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Reviews of Rendezvous with Rama (1973)

Review by nikosal (2006-09-13)
Perhaps the most fascinating book of space exploration ever written: A small team of astronauts -that happens to be in the right place at the right time- embarks in a mysterious and colossal cylinder that enters uninvited the solar system. The team has only a few days in order to collect as much data as possible about the cylinder and its makers. Clarke doesn't focus on the characters (which are absolutely realistic anyway) but in the difficult task of exploring a ship full of unexplained technological artifacts. The writerís firm scientific approach while portraying the astronautís careful steps, his austere and classic way of writing and the fact that the reader hardly gets any answers increase the value of the book.

Review by matt leavitt (2005-02-05)
The world of "Rama" is not necessarily a wholly new concept (see Dyson Spheres, circa 1959), but it is a nice take on it. Note that, yes, I called this book "nice". Because that's basically what it is. A loosely detailed description of men discovering a new world, encapsuled inside of a 20 by 50 kilometer cylinder. The short chapters makes the reading easy, and Clarke's style is fairly simple, making this a very quick read. Though the story doesn't come to a very firm conclusion, it is worth the atmospheric emjoyment of imagining yourself there with the characters exploring this new world. The minor discussion of the political implications of this first contact is overshadowed by the greatness of Rama, and though detailed in description, it is a fairly light story, with no definite earthshattering epiphany. I give it an 8/10 for it's take on a first contact (of a sort) and delving into the archeology of an unknown alien culture.

Review by clong (2004-12-20)
Rendezvous with Rama is an interesting book, and a fairly quick read. It features a lot more description of puzzling alien structures than plot. Don't expect much in terms of brilliant dialogue or finely drawn characterization. I found the early scenes of exploration to be quite compelling, but some of the later discoveries and developments seemed pointless. And I thought the "paranoid-colonists-from-Mercury" subplot added nothing to the book. Clarke leaves many unanswered questions, but I suppose that's a good reason to read the sequels.

Review by nzilla (2003-06-08)
Rendezvous with Rama is an excellent SF novel that is only lacking in a few respects. The science is quite interesting--easy to understand, but not completely basic. Arthur C. Clarke's vision of the future is very plausible. The novel seems as though it was only written yesterday; it stands on it's own today. The "world" of Rama is extremely inventive and Clarke describes it in detail. Indeed, at least 80% of the entire novel is just description of Rama, dialogue is fairly sparse, leaving the characters somewhat one-dimensional, but not terrible for a short novel. There is little plot and conflict, though some actually fairly interesting political stuff happens towards the end allowing the reader to both be able to have conflict and also to be able to end the story. Overall, with its importance to the science fiction genre and its interesting science and world, Rendezvous with Rama is a wholly satisfying read. I am definitely going to read the other books in the trilogy. 8/10

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