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Rama Revealed

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Rama Revealed (1993) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. It is the last of three sequels to Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama by these authors. The book picks up the story immediately after the end of The Garden of Rama. The book follows the story of Nicole Wakefield and her escape from imprisonment left at the cliffhanger of the previous book.


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Rama Revealed (1993) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. It is the last of three sequels to Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama by these authors. The book picks up the story immediately after the end of The Garden of Rama. The book follows the story of Nicole Wakefield and her escape from imprisonment left at the cliffhanger of the previous book.

30 review for Rama Revealed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Read the first book in this series and don't waste your time with the rest. This fourth in the series was a slog from beginning to end, with lots of lame dialogue, pointless detail that never goes anywhere, and a disappointing ending. I wish I'd just left it at Rendezvous with Rama, which is vintage Arthur C. Clarke. (That book is worth 20 of these sequels!) Lesson Learned: Never trust a book with more than one author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Luis Peres

    Along with garden of rama, this conclusion to the story , rama revealed is definetly my all time favorite science fiction saga ever. Even despite some uninteresting soap opera stuff at the begining, the finall 200 pages of this conclusion are the most satisfying conclusion i ever read to a space saga ever. This book ended and nicole des jardins stuck in my mind for months on end. Everytime i think of good scifi i remember the ending of this story. Not only garden of rama and this conclusion rama r Along with garden of rama, this conclusion to the story , rama revealed is definetly my all time favorite science fiction saga ever. Even despite some uninteresting soap opera stuff at the begining, the finall 200 pages of this conclusion are the most satisfying conclusion i ever read to a space saga ever. This book ended and nicole des jardins stuck in my mind for months on end. Everytime i think of good scifi i remember the ending of this story. Not only garden of rama and this conclusion rama revealed are incredibly imaginative and totally epic in scope and detail, but all is grounded in unforgetable characters that i loved to accompany till the very end. Rama revealed has some imaginative concepts for a technologic "god"if you want to call it that, while at the same time keeps everything grounded in rhe humanity of the characters. The rama series are the best spaçe adventure i ever read. I loved the sense of exploration, the hight tech lost world mysteries, not knowing what could happen next and always be rewarded by arthur clarke with more imaginative stuff ahead. And more, and more, and more. If you like books where you feel you're one of the explorers steping into an alien and fantasy book, then this is or you. The story is imaginative and does not waste any time pretending to act as a in your face political metaphore or something like. The rama series is pure mystery and imagination with great chatacters and an incredible epic ending. Instead of using a scifi story to be just a background for a plot that could have been set in any type of novel , genre or enviroment, arthur larke creates a story that wouldnt be the same if it was not just about exploring an alien giant spaceship. The focus here, was really the exploration and arthur clarke really did a magnificent work in taking the reader step by step into that imaginary space world wich is as a good and detailed as anything you ever read in fantasy. I keep wishing that someone takes these books to be adapted to cinema as good as peter jackon did with the tolkien material so far. In fact...peter jackson, if you're reading this...get this rama book series now please ! ;) Rama revealed is an extraordinary conclusion. The only thing similar that can compare to the scale of imagination in this final volume is the works of olaf stapledon, particulary the book, last and first men, which tell the story of humanity over a period of a bilion years. Arthur larke wrote a forward for one of the editions , and its clear that the rama novels were very much inspired in the best sense by olaf stapleon work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    The direction of the fourth installment changed again. I'm pretty torn between 3 and 4 stars, but it's closer to the upper rating, so I think I'll settle for 4 stars. All else - spoiler alert. (view spoiler)[ I'm highly unsure what to think of this series. My heart broke during the last book, but not because of some outstanding SF qualities of the story, but rather the particular story of one character - Nicole des Jardins, a woman who has had to leave children behind on other planets and space s The direction of the fourth installment changed again. I'm pretty torn between 3 and 4 stars, but it's closer to the upper rating, so I think I'll settle for 4 stars. All else - spoiler alert. (view spoiler)[ I'm highly unsure what to think of this series. My heart broke during the last book, but not because of some outstanding SF qualities of the story, but rather the particular story of one character - Nicole des Jardins, a woman who has had to leave children behind on other planets and space ships, has had to watch a daughter commit suicide as well as the love of her life die a painful death whilst being assassinated, and has slept for many years of her life in a special trance, waking up 12 or 16 years older, having to eventually face the frail, dying body of an 80 year old woman, being told that she only has 10 days left to live... Out of all the characters of the book, of which some annoyed me and some didn't arouse any particular emotion, I think Nicole was pretty damn well written. As a woman, I can definitely identify with her fears and pains, and just imagining what her heart had to go trough was difficult, as a reader. Out of all the episodes, especially with the moment she lost Richard I had the hardest time. And then, through to the end of the book, whilst she was reminiscing about her life, I kept thinking that I myself am getting older and dying by the second, and I must admit I felt uneasy ... which is not something that happens on the usual. The fourth installment was at times very annoying. Even though it's SF, it seemed to lose itself in so much unnecessary detail about the octospiders' lives and their digestive tracks (just to mention one section of the book that absolutely bored me to death). I can fully appreciate the imagination of a writer who is so involved in his story that he has developed graphs for the biology of a non-existent alien species, but maybe cutting it short from time to time would've been a better idea, because instead of helping with sensory build up until the action reached the climax, I found myself desperately wanting to skip said pages and just move on. Sure, at the times the story is stretched reeaaaaaaally thin in order to accommodate more action and more characters and definitely more emotional drama, but almost never does it seem truly out of the reach of the reader's imagination. At least not my imagination. Alas, there's no clearly drawn boundary to what a reader can accept in terms of fiction, so if the author is capable of playing with it, bending it after his will - then maybe that's a very good author. One thing that I really like was that the love story between Nicole and Richard didn't reach the cheesy point anywhere over four books. In her last hours of life, she says that she had talked with Richard before of what they'd do before they die, and there were two possible answers: make love to each other, or learn something new and experience the thrill of discovery one last time. I think that's a beautiful idea. The last pages of the book are harrowing, honestly. Nicole was dying and I was dying with her. I rarely feel that sad with regards to something that is not real, but in this case I felt the need to tell someone that I love them, to remind someone that I'll always be there for them. Out of all the books, I consider this ending passage to be the best writing Clarke did in this series. (hide spoiler)] After all that I've written in the spoiler section, it's clear to me that I'll give a solid 4 star rating for the entire series and a strong recommendation to all SF lovers and other readers out there to tackle it. It's worth it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim McDonnell

