It’s time to take a look at another classic science fiction novel, that currently hasn’t been reviewed on the site – Arthur C. Clarke’s classic “Big Dumb Object” novel – Rendezvous With Rama.
Title: Rendezvous With Rama
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Publication Date: June-August 1973
Available from Amazon.com
After an asteroid spotting agency – SpaceGuard – discovers an artificially created object entering our solar system, which they call “Rama”, a team is sent to board the ship to explore it, find out who built it, and why.
Rama is incredibly well written and described. Frankly, Rama is quite possibly the most fleshed out character in the entire book – even more than Middle Earth and its history is in The Lord of the Rings.
Unfortunately, every other character in the book is a cardboard cutout by comparison. The captain of the Endeavour, the ship sent for the titular Rendezvous, gets some character development, but that’s pretty much it.
Originality: Well, this is not the first work of “Big Dumb Object” Science Fiction (a little research shows that Quartermass and the Pit might be the first). However, I would say that this and Larry Niven’s Ringworld are the ur-examples of the sub-genre. 4/6
Imagery: Clarke paints an incredibly vivid picture of Rama with words. 6/6
Story: The concept is good, and the sections of the story focusing on the exploration of Rama are interesting. However, there is very little actual conflict in the story, and much of what we get feels shoe-horned in. 4/6
Characterization: While the archtypes of the characters in the story are believable, they aren’t necessarily interesting, or in any way fleshed out beyond their archtypes. 2/6
Emotional Response: As a reader, I’m intersted in learning more about Rama, who built it, why, and how it works. However, I do not care in the slightest about the people doing the exploration. 4/6
Overall: This book is widely regarded as a classic of science fiction, and due to its excellent world-building, I’d agree. 5/6.
In total, Rendezvous with Rama gets 31/42.