alien artifact. The end.
Clarke’s “Rama” is among the best ‘travelogues’ out there, a book without much conflict but plenty of mystery and exploration. If you need a Deadly Threat or a Dire Conflict, seek it elsewhere – this book does not have it, or at least precious little of it. However, if you enjoy exploring new places and seeking out alien mysteries (as I do), Rama is a good grab. It ranks among my favorite Clarke’s, though I admit bias when it comes to works about exploration. (Having just finished McDevitt’s “The Engines of God,” I found the exploration far more compelling than the conflict and drama). Each chapter brings new discoveries and new mysteries.
Stay away from the sequels, which carry Clarke’s name but little else having to do with him. Even if you love “Rendezvous With Rama,” steer clear of the three books that follow. Overbloated, meandering, pointless soap operas that manage to miss everything that made Clarke’s original so compelling.
Thanks for the recommendation - and welcome to the chronicles network, Shoegaze99.
Rendevous with Rama, is absolutely genius. I am never disapointed by one of Author C.Clark's novels. It is gripping, in the way we know somewhere down the line, the crew are going to find something transfixingly mind-boggling inside the space cylinder. The discoveries are fast moving and intriguing, and gradually leads to the climax, where the ship moves on and out of the solar system. But what singularily impressed me, was the last line. It had so much depth and placement, as if the entire book was written for it. It left me silent and thoughtful, with awe.
actually almost all of a.c.c.'s endings are like that. thats why he's my favorite author.
p.s. have you read any of his short stories? they are awsome!
Hey everyone .. I'm new here and I'm a huge Clarke fan...!!!
Nice to finally find a decent forum for him....
I loved Rama also. I just recently reread the whole series and I quite enjoyed the 2nd story, although nowhere near as good as the first obviously.... The other 2, well I enjoyed them but I was a bit disappointed where the story went... and I was truely Rama'ed out by the time I had finished all 4 books.
Still they were good enough to keep me reading....
One thing I did have a problem with was
The fact that Nicole would leave her daughter with an OLD man to carry on the human race etc..... I mean NO mother would do that would they???...
Well I hope not anyway.....
Lol. Indeed, poor Simone (it was her wasn't it?)
I read a couple of the Rama books, as my dad had some, and they were certainly good enough for a long car journery- two, three hours I'd recommend to finish it.
However I'm one of those people, who likes nice endings, and even if they aren't nice, then they have to be suitably sad, tragic and meaningful. The Rama books didn't give me that sensation. I got the impression, he was leaving himself an escape route to write more
Yeah Amber.... Simone... Poor kid got the rough end of the pineapple in this book...lol
I was really disappointed in the direction he went with Katie... I mean as a kid she was one on the best characters yet she turned into a pyscho as an adult.... He should have turned one of the other kids into a whacko instead.... That really annoyed me....lol...
I totally agree. At first I liked Katie, but then she sorta turned into a slut, and she went downhill from there. If she had to be pyscho, why couldn't she have been a cool pyscho?
hhmmm, i would have to disagree with you on this one. of course, if you're not into a purely character-driven plot, then the following 3 books after rendezvous with rama are not going to interest you. i personally didn't like rama 2 and since i read it once, i have always skipped over it and gone on to 3 and 4 with little regret for skipping 2. i'm a big fan of the travelogue/discovery scifi novels AND character novels as well so this whole series suits someone with my taste exactly.
you get to discover a new world in the first book, go back to it in the 2nd, and then live in it the 3rd and 4th. the 3rd and 4th books are mainly about the small human crew that get stuck on rama and how they continue to live out their life knowing that they will never make it back to earth. what humans will do in an alien surrounding is a great premise for a series.. and i especially loved it when they make it back to earth and find people to colonize the ship. it's a microcosm of humanity and seeing how they deal with their differences under pressure is quite astounding.
DAMN! i'm now going to HAVE to re-read these books again! thanks everyone.
the book is not 1, there is "Rama II" too,...read what MaryJane said,...I think that she really understand this book.
Erm, no. You're describing Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun. They are somewhat similar though.
Rendezvous with Rama (1973) is set in 2130 and chronicles what happens when a 50km-long alien cylinder enters the Solar system. A transport ship called Endeavour rendezvouses with Rama and its crew, who are not trained for this kind of work, explore the cavernous interior. They only have a few weeks before they have to leave as Rama's course takes it dangerously close to the Sun. There are some good subplots about religious fanatics who want to destroy Rama as well. At the end of the book virtually none of the mysteries about Rama have been answered, which is kind of the point.
The Rama Cycle is the sequel to Rendezvous with Rama and is a trilogy. Interestingly, it has been called 'a' sequel to Rendezvous and seems to operate on the same principle that Clarke applies to the Odyssey books, namely that this is a version of what happens next, possibly taking place in a parallel universe. This trilogy was plotted by Clarke and Lee but the actual writing was done by Gentry Lee, with Clarke doing a couple of editing passes on it (IIRC).
Rama II (1989) picks up the story in 2200 after a second Rama ship has been discovered years away from the Solar system, allowing a dedicated science mission to explore the ship to be put together. The book is much more character-driven than Rendezvous and there are thriller elements as well. The book has a cliffhanger ending. It is followed by The Garden of Rama (1991) and Rama Revealed (1993).
Gentry Lee later also wrote three novels by himself set in the same timeline as The Rama Cycle: Bright Messengers, Double Full Moon Night and Tranquillity Wars. These have not been published in the UK.
A movie version of Rendezvous with Rama has been in development for over five years. It will be directed by David Fincher (Alien 3, Se7en) and will star Morgan Freeman as the captain of the Endeavour. Apparently Fincher feels that CGI technology is not yet up to the level required to capture his vision, but hopes to get round to the film in the next few years.
Rendezvous with Rama holds two distinctions. It is the only novel ever to win all three of the Big Three SF Awards (the Nebula, Hugo and John W. Campbell Awards) and was apparently the first-ever Western novel to be published in the Soviet Union without extensive editing by the Soviet censors.
First post here folks - hello!
Recently finished Rendezvous with Rama; what a story! Vivid and involving in so many ways, a wonderfully impressive concept, but the means of communicating the story was the most remarkable thing for me. Setting it up between the UP committee who talked in theory, the team exploring Rama for the practical discovery, and Rama itself unpeeling its layers a bit at a time, it offered a complete 360 degree picture of what was happening. It kept me hooked right to that final line, which had me reaching for the Amazon website to find the sequel!
I read Rama a couple of years ago. I got through it fairly quickly. To be honest, I hardly remember anything about it. It was some fairly interesting worldbuilding at the time, but there's virtually no plot. I much prefer Clarke's short stories.
The first book was described as a 'prose diagram', but every word serves a purpose. It's about things we can barely be aware of but never reach. It indirectly puts mankind in its place. My favorite part is where it loops around the sun. I don't think the second to fourth books 'count' in the continuity, they're a different series entirely. I had the impression the Rama spacecraft was built by a race so advanced they gave up awareness, and it was sent to colonize a nearby dwarf galaxy. One reviewer described it as the ultimate communist society. Everything is part of a trillion year plan.
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