Rendezvous With Rama
Arthur C. Clarke
Spectra, 1990 (reprint, orig. 1972)
What can one say about Rendezvous With Rama? A winner of just about every sf award ever and more or less a universal classic of the genre it has taken me years to finally get around to reading it. I should perhaps start with saying, as I have said before (see here), that I’m a sucker for derelict spaceships. The mystery, the excitement, the hint of threat in the empty corridors push all the right buttons. Even now I still catch myself wondering, during some idle moments, exactly who the space jockey was or what it was doing, where the Event Horizon really went, just what happened aboard the Elysium, and I still Tremain woefully disappointed about the lack of exploration aboard the Destiny. The derelict spaceship, the abandoned space station, the lost space colony all of these are a sort of transcribed genre stand-in to the dusty mansions and abandoned ruins employed in other fiction from mystery to horror to adventure. It is a fascinating inverse wherein rather than examining our past these future mysteries force us to examine our future and question our place in the universe at large.