Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

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Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

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1MaureenRoy
Redigerat: apr 1, 2012, 4:47pm

Today I will start reading this science fiction classic work. I had to buy another copy, since my original copy long since fell apart. The abbreviation RWR that I occasionally use throughout this thread is just my shorthand for this novel's title.

Rendezvous with Rama

2MaureenRoy
Redigerat: apr 1, 2012, 4:37pm

Chapter 1 is 2 pages long! Leave it to Arthur C. Clarke to set the stage for "the next big idea" in just 2 pages, with his trademark scientific vision, humanism, and empathy. Bravo.

Even Clarke's book dedication is intriguing: "To Sri Lanka, where I climbed the stairway of the Gods"

I found a possible photo match on Google images ... at least, it is from Sri Lanka, and it is a big stairway:

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&biw=1010&bih=553&gbv=2&tbm=is...

3Mr.Atlanticsmith
mar 30, 2012, 10:13pm

Enjoy the read... It is engaging and when it's over, you will be drooling for Rama II! (at least I was) Enjoy!

4MaureenRoy
Redigerat: apr 1, 2012, 4:48pm

On the last page of Chapter 3, there's something I totally missed the first time I ever read RWR: "Its body was a cylinder so geometrically perfect that it might have been turned on a lathe -- one with centers 50 kilometers apart. The two ends were quite flat, apart from some small structures at the end of one face, and were 20 kilometers across;"

"...apart from some small structures at the end of one face ... " , ... that's what I don't remember catching before, that the entry assist bollards (for docking spacecraft) were only at the near end. (I was going to say more here but I don't want to add spoilers, for any who are reading RWR for the first time.)

5MaureenRoy
apr 1, 2012, 4:47pm

Chapter 15, page 72: Two interesting comments here that refer to the Raman "central plain:"

"anechoic" means a space created to stop reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves ... I assume that the word "anechoic" on this page of RWR refers to the characteristic of being "echo-free."

RWR here describes walking "over an apparently seamless metal surface." I hadn't noticed before that the surface of the central plain is described as metal, not dirt!

6MaureenRoy
apr 1, 2012, 4:51pm

"Time-Out" ... I will get back to this novel in 7-10 days. But you don't have to wait for me if you have observations as well ... I will catch up later if need be. No worries.

7MaureenRoy
apr 18, 2012, 9:13pm

I've just finished reading page 243. RWR ends, not with a bang, but a twist. Some of the things I most enjoyed in this re-read were the fly-on-the-wall moments during the meetings of the Rama Committee scientists, how the word "biot" was created, the description of Rama's propulsion system, the way the crew of the Endeavor worked together under difficult circumstances, and of course the stupendous nature and scale of Rama itself. Of all the spacecraft ever described in the hundreds of science fiction stories and novels I've ever read, Rama is my favorite.

8GeorgiaDawn
apr 18, 2012, 9:14pm

This is one of my favorite books! I, too, could not wait to get my hands on Rama II!

9MaureenRoy
apr 24, 2012, 2:00pm

All 3 sequels are well worth reading. Yes, that amounts to a lot of pages, especially the last book (Rama Revealed), but what can I say except that they answer a lot of questions. Those titles are, in consecutive order:

Rama II
The Garden of Rama
Rama Revealed

10MaureenRoy
jun 22, 2012, 1:52pm

Eeek, I may have stumbled on an Arthur C. Clarke prequel to RWR -- it's a 30-page short story titled Jupiter 5 in the anthology Clarke's Universe. According to Clarke, Jupiter 5 was written in June 1951, when Sputnik I was still 6 years in the future. It's definitely worth a read.

11brightcopy
jun 22, 2012, 2:15pm

#10 by @Indybooks> Wikipedia only says "There are a lot of similarities between "Jupiter Five" and Rendezvous with Rama, a novel Clarke wrote two decades later."

So apparently there's (probably) no direct link between them on the record.

12StormRaven
jun 22, 2012, 7:07pm

All 3 sequels are well worth reading.

I disagree. I read all three sequels, and in my estimation, they are all awful.

13brightcopy
jun 22, 2012, 7:42pm

#12 by StormRaven> I've held my tongue on this so far, but I have to agree. Though for full disclosure, maybe I'm not qualified to have an opinion on two and a half of them. I got about half-way through Rama II before I had to put the book down as completely boring. That has only happened to me with a tiny handful of books in my life. So I never rated it or reviewed any of them.

But here's some interesting LT info:

RwR: 5,001 members, 3.98 stars (1,294 members rating - 25% of readers)
RII: 2,475 members, 3.32 stars (477 members rating - 19% of readers)
GoR: 1,869 members, 3.41 stars (334 members rating - 18% of readers)
RR: 1,672 members, 3.42 stars (304 members rating - 18% of readers)

Tim has said before that there is "grade inflation" in series due to people who didn't like the first ones as much dropping out before the latter ones. I wonder if that explains the dip from RwR to RII, then the rise from RII to the later ones.

Of course, there's also a bit of inflation simply by having a title in your catalog. I flushed RII out of my library and hence do not have it cataloged or rated.