Read by Peter Ganim
Original novel winner of the following awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1974), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1973), Locus Award for Best Novel (1974), British Science Fiction Association Award for Novel (1974), Jupiter Award for Best Novel (1974), Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel (1980), John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1974)
Synopsis: At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind’s first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams…and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits – just behind a Raman airlock door. Includes an exclusive introduction by Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer
I listened to this during the first week of December 2013. Roughly forty years after Clarke published the original, now classic, hard science fiction novel Rendezvous with Rama. I found myself wishing someone had turned this novel into a movie, especially after recently watching Gravity at the movie theatre. It felt almost like a documentary, rather than fiction. I got swept up in the adventure, the exploration and stayed up late or got up early to continue listening to it.
Clarke placed this story about 200 years in our future (now 160 years), but his ‘vision’ of technology is decidedly late-20th century, at least as respects the human explorers. Raman technology intrigued, and continues to intrigue, me. With all the hype in the news now about drone technology (military, civil and consumer), much of the mystery of the southern continent of Rama could have been explored with less difficulty, albeit less dramatically as well, and 3D rendered easily by today’s tech
My biggest disappointment arose from Clarke’s attempts at future human sexual interactions. I wish he’d just left his feeble attempts at sex completely out of the story. Some of the explorers were women and scientists, but I would have been completely happy not knowing anyone’s gender. Just the facts, even if their fictional, please. I hated the epilogue because it reduced an otherwise commendable female scientist to the male commander’s plaything (said commander already having two wives and several children on two different planets … Groan!).
I didn’t care for the narrator’s reading style. He had a couple of good voice characterizations, but for the most part he read them in a monotone. At times, it detracted from my enjoyment and concentration.
Despite those couple of quibbles, I found Rendezvous with Rama to be an excellent read (or listen as in this case). This was my first Arthur C. Clarke novel, but it won’t be my last.
GR Status Updates: