Fiction Reviews

Rama Revealed

(1993) Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee, 4.99, pbk, pp. ISBN


Rama Revealed is the final book in a trilogy of sequels to Clarke's 1973 novel Rendezvous with Rama. So far none of the sequels, written in collaboration with Gentry Lee, have been up to much. This final one tells the story of a human colony on board a Rama spacecraft heading for the star Tau Ceti. The human colony has become a savage dictatorship currently waging war against another species called the Octospiders. However, a small group of humans have made contact with the aliens and found them to be peace-loving.

The conflict is finally brought to a halt by the Rama builders themselves. The entire population is put into suspended animation, only to be revived when the craft reaches one of the Rama's bases. It's here that everything is revealed: we discover the origins of the Ramans and their plans.

Since the publication of Rama II I have had the impression that most of the work in these books was done by Gentry Lee. They don't have the feel of a Clarke novel. There's a preoccupation with Theology that runs right through these books. Characters are forever discussing the existence of God, and pointing out that he must exist because of this or that. Some of the human characters owe more to Robert Heinlein than Arthur C. Clarke. Too many of them think that being stubborn or awkward is the same as being intelligent.

To be honest, I found this book boring. About half-way through I was going to give up reading it, but I didn't. I wanted to know the secret of the Ramans, and when I finally did, I was totally disappointed. I don't want to give the game away; but God has a lot to do with it.

Rendezvous with Rama is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it; but don't waste your time with any of the sequels.

Jason Jarvis

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