Classic Book Review: Rendezvous with Rama

I really, really liked At Childhood’s End and the style of Arthur C. Clarke.  His books often have no villains, just setting, just events and alien thoughts that create fantastic intrigue.  Rendezvous with Rama is a highly awarded book I expect no real sci-fi fan should be able to ignore.

The Book

Rendezvous with Rama Rendezvous with Rama
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
First published in 1973
Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Amazon Link

I love boring sci-fi.  I really enjoy books that explore their own worlds, especially when those worlds are incredibly creative and alien.  Rama presented a fantastic opportunity, and I enjoyed reading it.

Was it my favorite ‘boring sci-fi’ novel?  No.  I didn’t like the characters well enough.  But was it worth reading?  Most definitely.  I liked it way better than the Asimov i, Robot collection of short stories, though Clarke’s At Childhood’s End is still my favorite of his work, this one was still pretty good.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

Non-Spoiler Review

This near-future sci fi novel deals with an interesting vessel that visits the solar system.  The solar system has been colonized and terraformed long enough that planets like Mars and Mercury, and moons like Titan and Ceres have established governments that work with – and against – Earth’s.

Anyway, the book focuses on Rama, a cylindrical ship that is the size of a large asteroid and has been sent from a faraway planet.  The humans of Endeavor fly to the mini-world of Rama, and they explore.

And… well, the spoilers part of this review is really short, because that’s all that happens.  There are a few events that occur, but this book is literally just exploring an alien ship.  It’s all about gravity, atmosphere, exploration, and that is all.  So little happens.

Yet I love it.  Exploration of setting and theorizing about aliens is exciting for me.  The book forces you to think, and all villainy or excitement is in the environmental challenges.

I didn’t like the main character.  Norton had two wives, and the way he talked about them made me think he was loyal to neither.  Similarly, a lot of the relationships between people just felt odd to me.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS AHOY

I did like some of the events – like when Jimmy bicycled across the cylinder – and when the Hermians tried to blow up Rama.  Both of those events had some excitement and risk, and I had to keep reading to find out if everything turned out alright.

The only spoiler that I think can possibly spoil Rendezvous with Rama is the last line.  “The Ramans always do thing in threes.”  It hints at the coming sequels, and it does so incredibly well.  The book feels completely wrapped up by the end, and then this tiny line turns everything on its head.

Next week:

This week was the last of the month, so next time we’ll be introducing the three books of October.  Hope to see you then!

One thought on “Classic Book Review: Rendezvous with Rama

  1. joanne the geek says:

    I’ve read Arthur C. Clarke’s Expedition To Earth, which is a collection of his short stories. I quite enjoyed it at the time. It has the short story “The Sentinel” which inspired 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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