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Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1)
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BotM Discussion - SCI-FI > Rendezvous with Rama / Overall Discussion / ** SPOILERS **

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Greg | 998 comments This thread is for overall discussion of Rendezvous with Rama.


message 2: by Greg (last edited Oct 06, 2017 03:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments I enjoyed it! This is not a book to read for the characters though or even the plot .. very little actually happens. The pleasure is in the unfolding mystery of the nature of the "ship." It feels original and has a true sense of wonder, particularly in the description of his last panoramic view of Rama before departing. For my personal taste, I more liked than loved it, but I can definitely see the quality .. an excellent book


Greg | 998 comments Oh one warning .. the Audible audiobook reader was terrible in my opinion .. horrifyingly fake accents, weird flat intonation, one of the worst Audible readers I've encountered. I read the paperback instead.


message 4: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 112 comments I read this about 35 years ago, and again about 25 years ago. I don't think I'll be re-reading right now.

I don't exactly consider this one of my favorites, but it is a book I frequently think back on fondly. One of the things that really worked for me is that the alien artifacts are truly incomprehensible, as they should be. Very little is ever completely explained in this book and that keeps a sense of wonder alive in the reader. (I just realized I accidentally used the same phrase "sense of wonder" as Greg. It fits perfectly.)

Years after the original, Clarke was convinced to co-write some sequels. That was probably a mistake. I don't think anyone really needed answers to the mysteries of the original.


Greg | 998 comments Ed wrote: "I read this about 35 years ago, and again about 25 years ago. I don't think I'll be re-reading right now.

I don't exactly consider this one of my favorites, but it is a book I frequently think bac..."


I agree with all of this Ed - I liked that there were no easy explanations as well!


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul (subpaul) | 40 comments Ed wrote: "I read this about 35 years ago, and again about 25 years ago. I don't think I'll be re-reading right now.

I don't exactly consider this one of my favorites, but it is a book I frequently think bac..."


I read it once as a teen and again about 10 yrs ago, and I'm good too. I actually loved it, for all the same reasons Greg said. I just don't feel like reading it again.

I also read the sequels and HATED the Nicole character. Her Nobel-prize winning, Olympic medal-winning, matriarch wait - was she a supermodel too? I am trying to remember. Anyway, she is the biggest Mary Sue I think I have ever encountered in any book. Pretty much the universe revolves around her to the point of lunacy.

That said, the books have sold millions and got decent reviews on GR, so apparently alot of folks liked them. And, even I have to admit the aliens were awesome and the plot was engrossing and memorable. Drew me in, causing me to dislike Nicole even more, I guess.


message 7: by Shawnie (new) - added it

Shawnie | 1625 comments My Overdrive copy isn't available yet, but I'm #1 on the waitlist now. :)


Greg | 998 comments Shawnie wrote: "My Overdrive copy isn't available yet, but I'm #1 on the waitlist now. :)"

Hope you get it soon Shawnie! :)


Sandy | 1636 comments I found the book very well done. I was so very much with the characters in the book every step of the way. It made me think what someone would see here if there were no people to give the planet life. Trying to figure out the culture of the species that had built the ship was very intriguing.

What I did find odd is that even though there appear to be women on the ship (post op orgy being mentioned) they didn't seem to play a big part or be developed at all in the story.

I did find the treatment of women a bit dated.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3 comments I understand your point. I've been reading SF from the 50s and 60s and that always stands out, that women are, at best, in secondary roles. I think in the 70s, it started to change, but, as you say, Clarke still had that mindset--that science and technology are a male realm. Thankfully, that thinking started to change. But we still see problems such as Silicon Valley not being very woman-friendly!


Sandy | 1636 comments Oh IT is friendly enough if you want to fight the battle every day so that you aren't pushed into administrative work. Engineers are a tough road.


message 12: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Sandy wrote: "I found the book very well done. I was so very much with the characters in the book every step of the way. It made me think what someone would see here if there were no people to give the planet li..."

Tbat bothers me in a lot of old SF; so I'd ordinarily completely agree with you Sandy!! But I have to admit that for me in this book, I didn't think any of the characters had development, male or female. I suppose on a pure action/problem solving level, men did have more to do, but there was that woman who pitoted the raft and got them safe out of the cylindrical sea, wasn't there? That part was kind of thrilling.

