The year is 2131. The world is still shaken after the violent collision with a meteorite in 2077 when “the cities of Padua and Verona were wiped from the face of the Earth; and the last glories of Venice sank forever beneath the sea as the waters of the Adriatic came thundering landward after the hammer blow from space.”
Project Space Guard is now installed on Mars, with the purpose of identifying and cataloguing space objects potentially hazardous to Earth. A strange object makes it’s appearance in our solar system and it is initially catalogued with a simple numeric name. But, it turns out, 31/439 is an artificial object of unknown origin and the visitor receives the official name of Rama.
A mission to intercept the strange object is prepared in a hurry, in order to explore this unexpected guest. Captain Norton and his crew of the Endeavour have only a few weeks to learn the secrets of the cylinder, which is 50 kilometres long and 16 wide. Rama reveals it’s secrets as it approaches the Sun, filling the hearts of the human explorers with fear, astonishment, admiration and finally love.
Arthur C. Clarke’s novel is written in an impeccable manner. Rendezvous with Rama is one of the few novels I’ve read twice and, acknowledge that, although I do not like to read the same book twice, I reread it even more avidly than I did the first time. Rendezvous with Rama was in fact among the first novels that made me to love science-fiction literature. It is a recommendation and a must for any avid science fiction reader. And for those who want to start reading science-fiction, Rendezvous with Rama seems to be a natural start, what makes you ask for more. There is no way you won’t fall in love with Arthur C. Clarke’s work after this one.