    (Review applies to 'Rama II, Rama Returns', Rama Revealed', but NOT 'Rendezvous With Rama') In brief, longer review to follow: FUCKING AWFUL. Do not read. Terrible shame, the collaboration with Gentry 'What A Pitiful Hack Writer' Lee has really dragged the original Rama down.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Eh. The first book of the series was nice, short and sweet and left me wanting more. The second book (Rama II) had some really interesting characters and settings. [return][return]However, Gardens of Rama and this book both felt long and fell short of expectations. There were some interesting parts, but it felt like it was rushed and not edited heavily enough. There also were a number of loose threads that just never really felt explained. (Was the orange Avian a clone? Did the octospiders alrea Eh. The first book of the series was nice, short and sweet and left me wanting more. The second book (Rama II) had some really interesting characters and settings. [return][return]However, Gardens of Rama and this book both felt long and fell short of expectations. There were some interesting parts, but it felt like it was rushed and not edited heavily enough. There also were a number of loose threads that just never really felt explained. (Was the orange Avian a clone? Did the octospiders already collect them? Why were there humans in the zoo? Which was the species in danger of extinction (Humans? Sessiles?) [return][return]The occurrences on the colonies also felt like a bit of a forced morality play.[return][return]Enough compelling stuff that I kept reading, but I'm not really sure why. Some good characters, some boring ones. A nice feel of the main character getting older and older, which reminded me a bit of some older classics like Les Misérables.[return][return]I'd probably had liked this book more if I had been younger perhaps.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Todd Martin

    Rama Revealed is the disappointing conclusion to a disappointing series. According to Wiki: “Rendezvous With Rama was written in 1972 and Clarke had no intention of writing a sequel. Lee attempted to turn the Rama series into a more character-driven story following the adventures of Nicole des Jardins Wakefield, who becomes the main character in Rama II, The Garden of Rama and Rama Revealed. When asked, Arthur C. Clarke said that Gentry Lee did the writing while he was a source of ideas.” This cou Rama Revealed is the disappointing conclusion to a disappointing series. According to Wiki: “Rendezvous With Rama was written in 1972 and Clarke had no intention of writing a sequel. Lee attempted to turn the Rama series into a more character-driven story following the adventures of Nicole des Jardins Wakefield, who becomes the main character in Rama II, The Garden of Rama and Rama Revealed. When asked, Arthur C. Clarke said that Gentry Lee did the writing while he was a source of ideas.” This could very well explain why all the books, with the exception of the first, are terrible. Why Clarke would lend his name to the project is a mystery. Wiki also has some pointed criticisms regarding Lee’s writing ability (or perhaps, ‘lack of’ ability). I’ll also add one critique of my own … when referring to someone from Japan you should really refer to them as “Asian” not “Oriental”.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    So, four years after my first attempt, I've finally finished the Rama series. This book, the fourth and final one in the quadrilogy, is not the worst of the batch. But then being better than the unmitigated drivel that was The Garden of Rama is not a particularly trying task. Despite my misgivings that all the important things about Rama had been "revealed" in this book's predecessor, we do in fact find out who created Rama and its related infrastructure, and why. It's an answer that I feel shoul So, four years after my first attempt, I've finally finished the Rama series. This book, the fourth and final one in the quadrilogy, is not the worst of the batch. But then being better than the unmitigated drivel that was The Garden of Rama is not a particularly trying task. Despite my misgivings that all the important things about Rama had been "revealed" in this book's predecessor, we do in fact find out who created Rama and its related infrastructure, and why. It's an answer that I feel should be powerful and thought provoking, but it's thrown out there by an unreliable figure, and then confirmed later by someone more reliable who also admits he might be wrong. Certainly, the answer seems like an attempt to make the series seem more profound, but instead serves to trivialise life, religion, and our Universe as a whole frankly. The philosophical antics only arrive at the very end of the book, though. For the most part it's a dummy's guide to the biology and culture of the octospiders from Rama II. This in itself is mildly interesting but doesn't really warrant the four hundred pages that it takes up. After that there's a lot of complaints about being old and then the last philosophical twenty pages. The last section just saves the book but I still wouldn't readily recommend it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex Shrugged

