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. 


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


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


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.


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.


References: - Spaceguard - Arthur, the Author - Bibliography, A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama; photo of cover with artists' representation of the starship.