Arthur C. Clarke has long been considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time and was an international treasure in many other ways, including the fact that an article by him in 1945 led to the invention of satellite technology. Books by Clarke—both fiction and nonfiction—have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide. He died in 2008.
This disappointing conclusion to the Rama series picks up at the point where the previous volume, The Garden of Rama , left its characters in peril. Cosmonaut Nicole Wakefield, the former governor of the human colony housed within the globe-shaped spaceship Rama III, is awaiting execution for opposing the fascistic powers that now run the colony. She is rescued from her cell by small robots sent by her husband Richard, whom she had thought dead; he had, however, escaped into the interstices of the Rama spacecraft. Along with friends and family from the Earth sector, they begin traveling through the different alien environments housed in the vast Raman world. As decades pass, the spaceship approaches the star system Tau Ceti, where many secrets are revealed to Nicole and her descendants. Unfortunately, the authors have neglected narrative drive in favor of exposition. Environments are described and philosophies expounded in great detail, but the action is delivered second-hand as characters tell each other about events instead of experiencing them directly. Despite some mildly intriguing revelations at the end, the story is slow and only mildly diverting. (Feb.)
Rama Revealed marks the fourth and final volume of the popular sf series begun with Rendezvous with Rama (1973). After a long interstellar voyage, an alien spacecraft and its human passengers arrive at their destination. On sale date: the week of January 31.