Sorry I can't think of her name - I actually can't remember any of the characters' names - they all blended together. But the "ship" itself - that was what Clarke seemed really interested in ... and for me, that aspect was fascinating!!


Sandy | 1636 comments Greg wrote: "Sandy wrote: "I found the book very well done. I was so very much with the characters in the book every step of the way. It made me think what someone would see here if there were no people to give..."

That's true Greg, in that none of the characters were well developed but it seemed that the female characters were almost substituted for male characters at the last minute by just substituting names.

I found the detail of what to explore and how the fascinating part of the story and the disappointment on the captains side that it was gone again before he was done. Ship and creatures were truly a work beyond our basis being three legged and all. Great imagination!


message 14: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Sandy wrote: "Greg wrote: "Sandy wrote: "I found the book very well done. I was so very much with the characters in the book every step of the way. It made me think what someone would see here if there were no p..."

I completely agree about the exploring and the imagination Sandy!

And I can see what you mean about the sustituting of names - I can definitely see where you're coming from!


Fannie D'Ascola | 388 comments I'm almost done with the book now and I really like it so far. One of my favorite science fiction book is 2001: A Space Odyssey by Clarke and I was curious to see his other work.

I agree with the women's place in those old scifi books, but it doesn't bother me much. I look at it like a thing of the past.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments This was my first Clarke book, and I definitely enjoyed it. I sort of expected more... depth? Insight? I'm not sure, but I thought it would be more introspective than purely exploration. As an adventure, this is easy to appreciate. I tend to want answers, though I'm not sure if I'd be pleased with them. Also I'm much more interested in the Ramans than the future humans, whose society seems stagnant except in the randomest ways (congrats on the two wives, commander, but I'm not sure this really develops your character any). Overall, a satisfying read.


message 17: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1749 comments I liked this one, but i don't love it.

I liked the fact that the world was so alien to anything else that I have read so far. Most Sci Fi books seem to run on the same laws of physics as ours and this is the first one for me that kind of pushed that boundary, what with the world being on the inside of the cylinder.

What I found hard was that the tone of the book, for me, was kinda bored. There didn't seem to be any great change of tone to the narrative when something momentous happened. Like the first meetings with the crab and the spider type aliens. Clarke may well have been describing wallpaper for the amount of tension the descriptions portrayed to me.

I didn't find the role of women in this book as bad as some books that I have read. I think the fact that women were on the mission and one of them had skills that no one else did and were necessary to the story helped. I seem to remember 'A stranger in a strange land' was much more sexist than this one. But like Fannie, I dont get too worked up about it, as it was a thing of the times. If a book was written and published this year that was that way inclined, it would be a whole other matter.

What do people think about Mercury's preemptive attack plan?


Sandy | 1636 comments Lel,

That's a good question. I remember thinking how typical of humans to attack what they fear. I wasn't surprised at all about that part of the story. I was just surprised that more didn't do that.

I do take your point too that the only tension I felt in the story was when the dragonfly rider was falling to his death and then watched his bike get systematically destroyed.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments I think that I mostly just assumed Mercury's crazy attack was going to fail. Did anyone even die in this super risky space adventure? There was indeed an odd lack of suspense, and more focus on the wonder of it all.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Lel wrote: "What I found hard was that the tone of the book, for me, was kinda bored. There didn't seem to be any great change of tone to the narrative when something momentous happened. Like the first meetings with the crab and the spider type aliens. Clarke may well have been describing wallpaper for the amount of tension the descriptions portrayed to me."

I agree with this completely. The narrative was too detached for my tastes. I respected the book and liked it in spite of its flaws but was often bored with it.

I'm reading the sequel Rama II right now and although it has more fully developed characters and greater dramatic flair, it suffers from overwriting and poor pacing.


message 21: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1749 comments Randy, is it worth reading the second one? Im curious about the builders of Rama?


Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments I didn't think that the book portrayed female characters badly per-Se, it was more that all the characters were just...flat. Most of the characters were practically sexless, and you could genital-swap those without the story changing a thing. The captain with his two families and using the doctor as an on-board mistress was a bit...odd, shall we say? But who knows, the "little women" back home could have been engineers rather than housewives, and this just might be how society works in the book. There's no information there. I agree totally with previous comments saying that the plot was a bit spartan.

