Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Garden of Rama by Arthur C Clarke & Gentry Lee

Rating: 8/10

Published: 1991
Number of pages: 593

Started: 17 April 2008
Finished: 25 April 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge - big enough to contain a city and a sea - and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes.

Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma.

Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it - and who could tell how many years away that might be? - may lie the truth about Rama...

The Garden of Rama is the third book in the Rama series and is the most monumental work yet. I thought it was a great read and it doesn't suffer from a lack of characterisation as many other science fiction novels do. It's largely because of this that you can tell it is more heavily influenced by Gentry Lee than Arthur C Clarke. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. While it has the characterisation, it also lacks a little in Arthur C Clarke's sheer brilliance.

The story spans many years and many adventures and overall is a rollicking good, light read. It was particularly interesting to see how the humans reacted to their new environment onboard Rama and what they made of their chance to begin a new civilisation and avoid the mistakes that mankind has made on Earth. I can't wait to read the final book, Rama Revealed, to find out how it ends.

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