A few weeks ago, truthfully, a few months ago, I convinced a friend to read my favorite book. When she finally got to read it, she didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. For a while I couldn’t figure out why. The book is “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke.
The short version of the story, a short bad summary, is that an unknown object enters out solar system. It is discovered to be not natural, and turns out to be an interstellar ship. A group of astronauts are sent to intercept the ship and explore it. They are supposed to find out everything they can about the ship before what ever it’s final intent becomes known.
So, I am not going to say that this is why my friend didn’t like it, but it is my guess, and it is a reason some people didn’t like the book. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered. You never find out who sent space ship, or why they sent the ship to our solar system. It just travels through our systems, comes close to the sun, and then leaves.
But that is what the book is about. Clarke meant for this book to be science fiction, not science fantasy. Its about exploring a an alien vessel, not about who sent it.
Odds are that if an alien ship like the Rama came through our solar system, we wouldn’t know who sent it or why. In the real world, there probably would a lot of unanswered questions, even after exploration.
I actually think that is why I like this novel. It is very open ended. It ends on a cliffhanger. This, to me, is not a bad thing.
It is a shame that there is a sequel to this book… actually, three sequels.