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Rendezvous With Rama (S.F. Masterworks S.) Paperback – 13 Apr 2006

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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 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,291 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.

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Review

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The multi-award-winning SF masterpiece from one of the greatest SF writers of all time

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "ianlokibailey" on 2 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 13 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gga99@dial.pipex.com on 11 July 2000
Format: Paperback
I have two critical points about this novel.
Firstly, it is far too short. The fact that it has 46 chapters is abit decieving. I would have prefered Clarke to put more detail into the novel. The characters are pretty poor to say the least - Clarke should have written more about the emotions they were expressing and their background. Generally, the story moves at a very rapid pace and the book can be completed in a day if not two.
Secondly, I was abit annoyed that none of the mysteries about Rama were explained. Okay, maybe this is the beauty of the novel but still I would have liked it if some sense had been made of some of the discoveries inside the cylinder. Maybe Clarke had the sequels in mind when he was writing this novel. Also, the book didn't explain the Hermians reaction to the missile that was sabotaged.
However, saying all this I still think it is a deeply profound novel which makes you think about the possibility of the existance of a higher intelligent being in the Universe.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. Proctor on 23 May 2010
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. A. S. Brown on 4 May 2004
Format: Paperback
This is without doubt one of the greatest sci-fi novels of all time and you can read it in one sitting.
I loved every bit, from the puzzling astronomical observations when Rama is first spotted in the solar system, to the eventual exploration of the spaceship by the human investigators. There are other things I’d like to highlight but that would spoil the fun for the reader.
It’s one of those books every wannabe sci-fi novelist wishes they had written. Fantastic - literally!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a reader of science fiction; I read this book because it was a choice for a book group. I therefore write this review as a general reader rather than a fan of science fiction.

Rama is an enormous cylindrical spaceship that appears to behave like an asteroid. It is millions of years old yet looks brand new and has come into our solar system and the governments of the occupied planets want to know what it is and why it has come here. A team of astronauts takes a spaceship to Rama to explore its insides.

I loved the sense of wonder that Clarke brings to this tale. His descriptions of the inside of Rama are incredibly detailed and made me feel I was inside it myself. It certainly is a tribute to the application of real science to fiction.

The characters are perhaps less vividly drawn and just a little one dimensional but I suspect that most fans of sci fi don't tend to worry too much about this. It didn't really bother me. Furthermore, there is little suspense in the story. I would not describe it as a page turner.

What did interest me though was the speculation among the astonauts and the governments of the planets as to the origin and purpose of Rama. The book ends without anyone really knowing.

I am very glad to have read this fascinating and intelligent book.
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