    Rama Revealed is the last book in this series and it couldn't have come sooner. Only my loyalty to Arthur C. Clarke carried me this far. It really wasn't worth it but for classic science fiction I suppose I had to do it. The first novel, "Rendezvous with Rama", is excellent. A space craft comes zooming into the solar system, answering the question "Are we alone?" but adds an additional question, "Does anyone care?" In typical Clarke fashion, the author takes us through what might happen if we on Rama Revealed is the last book in this series and it couldn't have come sooner. Only my loyalty to Arthur C. Clarke carried me this far. It really wasn't worth it but for classic science fiction I suppose I had to do it. The first novel, "Rendezvous with Rama", is excellent. A space craft comes zooming into the solar system, answering the question "Are we alone?" but adds an additional question, "Does anyone care?" In typical Clarke fashion, the author takes us through what might happen if we only had a few days to explore a spacecraft that is clearly not interested in us and will be leaving very soon. The second book, "Rama II" was OK. It tells us what happened to the characters in the first book and the original spacecraft. The third book, "The Garden of Rama", sucked. It was a bridge between Rama II and Rama Revealed. It should have been half as long. The final novel, "Rama Revealed" is better but it has a lack-luster ending. So... I suggest reading the first novel and letting it go at that. That one was good. They should have stopped while they were ahead.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    I feel this and the other Rama books series except the first one are more like fan fiction. Although fan fiction is not necessarily a bad thing, in the case of this series it went quite wrong. I did not liked any of the original Rama follow-up novel. I cannot think of any of them more than a simple sci-fi pop novel trying to capitalize on a earlier big sales hit. They keep the same types of schematically characters and infantile conflicts. It simply did not managed to win my sympathy, neither wi I feel this and the other Rama books series except the first one are more like fan fiction. Although fan fiction is not necessarily a bad thing, in the case of this series it went quite wrong. I did not liked any of the original Rama follow-up novel. I cannot think of any of them more than a simple sci-fi pop novel trying to capitalize on a earlier big sales hit. They keep the same types of schematically characters and infantile conflicts. It simply did not managed to win my sympathy, neither with the final part when the overall Rama secret is revealed. As I stated elsewhere, all readers of this review that plan to read this book please note that all of the above is my opinion only and as with any opinion, this is highly subjective . So please consider that for you it might not be true what I said in the above paragraph.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jp Born

    Extremely disappointed in basically all the sequels. I read Return to Rama a few weeks ago, and should have stopped there. I would have been fine with the unresolved ending of the book if the others didn't exist, it's really a perfect, succinctly written sparse perfect mystery that really should never have even attempted to be resolved. These last two books are terrible, I never liked the characters, agree with some reviewer who said that Nicole just started to bore me after so long. The thing t Extremely disappointed in basically all the sequels. I read Return to Rama a few weeks ago, and should have stopped there. I would have been fine with the unresolved ending of the book if the others didn't exist, it's really a perfect, succinctly written sparse perfect mystery that really should never have even attempted to be resolved. These last two books are terrible, I never liked the characters, agree with some reviewer who said that Nicole just started to bore me after so long. The thing that is the worst is that the characters and the view of "human" psychology is extremely negative and dystopic, from the greed and avarice of those in the first novel to the hatred, warlike, not to mention horrible lack of curiosity about their environment, of those in the second novel, to the utter disgusting xenophobia of those in the last novel...not to mention the God stuff at the end of this novel. Oh and if you expect some sort of revelation about the nature of Rama, forget it, complete and utter abstraction tied with the origins of the universe, just such a cop-out. I almost expected there to be some little Wizard of Oz like guy in the Knowledge Center at the end, fiddling with all the controls haha...that would have been great. As someone mentioned so many unexplained things, the absolute main one and this goes back to the negative representation of human psychology is that the Earth leaders would not send the absolute best and brightest to go to Rama in book 3 rather than a bunch of convicts. What a waste of hours although I fairly skimmed through the second and third book except certain parts, like the end. I did like the sissile stuff about implanting memories and reading memories etc, especially when it first happened to Richard, but not sure if that was a cliche when this was first written or someone had already done that better...it seems like it must be a trope that is played out. In other words, not sure if that is original, implanting memories and data on the human mind like a computer, etc...like watching a film. Did Clarke really write this or the other guy? After the drivel of these last, I am hesitant to pick up any of his other novels, despite the brilliance of the first one. Ok, that's it...on to much better things.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Devon

