Monday, October 1, 2012

Rendezvous with RAMA by Arthur C. Clarke


A starship the size of a large asteroid arrives in Earth's solar system, they call it RAMA . . .

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a British author and one of the grand masters of science fiction, first published Rendezvous with Rama in 1972.  It won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.


Rendezvous with Rama

The first in the RAMA universe, Rendezvous is set in 22nd century.  An alien ship, with a thirty-one mile long cylindrical shape, enters Earth’s solar system.  A group of human explorers intercept and board the ship, a scientific creation that dwarfs anything humans have created, then relate the story to those on Earth.  A genre classic, written in the hard science fiction style.  


Fantastic visions of a superior intelligence lure the humans into the mystery of the starship that seems to be waiting for something.  Perhaps a sampling of the human race?  I preferred this book authored by Clarke alone, to the three follow-up novels authored by Gentry.  I recommend reading Rendezvous with Rama, but be aware that the three subsequent novels do not have the same appeal or science edge as the original novel by Clarke.  The co-authored books did not receive the same awards or recognition as the original book. 

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The following youtube, Rendezvous with RAMA, shows a quick interior of the starship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY2Yt1ATm4c

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Clarke joined with Gentry Lee to write the remainder of the series.  Lee did the actual writing, while Clarke read and made editing suggestions. 


Rama II - 1989
Garden of Rama - 1991
Rama Revealed - 1993

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Interesting Notes:

Clarke invented the space study program "Project Spaceguard", to identify NEOs - near Earth objects - on Earth impact paths.  This is the program that detects Rama in the story, Rendezvous with Rama.

In 1992, a real project Spaceguard was initiated and named after Clarke's fictional device.  After a series of asteroid strike films generated interest, NASA was given authorization and funding to support this program.

In July 1994, the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 to Jupiter increased the perception of importance of tracking NEOs.  Maybe those people who worried about Earth being impacted weren't paranoid alarmists after all.

Other well-known titles by Clarke:  2001-A Space Odyssey, 2010-Odyssey II, The Hammer of God.  The bibliography link below lists novellas and short stories.

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Did you know A. C. Clarke worked closely with NASA? Have you read any of Arthur C. Clarke’s books? Childhood's End was the first I read.  Would you like to explore an empty alien ship?  Please share in the comments.


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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaceguard - Spaceguard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke - Arthur, the Author

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke_bibliography - Bibliography, A. C. Clarke

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_Rama Rendezvous with Rama; photo of cover with artists' representation of the starship.

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44 comments:

  1. I read it some time back, but I remember being very taken by Rama and then very disappointed with the sequels.

    Never really got into ACC, much preferred Asimov and the more fantastical sci-fi writers.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. Exactly, mooderino, the first book was the best. I also preferred Asimov and Herbert, but Clarke did have some great ideas.

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  2. It's been years since I read that book. And no, I didn't know Clarke worked with NASA.

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    1. Clarke working with NASA was one of the reasons I read his books. He did have a degree in math and physics, so that may have been why they respected his knowledge.

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  3. I've never read any of his books. Didn't venture much into sci-fi past Anne McCaffrey.

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    1. I read the Anne McCaffrey books, too, but then I jumped over to space opera and science fiction.

      I would have liked to have a dragon that bonded with me. Almost as good as having a personal flying vehicle.

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  4. "Hard science fiction" does not sound appealing to me.

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    1. It all depends on what we like to read, Tonja. I like a little science with my sci-fi.

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  5. Haven't read any of those. But I do notice how often it happens that a science fiction book will get written with some "crazy" notion in it of the future, and then REAL science comes along and imitates it. :)

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    1. I guess something or someone has to inspire those inventors. Perhaps the scientists read the scifi books to glean ideas?

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  6. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres, and Clarke is definitely one of my fav authors.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Since Clarke was the first scifi author I read, I'm still a fan. I have read all the followup books to 2001, A Space Odyssey, about the Obelisk, Hal and Dave.

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  7. I've read most of Clarke's books. He's one of my favorite writers. 2001 was the first book I read by him.

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    1. 2001, A Space Odyssey got us all thinking more about space and science fiction! But the imagination that created the subsequent novels 2010,2061,3000 is amazing. Glad you're a fan.

