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Don't waste your money!
on 8 December 2012
First things first; I love Arthur C Clarke, and read and re-read many of his stories, but this omnibus is just awful!
'Rendevous with Rama' is a fantastic story, typical Clarkeian hard SF, strong on the science and action, less so on characterisation.
But the following (two?) books, well, I tried reading them, then skimming them, then just gave up. And £9.99 is twice as much as I've ever spent on a Kindle book! As deep as one goes into the books, it's almost impossible to find hard SF or actual events. There are long descriptions of Earth's economic situation, which I was expecting to be a lead in to something interesting, but just went on and on, then seemed to peter out and lead nowhere. Then there are the fashion tips for the many attractive women who appear, the relationship problems, the family issues - all that stuff is abundantly catered for elsewhere. It's not why I reach for my Clarke or Baxter collections.
People started saying, back in the late 60's, early 70's, that it was time SF grew up, and moved away from the pulp magazine image. It gradually started including relationship matters and even bedroom scenes (much to my personal regret - I like my SF old-school). Perhaps they had a point, and developing that side improved acceptability for a new readership, but these sequels take it way, way too far.
It seems evident that Clarke didn't have anything to add to the original story, so filled the pages with office politics, mother-child separation problems, and who-fancies-who twaddle.
My advice (as a Clarke fan - honestly!)- forget this omnibus, read and enjoy Rendevous with Rama, and if you want a substantial read in one place from Clarke, get the collected short stories. Great stuff!