    Ugh. I should have put this series down after book #2. IMHO, Clarke's biggest flaw is his tendency to spend way too much time describing alien minutia that are not interesting or important. Also, the main character has really worn out her welcome. I'm just tired of her. Not a good sign when you're hoping the hero gets pulled out an airlock so the story can just end faster. I don't know why I finished it. Maybe I was hoping for some interesting overarching idea of the alien "Ramans", but it was si Ugh. I should have put this series down after book #2. IMHO, Clarke's biggest flaw is his tendency to spend way too much time describing alien minutia that are not interesting or important. Also, the main character has really worn out her welcome. I'm just tired of her. Not a good sign when you're hoping the hero gets pulled out an airlock so the story can just end faster. I don't know why I finished it. Maybe I was hoping for some interesting overarching idea of the alien "Ramans", but it was silly stuff about them being all-powerful-do-gooders and not very believable or exciting. The only conflict is in humanity's general inability to move beyond trivial infighting...that's not plot conflict, that's just a depressing self-indictment of mankind.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    The series started out with such a fascinating premise but it all ended with sex, violence, corruption and misunderstandings. I guess that's the message of the series: humans will always screw up Eden. Bummer!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book felt mostly like it was just working towards an inevitability. It did serve to provide some closure to the series, and (perhaps more importantly) gave us some precious insight into the alien cultures, but it doesn't have the driving mystery of the first or the strong character interactions of the second and third. I'm not sure what it is about hard science fiction series that makes them peter out the longer they go on, but it's certainly something. Longer series have difficulty keeping This book felt mostly like it was just working towards an inevitability. It did serve to provide some closure to the series, and (perhaps more importantly) gave us some precious insight into the alien cultures, but it doesn't have the driving mystery of the first or the strong character interactions of the second and third. I'm not sure what it is about hard science fiction series that makes them peter out the longer they go on, but it's certainly something. Longer series have difficulty keeping me entertained, and perhaps that's just me placing a greater burden on the later books due to the expectations set by the first couple, but I don't think I'm alone in doing this for series. At any rate, like Clarke's other series, this one slows down more with each additional book, and here is the point where the train finally slides into the station. It's definitely good enough that I wouldn't tell you to abandon the series before getting here, but there won't be many surprises. My apologies.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Armineh Nouri

    I recommend reading the first installment of the tetralogy as highly as I recommend stopping right there. Though I can't say I regret finishing the series, it was indeed a painful experience to see the wonderful concept introduced by Rendezvous stretch into a flimsy and disengaging tale which drags on far more than its dramatic substance can afford to. For me the main weakness of the second to fourth books was the authors' obsessive engagement with characters as opposed to Rendezvous' somewhat s I recommend reading the first installment of the tetralogy as highly as I recommend stopping right there. Though I can't say I regret finishing the series, it was indeed a painful experience to see the wonderful concept introduced by Rendezvous stretch into a flimsy and disengaging tale which drags on far more than its dramatic substance can afford to. For me the main weakness of the second to fourth books was the authors' obsessive engagement with characters as opposed to Rendezvous' somewhat sober, hard-sci tone. To use a motion picture analogy, if you consider the first book to be a serious feature drama, then the other three are average-quality soap operas.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    I liked this end to this series better than the book before it. There is some interesting stuff about the structure of an alien society in here built on speculation about the future of genetic engineering. The part where Rama is revealed is pretty nifty and philosophical, too. Thankfully, there were much fewer flashbacks, but the book/series could have used stronger secondary characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dramaturgy

