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The Garden of Rama


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About the Author

Arthur C. Clarke has long been considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time and was an international treasure in many other ways, including the fact that an article by him in 1945 led to the invention of satellite technology. Books by Clarke--both fiction and nonfiction--have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide. He died in 2008.


Trapped aboard the massive Raman spacecraft as it leaves Earth's solar system, three cosmonauts begin a 13-year voyage toward an unkown destination. Combining the best of space adventure (as the spacefarers encounter other life forms within the multi-habitat vessel) with human drama (as children are born and raised in an unearthly environment), this third novel in the Rama cycle asks as many questions as it answers. Recommended, along with Clarke's classic Rendezvous with Rama ( LJ 8/73) and Rama II (Bantam, 1989, coauthored with Lee), for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91

Introduced in Clarke's 1973 Hugo- and Nebula-winning Rendezvous with Rama and most recently seen in Clarke and Lee's Rama II , the massive spacecraft Rama is back, but the luster and sense of wonder generated by its first appearances have eroded. The once-exciting vessel, a ``cylindrical worldlet,'' has been turned into a cheaply painted backdrop for an equally garish exposition of vice-lord politics. When Rama returns to earth and demands a sample of humanity for observation, a lying, corrupt government hands over 2000 citizens. These individuals serve as a microcosm to reflect most of today's big sociological problems, thus implying that in 300 years no existing problems will have been solved nor will any others have been created. Clarke's unmistakable style is sadly lacking. Essentially, the book suffers from an imbalance between what occurs onstage and what offstage. Minor characters are built up with detailed introductions and then generally ignored. Major events, about which reader interest has been piqued, are skipped, then given a one-sentence review. Potentially captivating interactions with aliens and advanced technology are ignored. Readers are advised to give this voyage a miss and wait for Rama's next adventure. (Aug.)

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