Rendezvous with Rama takes its place among the hard-science masterworks of science fiction – from this list so far namely The Gods Themselves and Ringworld. Clarke does a fantastic job illustrating the science behind a discovery such as Rama without getting bogged down into a lecture. He also doesn’t attempt to explain the motives of the Ramas leaving their flyby of our solar system and their eventual destination a mystery. The discovery crew that entered and explored Rama was competent and professional (unlike Prometheus, ahem). However, what I found vaguely unsatisfying was the lack of conflict. Even the Hermian nuclear missile sent to destroy Rama was easily dispatched. Together with the fact that Rama offered few details as to it’s purpose, origin, destination or creators, which, while realistic is no less disappointing (hence the sequel?). Taking a queue from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Clarke also explores a future with different familial structures, namely polygamy. In Rendezvous the captain has two families on Mars and Earth(?) which he writes home to. In summary a great book that does not feel like it it stretches incredulity but leaves you wanting to be more entertained by the characters or yearning for a plot twist.
(Amazon) Rendezvous with Rama