    Worth it to the end. Awe-inspiring, rich with multifaceted scientific speculation, imbued with all the fine ingredients of great literature. Give yourself time to end this book. Avoid distractions. The last chapters are best taken in while alone, with a nice cup of tea, and a box of kleenex.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Contrary to the belief of many hardcore science fiction fans, character development is important to the telling of a good story. As much as you need a compelling story, you need compelling characters to live out the story. The genre of “true” or “hard” science fiction tends to be very much event-driven and technology-driven, but there is certainly room for characters with meaningful backgrounds to pull in the reader. When science fiction authors either don’t know how to develop characters or don Contrary to the belief of many hardcore science fiction fans, character development is important to the telling of a good story. As much as you need a compelling story, you need compelling characters to live out the story. The genre of “true” or “hard” science fiction tends to be very much event-driven and technology-driven, but there is certainly room for characters with meaningful backgrounds to pull in the reader. When science fiction authors either don’t know how to develop characters or don’t believe in it, the result is a sterile story that doesn’t draw the reader in. As long as the events and the technology are spectacular enough, you can overlook the fact that the story is fundamentally unbalanced, but ultimately the reader is left empty, feeling as no real people participated in the story. In my opinion, this lack of character development is one of Mr. Clarke’s few drawbacks, and it is apparent in the original Rendezvous with Rama, the story of humanity’s first encounter with extraterrestrial intelligence, in the form of a mysterious and apparently derelict alien spacecraft. That story is short, written in Clarke’s clean, spare style, rich with visual descriptions and technical detail, but virtually devoid of human interest—and by human interest, I mean the complexities that make humans interesting. The characters have only the most cursory background, and their motivations are either simplistic or never fully explained. They are like ants crawling on the surface of the story, and they’re about as significant as ants. In a story this short and this full of spectacular events and technology, the flaw is easily forgiven, but there is no question it’s still a fundamental flaw… one that has been repeated over and over again by science fiction authors who don’t understand that you can’t have a truly great story of any genre without compelling characters. While I think the original Rendezvous with Rama is still very good, it’s not truly great, due to this flaw. Possibly it could be considered great among science fiction stories, because this problem is so endemic in the genre, but as a pure story, it’s not great. Sorry to all you incensed Clarke fans. I’m certainly not saying all SF authors do this-- a certain Kim Stanley Robinson comes to mind—but there’s no doubt it’s a common problem, perhaps connected the prominent role of the short story in the development of the genre. I'm also not saying I didn't like Rendezvous-- I did, I just think it's lacking in certain areas. Clarke also committed my pet peeve about male authors—the few female characters are always given at least a brief physical description, and it’s generally geared to whether or not she’s sexually attractive, but the male characters remain physically anonymous. We have no idea whether Commander Norton, the nominal main character, is tall, short, thin, muscular, blond, dark—nothing. It doesn’t matter really, because there’s no question that Rama itself is the main character of this book and the humans exploring it are almost incidental. All this is really background to my real reason for writing this review of the final book in the series, and really of the series as a whole—to illustrate the contrasts between the first book in this series, written solely by Clarke in 1973 as a stand-alone novel, and the three sequels, Rama II, Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed, co-authored with NASA engineer Gentry Lee in the early 90’s. For an engineer, Lee brings a surprising amount of purely human baggage into the picture. His storytelling is as dense, murky, and full of life as Clarke’s is spare and sterile. Whether this is good or bad depends on the reader. A number of other reviewers have moaned and groaned about how bad it is and even described it as a “monstrosity.” Sorry, guys. Humans are messy and they screw things up. I happen to like them anyway. There is no question that the Rama trilogy (and by this I mean the three books co-authored by Lee) is a story about people. In some respects, it could be considered almost a biography of the main character, Nicole des Jardins, who spends a significant chunk of her life aboard Rama as it leaves Earth’s solar system, and gives birth to five children there. It wouldn’t hurt to subtitle it, “The Adventures of Nicole des Jardins.” In fact, I wonder whether some of the problems male readers have with these books stems from difficulty identifying with the female main character, whose central concerns for much of her life are her children. I personally loved her and was impressed with Lee’s ability to write a remarkable, yet eminently believable woman who is prophesied to “scatter her progeny even unto the stars.” The reader gets to know Nicole from the inside out, and the bond created between reader and character breathes life into the still-amazing events and technology and makes it more real to the audience. Science fiction authors, take note-- I know this character and I care about what happens to her. Science fiction fans, take note-- if you don’t feel like getting to know a given character on a personal level and you just want to read about spectacular places and events without any messy human interaction, you will probably find these books a boring slog regularly punctuated by short episodes of excitement. These books are also a fascinating (if alternately depressing and uplifting) commentary on the nature of humanity and humanity’s potential place in the universe. Another critical difference between Clarke and Lee is their vision of both human nature and the future, which could be considered the same thing, as one grows out of the other. Although I haven’t read enough of Clarke’s work to make the statement categorically, it seems fairly clear to me that he ascribes to the Star Trek school of thought-- everything is rosy, and humanity has risen up in intellectual glory and mostly conquered its demons. I believe this grows out of his view as humanity as a species well on the way to Enlightenment, and making considerable progress every decade. In contrast, Lee’s “gritty cynicism” worldview dominates much of the background and the middle part of the story, in which the most base and regrettable characteristics of humanity are showcased again and again as the human colony gradually destroys the paradise that was created for them. Greed, suspicion, xenophobia, violence, drug addiction, political maneuvering, prejudice—all are laid bare in the glaring light of Rama. Lee ultimately characterizes humanity as a species only a few steps away from the primordial sea of Earth, and still (perhaps forever) mired in its primitive instincts. What keeps the story from being a complete downer is the tension between the main characters, who represent all that is good, noble, and intellectual about humanity, and the other colonists, as the main characters try to stop the colonists from making a fatal mistake. Add Clarke’s knack for capturing the continuing thrill of discovery, and there is plenty of adventure and excitement in addition to well-developed characters. Although Lee's vision and writing dominate the story, Clarke's touch is still evident. Two of things I admire most about Clarke are his incomparable imagination for world-building, and his insistence on rigorous application of real science, without making it too inaccessible to the lay reader. If the writing is somewhat discontinuous in time, it’s forgivable in that the story covers roughly fifty or so years of Earth time—although Earth time is a bit moot, since the characters are traveling at significant fractions of the speed of light. However, the use of viewpoint changes and different writing styles can be jarring as we move from historical overview to Nicole’s personal journal to clinical reports transmitted from the Rama spacecraft to the intelligence that created it. Ultimately, the story reaches a conclusion that is presented in an overtly religious manner, and as an atheist I’m usually turned off by that. But again, the thrill of discovery was just too much for me, and I loved it anyway, as the nature of the universe was revealed (in a sort of opaque way that is open to interpretation). The story carries strong undercurrents of theology and mysticism, and contains many passages devoted to a new branch of Catholicism and to Nicole’s prophetic dreams and premonitions. This story made me laugh and cry, which is a rare thing for a science fiction story. It also made me shake my head sadly at the idiocy that can be humanity. At times, it is depressing, almost so depressing that it can be hard to get through, as we are forced to watch the machinations of a power-hungry crime lord tear the space-faring colony apart. But at the end of Nicole’s life, we are left most with a sense of wonder and nostalgia for a life fully lived. Most of all, it made me look up at the stars and wonder anew what’s out there, and will we ever meet it? If we do, what will they think of us? I must add that I chortled aloud at the small but obvious allusion to Douglas Adams when after a major cosmic revelation, one of the characters wonders, Is the meaning of life no longer 42?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katrine Austin

    Plowed through this series in high school, loved it, quite memorable. Almost enough to maybe go back and re-read these! (Or...maybe just the finale.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    prcardi

    Storyline: 2/5 Characters: 2/5 Writing Style: 2/5 World: 2/5 Finished. Done. Complete. All over. No more Rama. It is satisfying to complete a series, but this book made completion a trial. (view spoiler)[ I can better explain what this book contributed by looking at the whole series: Rama I had wonder. As you were reading it, and as it finished, you knew there were great mysteries and answers just out of reach and you wanted to know more. Apparently (due to some quick Wikipedia reading) Clarke origi Storyline: 2/5 Characters: 2/5 Writing Style: 2/5 World: 2/5 Finished. Done. Complete. All over. No more Rama. It is satisfying to complete a series, but this book made completion a trial. (view spoiler)[ I can better explain what this book contributed by looking at the whole series: Rama I had wonder. As you were reading it, and as it finished, you knew there were great mysteries and answers just out of reach and you wanted to know more. Apparently (due to some quick Wikipedia reading) Clarke originally intended to let Rama end there. The lesson would have been that although humanity just experienced an amazing extraterrestrial event, we didn't really get any solid answers to any of our big questions. It was a sobering thought and point; it runs against so much science fiction that suggests that exploration will give us the answers we seek. Sixteen years later, Clarke teams up with NASA scientist Gentry Lee and over the next four years three more novels are added to the series. The Rama I fan, of course, is elated because even though we can act mature and accept Clarke's original point about the limitations of knowledge, we really do want to know more. So we read on to find out more about Rama. Only, Rama II doesn't offer much new to the Rama story. It is essentially Rama I rewritten with extensive character development and interpersonal drama. "Okay" says the Rama I fan; Gentry just needed some time to warm up. So we read Rama III. The third Rama gives us a few tidbits of knowledge on Rama and the Ramans, but the story is really a pointed sideshow illustrating how barbaric human society would be perceived by alien intelligences. Fine, interesting point. But Mr. (Dr.?) Gentry, we really are just reading to find out about Rama.... So, the foolhardy among us read Rama IV to get answers to those lingering questions from Rama I. The first 2/3 of this novel are spent wrapping up the political dramas built up and left as a cliff-hanger in Rama III. It wasn't until somewhere around page 550 (out of 624) that Gentry squarely turns to the topic we'd all been holding out for. And I liked those last 75 pages. I really did. They weren't great, but they approached the quality and instilled a fascination similar to that experienced in the original Rama. It wasn't wonderful; it is not something I'll forever remember. But it was a reasonable, entertaining, and largely rewarding conclusion to the story of Rama I. To summarize: You read 243 pages of Rama I and then 1,550 pages before Gentry reconnects with the primary tale of interest for 74 pages. (To be fair, there is a chapter or two in Rama III that does a little of this as well - so somewhere in those 1,550 pages are a relevant 50 pages). So 367 pages on the main event and 1,500 pages of undercards. (hide spoiler)] One of the great misfortunes of the story remains that our central characters are scientists in name only; they never behave as methodical seekers of knowledge. Much of Rama IV seems to be a dump of semi-interesting thoughts and quasi-philosophical ideas Gentry has gathered over a lifetime. There's no real attempt to organize them or explore them in any artistic, systematic, or convincing manner. It is a fairly good book about the alien, however. If you are one to revel in the knowledge of and differences in the extraterrestrial, then both book III and book IV hold real promise for you. The last 75 pages made me wonder if Clarke stepped in and took over the ending. There was real merit in the end. If you've read Rama I, II, and III already, then you might as well buckle in and let yourself get carried away with Rama IV. At the end, you too might find it difficult to decide if it was all worth it. If you've only read Rama I and you're looking ahead to see if it is worth the effort to finish the story.... I really don't know. I like to make up my own opinion, and I ignored the warnings to cease and desist from Rama. I do find that I am more satisfied than I was at the end of Rama I. When I think about the page count and the hours spent on those pages, I turn aside before I complete the evaluation of whether or not it was worth it. I'm satisfied; let's leave it at that.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Halvor (Raknes)

    The conclusion of this series was a real disappointment. Reading the Acknowledgements following the book's ending I get some perspective on why that is. Apparently the authors haven't had enough ideas about what to write about in this final installment of the Rama series so they have asked readers for suggestions. The attempts at providing a cosmology and a deeper perspective on "God" were extremely weak and flawed. Psychological perspectives remain unconvincing. Ontological discussions which co The conclusion of this series was a real disappointment. Reading the Acknowledgements following the book's ending I get some perspective on why that is. Apparently the authors haven't had enough ideas about what to write about in this final installment of the Rama series so they have asked readers for suggestions. The attempts at providing a cosmology and a deeper perspective on "God" were extremely weak and flawed. Psychological perspectives remain unconvincing. Ontological discussions which could have been abundantly present are completely missing. And I really object to the stereotyping of the "xenophobes" among the humans onboard Rama in the end, the authors clearly denigrating regular people for not being "open-minded" towards mingling with and "learning about" random intelligent (and not so intelligent) alien species. Especially considering that what these people originally signed up for was to establish a human colony on Mars. This reminds me very much of the globalist elites today attempting to brainwash the populace of the West into embracing mass migration and multiculturalism.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denis

