27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I'd almost forgotten what hard SF was...,
This review is from: Rendezvous With Rama (Sf Masterworks) (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.