For those of you who haven't read my review of the first Rama book, here's a link. For those of you who are too lazy to read and/or have a bizarre fear of clicking, I liked the first book. This sequel was written more than 15 years later in collaboration with a different author: Gentry Lee. From what I've gathered, I think it's safe to say that Clarke provided some ideas for this sequel, while Lee is the one who actually wrote the book. What went wrong: Ultimately, everything that made me dislike this book stems from the fact that its a sequel to Rendezvous with Rama. And as I mentioned in my previous review, Clarkes pacing and structure is so tight that it almost doesnt allow room for tension. In the first book, Clark tells a story of humanity coming together and working against incredible odds to investigate a mystery. In the first book, the characters are really clever. In the sequel, when they get onto the ship, almost the very *first* thing they do is try to attack/capture one of the creatures they see. Well, everyone who read the first book, Im guessing. The first book of the series was focused primarily on the ship itself. But all of that was in service to the center of the story, which was about the aliens and the mystery of their ship. The odd thing is that I actually *like* this kind of book more. But that's not why I started reading this book. But in this second book, the crew doesn't even get to the ship until page 170 or so. As the opening to a three-part series that slowly unravels mysteries about a spaceship(s) and the alien race that created it, Rendezvous with Rama was a great book. This is what I mean when I said this book disappointed me from before the first page. It makes me go back and resent the book that I'd previously enjoyed. It actually makes me want to go back in and change my rating of the book here on goodreads. I actually bought the third book of the series. And there are many other books to read....
"Now that I am long in years, perhaps I can improve upon it." Replied the second man, with some enthusiasm: "Indeed! my advice: stick with the highly enjoyable Rendezvous with Rama and don't bother with its sequel(s).
The 'Italian journalist' (why do you need to constantly remind me she's an Italian journalist?) is like a cat getting ready to pounce on her prey. Her sequined holiday dress looks like a cat to this other character?
In their place Rama II piles on huge helpings of fatiguing "character development" for uninteresting characters and opts for eye-rolling soap opera story in place of simple good sci fi. All the signs were there that Rama II was not a very good book, I deceived myself into not seeing them. Reasons why this book just was not good: -The Shakespear Robots. The only reason that there was no second in command was to provide a plot device for the crew to argue over who should lead, and then to have tension after someone is picked. The Rama I crew made sense, it was an assembly of the space programs finest, which you would expect on such an important mission, and they completed their mission with professionalism. -The book introduces practically nothing new from Rama I. For example the Hermians, who played an interesting role in Rama I, are left out this time. And Rama I makes a point that they could never return to earth anyway, having been born on the extremely low gravity of Mercury. There were a number of examples of this, the book does state there was a large economic collapse for a few decades between Rama I and II, but I simply cant believe technology went to crap as much as this book wants you to believe. It's like Micheal Bay's Armageddon, these changes only exist so that more things can go wrong to make it harder for the crew and provide some sort of conflict. The bad guys get to go back to earth with no one who can incriminate them still alive (As far as they know), and presumably live out long lives making billions of dollars. The good guys quietly shuttle off into deep space, not having learned much at all from the long mission, just happy to be alive. But as of the end of Rama II your left asking yourself..."WHY was I forced to learn so much about these people, how aweful they are?
Good: Anything not involving the characters. Parts of it are really good, like the 2 chapter history of the economic crisis. But whenever this book interacts with a human being, I want to stab my myself (apart from the guy who visits the pope, I liked that description of the saint). When I read the original book, I sort of thought that the characters were kind of bland and uninteresting. Have you ever read an Asimov book for the original/exciting characters?
So here we have a novel that Clarke apparently created the characters for (it shows) and outlined ideas, but is actually written by some other author. Another thing that pisses me off is that this guy barely ever goes into any actual science behind anything. When every ounce of weight costs tens of thousands of dollars to get into space?) with no explanation of how they work, a mission ship that seems as spacious as the Enterprise (actually two equally badly thought out and terribly written mission ships), and a million other little things that make you go "WTF?" Anyway, I have a feeling that any secrets revealed about the Raman ship will be highly disappointing and most likely so stupid I'll just get really angry, so I'm debating even finishing this book.
I loved Rama, I loved the ideas brought up by Arthur Clarke, and I was so excited to learn more about the Ramans and their ship that the second encounter should have brought, instead I learned about a bunch of pathetic characters that have a ton of personal problems, the chicks are sluts, and the dudes are retarded.
Definitely longer than the first book, "Rama II" is also much more character-centric and person driven than the first one.
Clarke also won the Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1972, 1974 and 1979, the Hugo Award of the World Science Fiction Convention in 1974 and 1980, and in 1986 became Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America.