Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

ublished in 1972. Doesn't feel dated at all though. The idea is still relevant. The writing hasn't aged.

Big object floating around in space, turns out to be some huge cylindrical spaceship. 16km wide * 50km long. That's gigantic. This book kept me up all night reading it (took me a few, but I was constantly thinking about it). I just wanted to find out what'd happen. Not going to spoil it though...

When it comes to the "big 3" in sf: Asimov, Heinlen, and Clarke I'd only read Heinlen. Said before that I thought these guys can't really write, it's all about the ideas. If the writing isn't up to standard, you may as well not have any ideas at all. Surely the guy that wrote 2001: Space Odyssey would be able to write unambiguously. He did in this novel anyway.

The aura that the writer manages to create here is complete mystery. It's actually classified as hard sf -- something I thought was technological/science jargon, but this was actually alright when it came to that. Writing wasn't exactly complex is what I'm saying -- Clarke does have a degree in Physics/Engineering as well, but I guess he knew that he can't go insane with that in a book (maybe he did in some?) OK, so the characters aren't exactly great, but that's not the emphases. Just read this and be amazed. There's a huge asteroid-size spaceship that's just entered the solar system for the first time ever. Who needs characterisation?

If you aren't even somewhat intrigued in the way he's orchestrated this, you must be a total scrub. Huge spaceship, first sign of life outside of our planet, what'd go through your mind? Who'd explore, who'd want to know, who'd attack it in the name of defence?

This book was so refreshing for me after reading PKD stuff. Didn't find myself re-reading pages because of weird prose. Was actually a very smooth read. Got it from the library so instead of a cover here are some cool artist interpretations of the interior of Rama

Film student has made this really cool short video on Rama... It's ~3 minutes long.

Rendezvous with Rama - Vancouver Film School (VFS) from Vancouver Film School on Vimeo.

I wanted to find out if sf could be as profound as contemporary/general/classic fiction. It was an experiment. This book has proven that it can be. Maybe 1972 is a little late, but when space is written about this well, it just makes you realise how totally alone we are.

Amazing student created trailer for Rendezvous with Rama

By the way if you don't like me putting embedded videos on my blog, use the Flashblock Firefox extension that will stop them (search for it in extensions). If you have a fairly slow computer a lot of these Flash videos (even though they don't autoplay) might make loading this blog a little slow/resource heavy.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

some interesting insights youve made there, i enjoyed rama as well, im currently up to the third book.