    I wonder what it would have been like for the original fans of this series, waiting two or so years for the next instalment to be released. I had the luxury of binge reading it. It felt as if it had been written all at once. The narrative continues seamlessly throughout the three volumes. There is a definite difference in tone and style between Clarke's original and these three Gentry Lee penned sequels. There were some decent moments and ideas there, but these were overshadowed by many frustrati I wonder what it would have been like for the original fans of this series, waiting two or so years for the next instalment to be released. I had the luxury of binge reading it. It felt as if it had been written all at once. The narrative continues seamlessly throughout the three volumes. There is a definite difference in tone and style between Clarke's original and these three Gentry Lee penned sequels. There were some decent moments and ideas there, but these were overshadowed by many frustrations: One scene for instance, was when "Richard" (I think), says, "We ate fruit or was it a vegetable, as these were unfamiliar..." Well, unfamiliar or not, did this edible plant substance have a, or any, seeds in it? Then it was a fruit. If not, was it a tuber or a stalk? Was it a nut perhaps? But that's tolerable, I suppose, but it is his attempts at sex scenes that really made this reader cringe; how awkward his characters are when engaging in such activities or romantic dialogue... better if he would have kept his readers out of it and let his characters figure all of that out behind closed doors. Octospiders, octospiders, octospiders! So much paper in this brick was devoted to octospiders! Such obsession over their biology is simply insane. Yes, Mr. Lee, they are a fine fictional invention, they don't need their own book within this one. This sort of endless description of aliens and robots that are indistinguishable to regular human beings, became the bulk of the story as the book came to a conclusion and less about Rama itself and the purpose behind beings of all sorts were put on this thing, and their final destination. Overall, this final instalment is no better or worse that the previous two, however, I preferred the first (Rama II over the others). If you are satisfied with the direction that Lee took with the plot and you enjoy his slow plotting style and types of characters, his odd nerdy dialogue, then you will be satisfied with the way he brought this massive hulk of a story to its conclusion. I, personally was indifferent to this and found the series just interesting enough to keep me going with it until the end. And, these are very nice looking volumes and look very good together on my bookshelf.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The fourth and final book of the Rama series. This book continues to follow the colony that was established in the Raman spacecraft as it heads towards its final destination. In this book, even more new species and adventures are encountered. This book finally gives the explanation of the Raman spacecraft and the purpose of its missions. I don't really want to give much away, but this is a great ending to one of the greatest science fiction stories ever told. Once again there are so many message The fourth and final book of the Rama series. This book continues to follow the colony that was established in the Raman spacecraft as it heads towards its final destination. In this book, even more new species and adventures are encountered. This book finally gives the explanation of the Raman spacecraft and the purpose of its missions. I don't really want to give much away, but this is a great ending to one of the greatest science fiction stories ever told. Once again there are so many messages to take away from this book: from religion, to politics, to the human race as a whole. You will not be disappointed in reading this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Although the series as a whole was quite rewarding I found this closer to be a bit disappointing. Although we do finally get an answer to the Rama mystery the explanation is religious hand waving that I would not have expected from Clarke. Maybe it is more Lee's doing. The continued detailed descriptions of the new species is interesting since a whole new society is discovered by the readers and the Wakefields and company experience it. The tired treatment of the human colonists gets dry. Still Although the series as a whole was quite rewarding I found this closer to be a bit disappointing. Although we do finally get an answer to the Rama mystery the explanation is religious hand waving that I would not have expected from Clarke. Maybe it is more Lee's doing. The continued detailed descriptions of the new species is interesting since a whole new society is discovered by the readers and the Wakefields and company experience it. The tired treatment of the human colonists gets dry. Still worth reading if you want to finish out the series, but that may be it's only major selling point.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Bittinger

    The series finale was more enjoyable than that last two in the series just because most of the background exposition has already been done - although some was repeated here - and this story centered more on the events and interactions of the passengers of the Rama ship. When things started going sour for the passengers I found myself thinking, "no way, people wouldn't act that way." but upon further reflection, yes they probably would. I won't spoil the story, but there are some heartbreaking mom The series finale was more enjoyable than that last two in the series just because most of the background exposition has already been done - although some was repeated here - and this story centered more on the events and interactions of the passengers of the Rama ship. When things started going sour for the passengers I found myself thinking, "no way, people wouldn't act that way." but upon further reflection, yes they probably would. I won't spoil the story, but there are some heartbreaking moments, some glorious acts of discovery and it all ends up with a satisfying, if rather sad, conclusion. It took a while to get here, but I'm glad I took the journey.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    This is the last of the Rama series. I have to say that in parts I have found this series to be a bit of a slog. The last three books are a lot more character driven and mainly centre around Nicole Wakefield and her family. It also explores human nature and whether we are naturally destructive and place ourselves above other species. (view spoiler)[In this book Nicole and her family go and live with the octospiders. The humans are hunting the octospiders and don't realise they are an advanced rac This is the last of the Rama series. I have to say that in parts I have found this series to be a bit of a slog. The last three books are a lot more character driven and mainly centre around Nicole Wakefield and her family. It also explores human nature and whether we are naturally destructive and place ourselves above other species. (view spoiler)[In this book Nicole and her family go and live with the octospiders. The humans are hunting the octospiders and don't realise they are an advanced race. In this book Nicole has to watch a daughter commit suicide, her husband be assassinated. She sleeps for many years, waking up 12 or 16 years older, having to eventually face the frail, dying body of an 80 year old woman, being told that she only has 10 days left to live. Then she finds out her family is to be separated (one onto a ship where those with unacceptable behaviour go, and then find out her daughter and her husband have replaced her with a biot. The book is a bit dull in places. A lot of work goes into the octospider society, their feeding system and their medical knowledge. The book could have been half the size if they explained it briefly as I didn't think it added much to the story. (hide spoiler)] If you are a sci-fi fan it is definitely a worthy read. If not, you may struggle through the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    William Clemens

    i have been working my way through the series very slowly and finally got through this last volume. it is quite long and covers a lot of ground. Starting with the Wakefield family after arriving at the node, we see the return of Rama to Earth and a subsequent journey back to the stars. We observe new colony of humans fall prey to the worst of human nature and learn more about the Avians and Octospiders, and eventually, more about Ramas purpose. The book was largely depressing, highlighting the pr i have been working my way through the series very slowly and finally got through this last volume. it is quite long and covers a lot of ground. Starting with the Wakefield family after arriving at the node, we see the return of Rama to Earth and a subsequent journey back to the stars. We observe new colony of humans fall prey to the worst of human nature and learn more about the Avians and Octospiders, and eventually, more about Ramas purpose. The book was largely depressing, highlighting the problems in politics, and is a pretty biased view, but it continues the story of earlier volumes and gives a pleasing ending without trying to answer too many questions. I wouldn't recommend this as a stand alone, but if you've enjoyed the rest of the series you should be left satisfied.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dubcdr

    Overall Great Series - Poor Finish I loved this series. Thought the combination of religion and science was good. The first half of this book was hard for me to get through, didn't think a lot happened. The ending kind of ignored some of the mystery behind Nicole, but did wrap a lot up. Would recommend to a friend

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Clark

    Parts dragged, but the overall scope was just awesome. I was somewhat confused, but I have not read the first 3 books, so I hope when I go back to them it will make more sense.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    A central theme in the Rama novels is that human sexuality drives all facets of our lives--our predilection to imperialism, excess, paranoia, and self-destruction being prime examples. The grand morality play that ensues strikes me as valid, but also tiresome and less fun than the original Rendezvous With Rama . The above being said, I love a great deal about this final installment in the series. Some of the revelatory material is similar to that found in 3001 . It’s thought-provoking but A central theme in the Rama novels is that human sexuality drives all facets of our lives--our predilection to imperialism, excess, paranoia, and self-destruction being prime examples. The grand morality play that ensues strikes me as valid, but also tiresome and less fun than the original Rendezvous With Rama . The above being said, I love a great deal about this final installment in the series. Some of the revelatory material is similar to that found in 3001 . It’s thought-provoking but far from Earth-shattering. I agree with those who would say the real payoff is not the quick thrill of learning new details, but achieving understanding because of them. The Eagle, a Raman ambassador of sorts, plays a very interesting role. He is so highly developed that his existence tests the distinction between animate life and complex machine. As often happens in life-spanning series, the final installment contains a lot of death and sadness, but also meaning and realization. I love how Nicole in particular comes to value her memories. She helps me understand why old people are constantly telling anecdotes to young people. Gentry Lee develops another avenue of the Rama universe in Bright Messengers and Double Full Moon Night .

  30. 5 out of 5

    Holden Attradies

    This is by far the best written of the books in this series. The writing in Rama II is not the best, even though I love that book I can admit that. But with every book in the series there after the writing gets smoother, with less of the semi-meaningless distractions into minuet details of historical figures. I really don't know if this is from Gentry Lee improving as a writer or if this is from Arthur C. Clarke doing more of the writing, but either way it's a good thing. I enjoyed the way that t This is by far the best written of the books in this series. The writing in Rama II is not the best, even though I love that book I can admit that. But with every book in the series there after the writing gets smoother, with less of the semi-meaningless distractions into minuet details of historical figures. I really don't know if this is from Gentry Lee improving as a writer or if this is from Arthur C. Clarke doing more of the writing, but either way it's a good thing. I enjoyed the way that these last two books took time to explore each of the alien species inside Rama. Where as The Garden of Rama took time to explore the Avains and the Mermacats this book takes the time to explore the Octospiders. Both are amazingly handled through the eyes of humans who only partially understand the species. Above all though, I hold close the closing chapters of these books. As I have grown older and thought more and more about my inevitable mortality and the things that come with age I grow more attached to those last few chapters. And that last chapter always makes me cry, I can't think of a better send off for that character in her live, a better good bye to her as a character from the perspective of the reader, and a better send off to the series in general. On a final note I really liked how the "final answers" provided by Saint Micheal and the Eagle were handled. They are presented in a way where it is clear that they may or may not be truth, and it leaves it up to the reader to decide whether what Saint Micheal is saying is the truth or whether it has been engineered to agree with Micheal O'Tooles philosophies as Nicole suspects it has been.

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