Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (unabridged audiobook read by Peter Ganim; 9 hrs on 8 discs): An unidentified celestial object, dubbed Rama by astronomers, is thought to be a comet as it approaches the solar system. When it is discovered that the object is cylindrical and very clearly artificial, a crew is dispatched to check it out. Like much hard SF, this book is more about ideas than story or characters. Some of the “future morality” – polygamy, shared spouses – felt kind of thrown in, whether for shock value or just “hey look how different society is now” I don’t know. It didn’t add anything to the story, but it didn’t really detract either. It just seemed extraneous. Still, the focus of the novel remained on Rama, as it should. I had a very difficult time wrapping my head around the geography of Rama, but I found much of the science – the gravity, the strange weather systems, the critters – quite compelling. If you like hard SF, well, you’ve probably already read this one. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to it, but I’m glad I did. It’s certainly quite the thought experiment.

A note on the audio: Despite his often engaging character voices, Ganim’s regular narration was pretty dull.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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