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Rendezvous With Rama (S.F. Masterworks S.) [Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 April 2006 S.F. MASTERWORKS

Rama is a vast alien spacecraft that enters the Solar System, A perfect cylinder some fifty kilometres long, spinning rapidly, racing through space, Rama is a technological marvel, a mysterious and deeply enigmatic alien artifact. It is Mankind's first visitor from the stars and must be

investigated . . .

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Rendezvous With Rama (S.F. Masterworks S.) + The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Childhood's End
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (13 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575077336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575077331
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Somerset in 1917, Arthur C. Clarke has written over sixty books, among which are the science fiction classics 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars and Rendezvous With Rama. He has won all the most prestigious science fiction trophies, and shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of the film of 2001. He was knighted in 1998. He died in 2008 at his home in Sri Lanka.

Product Description


Arthur C. Clarke is awesomely informed about physics and astronomy, and blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print (NEW YORK TIMES)

For many readers Arthur C. Clarke is the very personification of science fiction (THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION)

Arthur C. Clarke is one of the truly prophetic figures of the space age ... The colossus of science fiction (NEW YORKER)

Quite memorable and at times magical. . . We glimpse our own future in this technological artifact - a future as magical as it is mysterious (BRIAN W. ALDISS) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'Quite memorable and at times magical. . . We glimpse our own future in this technological artifact - a future as magical as it is mysterious' Brian W. Aldiss

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 2 Aug 2002
It is difficult to overestimate the effect of this ground breaking novel on present day science fiction - hardly anything I read today by writers like Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton et al escapes its brilliant influence. I read it when it first came out in the late seventies and was staggered by its vision. If many of its insights now seem trite, it is only because they have been re-used by other writers to such a degree that they have become almost commonplace. Like Niven's Ringworld, it has shaped modern day science fiction. That is why it is a classic.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It still evokes that Sensawonder 13 Feb 2008
A giant cylinder is spotted entering the Solar System and a team of astronauts is sent out to investigate.
The cylinder is unfeasibly vast and (it is discovered) hollow with gravity on the inside of the cylinder produced by centrifugal force. The interior surface is lit by enormous lamps, covered with a variegated landscape and divided in two by a band of sea which exists in a circle around the inside.
Perhaps Clarke's best work, this succeeds (as did Niven's `Ringworld') by its sheer lack of explanation. In fact, the entire novel is, in some ways, an exercise in minimalist adventure, since despite the excitement of the exploration itself and having to rescue a crewmember who becomes stranded on the other side of the central sea, nothing really happens.
One cannot help, however, still being awed by Clarke's depiction of this magnificently vast alien mystery which appears in our Solar System and allows us inside her enormous shell before shortly afterward disappearing.
Again, like Niven's Ringworld, the novel was later lessened by inferior sequels (written in this case in collaboration) and which gradually eroded the awe and mystery which was an integral part of the original books. If you haven't read the Rama sequels you'd be best advised not to bother. The writing is far inferior to Clarke at his best and one suspects that his literary input was minimal.
However, getting back to the original, this is a novel which well deserves the title `classic' and still manages to evoke a sense of wonder set against a background of a universe vast and ultimately unknowable.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd almost forgotten what hard SF was... 23 May 2010
I'd almost forgotten what 'hard' SF was really like until I read Rendezvous with Rama. It was wonderful to have a story where physics is integral to everything, where speed of light limitations are woven into the story, where the alien artefact has a design that takes physics into account (I'm still pleased that I managed to predict one minor plot element by recalling one of the physical properties of water.)

And how can I fail to love a story that actually takes Coriolis force into account?

The strong grounding in reality makes the whole story feel so much more real. You believe in the characters and in the dangers they encounter, because you know that no 'magic' will be used to rescue them if they get into a tight corner.

Another good point about the focus on hard science is that the book hasn't dated. There were only two small moments when I realise how long ago the book was written. One was when the shape of Rama was compared to a domestic boiler, and the other was a reference to the steady state theory. Apart from those two minor points, the book could have been written yesterday. The laws of physics don't change with fashion.

Clarke can't write in depth characters, but they work reasonably well in this book, and the setting of Rama itself makes the story live.

This was a 9/10 book for me and I'd happily recommend it to anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives you a real sense of wonder 16 Jan 2008
It's 2130 and Rama, a cylindrical space vessel 50km long by 20km wide has arrived in our solar system. Humanity do not know what it is or where it has come from, only that it is artificial and is passing through our solar system before heading out into deep space again. The only human spaceship that can reach it in time is the Endeavor with its commanding officer Bill Norton.

When the explorers enter Rama, all is dead - there appears to be no activity anywhere. The landscape is strange, although with no geographical features except the frozen sea that separates the north end of Rama from the southern end and city-like structures are seen and named (Paris, New York). As the exploring continues many things are discovered, although none giving any clue at all to what Rama is and why it is here. Their is breathable air at ground level, although the temperatures are well below freezing.

With the sun getting closer, the interior warms and the sea melts. Once this chain of events has happened, Rama comes to life. Robots (biots) are seen carrying out tasks and walking and swimming in Rama. Exploring continues in each of the cities and strange activity starts around what can only be described as the spikes protruding from the southern end of Rama.

My expectations for this book were mixed. I've heard so much about it, yet so little, I really didn't know what to expect other than a huge alien spacecraft turning up in our solar system. What I found was a really nice intriguing read that makes you question everything that is discovered inside Rama. The detailed descriptions given really are wonderful and none of this is unbelievable in any way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more.
If they do end up making a film about Rendezvous With Rama , I hope they make it a lot better than the book. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars CD - Rendezvous with Rama
This is one of my favourite sci-fi recordings by Arthur C. Clarke which I copied onto my iPod using iTunes and which I play though an iPod power amplifier thus avoiding... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Mr. P. Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book which i enjoyed reading.
After finishing this book i started other sci fi series but am now going to read the sequel- Rama II- to see what happens next though this book has a full ending and conlcusion... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Max
4.0 out of 5 stars nice book
nice read especially the atmosphere at the beginning when we don't know what is going on. I would recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by vergnaud
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, well written science fiiction
Worth five stars for the ending alone, I'm not surprised that Rama is constantly in the top ten lists of best science fiction books ever.
Published 3 months ago by diggy
4.0 out of 5 stars It's an interesting sci-fi novel
I've only recently started reading Clarke's sci-fi books and compared to others that I have read such as Childhoods End, Rama was a slight let down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read
Highly Recommended.
One of the great SF novels, it was an excellent read.
Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ash More
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense is terrifying at times
Loved it. Would highly recommend, it's amazing how it was written such a long time ago as it more than holds it's own today.
Published 4 months ago by Alex Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars What An Anticlimax...
This review has one or two spoilers in it, so if you’d rather not, I wouldn’t…

I originally took Rendezvous With Rama to be a first contact story, charting the arrival... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joe Llewellyn
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
I loved to revisit this book.
It was the book that got me into reading science fiction.
I strongley recomend this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ňhlin Mats
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