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  8. I think most Sci Fi. writers would love to investigate the interior of an alien space ship. But as with ALIEN and PROMETHEUS, it might not be the wisest thing to do. How did the Europeans treat the Native Americans upon arriving on their shores?

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    1. Very true, Roland, most of the Europeans killed the 'wild' natives that they saw, a typical response by 'civilized' peoples of the time.

      But the temptation to explore (remember what Oscar W. said) would be enormous for anyone who likes science or scifi. Thanks for visiting, Roland.

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  9. Sounds like a really cool book, although I haven't read anything by him before.

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    1. Check that bibliography link above. He has written a few novella length books that might give you an idea of his writing. Thanks for visiting.

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  10. I need to read more of this... it really is amazing, truly.

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    1. Trying to imagine the ship RAMA from the book was fun. There are many surprises in store for the explorers.

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  11. oh yeah, i would love to explore one--i find this part of space, fascinating!

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    1. I do too, but I'd want someone covering my back. I saw Prometheus.

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  12. I seriously need to read Clarke one of these days. This one sounds like a good place to start.

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    1. RAMA was one that I liked, Milo. It gives you an idea of the writing of Clarke. His 2001, 2010, 2061, and 3000 are all excellent reads too, and you learn more about the Obelisk, Hal and Dave. If you saw the movie, 2001, start with 2010. Good reading for the winter.

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  13. Sounds fascinating. I haven't read any of those books. What a tribute that a real space project was named after the one in the book!

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    1. Yes, it's very cool when science copies science fiction. There is a purpose to scifi writing - to spark ideas.

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  14. An actress in 2001 said the scene where the thing pops out of the stomach really scared her -- and she was an actress! I had no idea Clarke was a NASA advisor and had a real project named after him. It's certainly a deserving tribute!

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    1. Are you sure this is in 2001? It sounds more like Alien or Prometheus. Anything that's live bursting out of someone's stomach is gross, and parasitic, which is more gross.

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  15. Hi DG - I haven't read any of Clarke's works .. and in fact wasn't interested until blogging came along and opened up new synapses in my brain! I will definitely sometime have a look at Rama ..

    Interesting post ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary, that's what bloggers do sometimes - make you think of things you might not have considered, like a friend might do.

      Hope to hear about your trip in the next few weeks.

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  16. I had no idea he worked with NASA for real! I love when real life projects use a fictional inspiration, such as Spaceguard. I'm definitely more intrigued by his story now than I was before, knowing that he worked with them.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. That's the attraction of fiction. Clarke was a scientist in the real sense of the word. Hope you give his books a try.

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  17. The 22nd century doesn't seem so far away anymore.

    ........dhole

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    1. I wonder if we'll be teleporting then, with or without a personal vehicle?

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  18. I did not know about RAMA or really about Clarke, though I did know about 2001-A Space Odyssey and 2010-Odyssey II. In fact, I remember watching 2010 as part of a New Year's Eve television special 2009-2010. Thank you for the great information!

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    1. Glad to see you here, Julie. I never saw that special you mentioned, I probably would have liked it. Clarke's 2001 series was my fave, since I always wanted to know more about Hal. . .But Rama tests your own sense of imagination.

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  19. Wello, the 22nd century is upon us! You've provided some great info here. Thank you.

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    1. We won't be here, who knows what will be possible a hundred years from now? Clarke was a visionary, so he encourages us to dream.

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  20. This is super interesting. I had no idea. And crazy that we both had an alien/outer space post this month! Great minds think alike, yes? Thanks for this interesting information!

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    1. Same wavelength, the scifi one. I like to believe in humanity's ingenuity. If we could just get past the 'how to'.

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  21. A space ship 31 miles long! Wowsers! I hadn't heard of this book. Thanks for your input and all the interesting facts about its ties to NASA. How cool!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, LNK! I enjoyed the first book. Rama Sure tweaked my imagination.

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  22. Very cool information. I was visiting in Florida last year when they launched for the last time. i just missed it amoung the clouds but could see the trail.

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  23. I have never read that book. It sounds like a good one, though.

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