Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1)
This topic is about Rendezvous with Rama
34 views
Monthly Reading: Discussion > June 2018 "Rendezvous with Rama" Discussion <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!>

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Group Read #8


message 2: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Well, I found that I did not like it as much as I did years ago, but I still really liked it. I did write a really tiny little review and gave it 4 stars.

I guess I'm just not as crazy about it as I thought I would be because it is not a book I would ever read over . . . it's not character-driven enough for me these days.

Still, this is a great example of interesting science explanations in a novel. This is the kind of writing that I wanted when I criticized Tau Zero for the science being boring. Here, the science was interesting.

I got really tired of the politics, though. As I said in my review, I can get that in real life. I don't need to see people wielding their political swords in books I read for pleasure.


message 3: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments Kateblue wrote: "Well, I found that I did not like it as much as I did years ago, but I still really liked it. I did write a really tiny little review and gave it 4 stars.

...I got really tired of the politics, though..."


I haven't re-read this recently, but I don't recall any politics in it. Can you elaborate?

What I liked was the fact that the aliens were so strange. The characters in the book never really understood them or their artifacts or motivations, and so we were left to our own imaginations.

Later, some totally unnecessary sequels gave some answers, though never completely explained everything.


message 4: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Jun 17, 2018 04:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
There is a board of 7(?) representatives, one from each populated planet or moon, that meet on the moon. They all have their own agendas and argue about what Rama can do, what it is, and what to do about it.

They all seem to know about science, so they are not just politicians. But they act like them. And so, there is created exposition and discourse and argument about the science surrounding Rama. Which ends up with Mercury (through the Mercury rep, who seems kind of "holier than thou") sending a bomb to blow Rama up.

Looking back on it, I wonder if this committee (or whatever it was) was a writing mechanism employed by Clarke to express the more cumbersome hard science concepts that Clarke could not work gracefully into the happenings on Rama. It also gave characters that could explain the science instead of having to rely upon a sort of omniscient narrative.

But I didn't think the bomb threat was necessary to the plot.

I agree that the aliens were great. And you know, I do agree that sequels would not be necessary. My question back to you is, were they any good? None are on the Hugo/Nebula list, and at this point, my main philosophy is . . . Too many books, so little time!


message 5: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments It was 20 years ago that I read the sequels and I remember almost nothing about them. I was also 20 years ago that I last read the original and I remember a lot about it. So maybe that answers your question!

I liked the sequels enough to read all of them. But remember not feeling satisfied. Also they lack something that Clarke was good at: brevity.


message 6: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Hmm . . . a moneymaking proposition, perhaps? Sometimes I wonder at all the series. Easy if you don't have to invent new characters and/or a new world.


message 7: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
I read this book a few months ago. When I was reading it, there was that cigar shaped asteroid that past by our solar system. So, it made the book more alive to me.

I agree that the characters were not flushed out. But I did enjoy the random stuff about that world. Like the gravity from the different worlds and how they created new sports with it. Also the ship's gravity was interesting. I also really like the new religion where Jesus was an alien and he was coming back for everyone.

Little details like that made the book stand out for me. I also liked that the aliens were so mysterious and you never learn anything about them.

I thought it was pretty good, over all.


message 8: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments I had forgotten about that religious part. It is really only the aliens and their constructions that remain in my mind after so many years.


message 9: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3991 comments Mod
My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I liked the story but I'm sure that initially Clark hasn't planned any sequels so I don't plan to read them


message 10: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I liked the story but I'm sure that initially Clark hasn't planned any sequels so I don't plan to read them"


Just started reading it today, been looking forward to reading this novel but from what I gathered, the sequels are not really that much of a deal, so I won't be bothering with those.


message 11: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "What I liked was the fact that the aliens were so strange. The characters in the book never really understood them or their artifacts or motivations, and so we were left to our own imaginations"

Totally agree with what you said. Honestly I am ashamed to have rushed through this novel, it deserved much more pondering than what I managed to give it.

It is a great read though, one of the classics that ages well. Still have about of fourth to go through, will try to add to the discussion once I've finished it.


message 12: by Antti (last edited Jan 16, 2021 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 850 comments Mod
I read this for our Jan 2020 "Read a book you missed when it was MR" theme.

I remember hearing about this book when I was... 12? 13?... and being extremely curious about it - but I couldn't find a copy anywhere. Now, almost three decades later I finally read it.

I'm extremely sorry that that 12-year-old me didn't think to ask my local librarian for help, because a) I'm sure the book could've been acquired and b) I would've absolutely LOVED this book as a kid. It has pretty much everything I would've liked in a book: hard SF, great visuals that are succinctly but vividly described, exploration in an alien vessel, no interpersonal drama (well, unless you count the politicians).

I admire how clear a picture Clarke can draw of the alien ship. Rotating O'Neill cylinder has features that are very unintuitive. Clarke masterfull at the same time emphasises the freaky nature of e.g. indoor sea that can be seen continuing above you - but also describes everything in terms that help you make sense of it all. It's a rare talent - I'm often frustrated by SF writers who describe scenes too sparsely, so that I can't really draw a picture of it in my mind's eye.

I wil add that I read a Finnish translation, and the Finnish title is one of the most misleading I've encountered in a long while: It's called Uhka avaruudesta, which means "A threat from space"!


Kalin | 856 comments Mod
Oof that is definitely a mistitled translation. I read it a couple years ago and in my memory the descriptiveness of this book was wonderful. I kept thinking how much less exploring they would have had to do if they'd just had drones as we do now. All that work to get across the sea in the middle of the ship would've been overcome effortlessly.


back to top