Rendezvous With Rama, published in 1972, is one of Arthur C Clarke’s most famous works after 2001 A Space Odyssey, and begins his tale with a meteorite hitting the Earth in 2077, decimating the cities of Padua, Verona and Venice in northern Italy. This prompts the creation of SPACEGUARD for the monitoring of objects in space, with the aim of preventing such an atrocity happening again.
All’s quiet for many years, with humankind tracking thousands of asteroids and expanding its reach with colonies established on other planets and moons, until in 2130 a huge object is tracked entering the solar system. Named Rama, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, this object is a giant cylinder 54km long, travelling from outer space at 100,000km an hour. With only a short time period before the object swings past the Sun, a spacecraft is launched to rendezvous with Rama to find out its purpose and what, if anything, is on board.
This book is astounding – one of, if not the, best science fiction book I have read. You follow the spaceship Endeavour’s crew as they land on the alien craft and make their way inside to come face to face with an incredible, unexplainable terrain of cities and walkways and a giant frozen circular sea, which forms a band around the middle of the craft. There are a whole range of dangers as the craft heads nearer to the Sun and it’s a race against time for the small crew to make sense of something that human kind has never before experienced. Who made it? Will it attack Earth? Where did it come from? The great thing about this book is that although we are given descriptions of the whole ship, and many guesses as to what its purpose might be, you never really find out. I think that, as well as the ability to convey not just the sheer scale of both Rama, the solar system and technological advances in place, but also the emotions and actions of a small group of ordinary people doing something extraordinary and extremely dangerous, makes it such a fantastic story.
I highly recommend.
Review by Cat Fitzpatrick
1 positive reader review(s) for Rendezvous With Rama
Michael from Australia
Great read. World building at its best and leaves us with more questions than answers leaving us wanting more.
10/10 from 2 reviews