I liked, but didn't love the book, giving it 3 stars. This is based mainly on the stuff with Rama itself. The science and descriptions of the unexplainable parts of the ship were interesting enough to keep me engaged, but I saw the whole "sundiving" thing coming a mile off.


message 23: by Greg (last edited Oct 24, 2017 06:20PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Scott wrote: "I didn't think that the book portrayed female characters badly per-Se, it was more that all the characters were just...flat. Most of the characters were practically sexless, and you could genital-s..."

This is exactly what I thought Scott. Clarke didn't seem too interested in the characters - it was the wonder and mystery of Rama itself that he focused on.


message 24: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Sandy wrote: "Lel,

That's a good question. I remember thinking how typical of humans to attack what they fear. I wasn't surprised at all about that part of the story. I was just surprised that more didn't do th..."


That's what I thought too Sandy, and it seems all too plausible to me - humans don't generally react well to anything uncertain, unknown, or outside of their knowledge. It terrifies them, and they lash out.


message 25: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Lel wrote: "What I found hard was that the tone of the book, for me, was kinda bored. There didn't seem to be any great change of tone to the narrative when something momentous happened. Like the first meetings with the crab and the spider type aliens. Clarke may well have been describing wallpaper for the amount of tension the descriptions portrayed to me...."

I partly agree with this Lel and Susie - the book didn't have much dramatic tension, and the pacing was slow. I wasn't bored but I wasn't propelled through it either. I was attracted to the sense of wonder and by what sometimes felt almost like curiosity on Clarke's part, but I would've given the book more stars in my personal reaction if it had more balls in the air, if it had something else in addition - whether that was deeper characterizations or more dramatic tension or more plot, just something more.

So I did like it, and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the approach, but this wasn't a book I fell crazy in love with. At the same time, I can see why it won all the awards it did, and I can see why many people do love it.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Lel wrote: "Randy, is it worth reading the second one? Im curious about the builders of Rama?"

I'm not sure. I'm about halfway through and so far we haven't learned anything.


message 27: by Nic, Wormhole Technician (last edited Oct 27, 2017 11:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nic Margett (enn_eye_cee) | 353 comments Mod
Randy wrote: "Lel wrote: "Randy, is it worth reading the second one? Im curious about the builders of Rama?"

I've read the 2nd and 3rd book and I can assure you that you'll find nothing out about the Raman's from them. The sequels are actually quite poor; they're too long and not that interesting really. I think they were mostly written by Gentry Lee with ACC just editing and contributing odd storylines rather than a full-on collaboration. They definitely don't show a lot of the classic hallmarks of ACC novels, most notably, brevity - they are really long-winded and seem to drag on forever, whereas Clarke's book are almost always short and sweet.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments It's disappointing to hear that the sequels aren't great, Nic, but thanks for saving me from looking forward to them too much! I think I'm okay with letting the story end here.


message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 998 comments Susie wrote: "It's disappointing to hear that the sequels aren't great, Nic, but thanks for saving me from looking forward to them too much! I think I'm okay with letting the story end here."

Indeed, thanks Nic! Good to know they weren't fully authored by him as well!


Sandy | 1636 comments Susie wrote: "It's disappointing to hear that the sequels aren't great, Nic, but thanks for saving me from looking forward to them too much! I think I'm okay with letting the story end here."

Think I will take a pass on these if that is the case...


message 31: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1749 comments Thanks Randy and Nic, as with everyone else I will steer clear of the rest. Such a shame.


message 32: by Nic, Wormhole Technician (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nic Margett (enn_eye_cee) | 353 comments Mod
Glad to help! If only I could take my own advice, but I have a real need for completion and will inevitably end up reading the 4th one too!


message 33: by Shawnie (new) - added it

Shawnie | 1625 comments I'm about halfway now and finding it pretty bland. I don't feel any excitement in the discoveries or events like I should, or how I want to feel. Honestly, the only part that has impacted me was the description of unrestricted breasts in zero gravity. HAHA I had to laugh at that.


Efrat | 90 comments I liked this book. Everything seemed possible and logical. This incounter may actualy happen. And then what will we do? Who will we be?


Sandy | 1636 comments Great questions Efrat! probably both of the people that were here in the story. It is a good thing we don't have the ability to rendezvous this type of spaceship. lol


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