Garden of Rama
By Arthur C Clarke
These books are the third and fourth in the Rama series (number one being Rendezvous with Rama and number two being Rama II). I have decided to review them together - as they should be read together and right after each other. If you haven't read the first two Rama books, do not read these books and you shouldn't waste your time reading the review either.
So, you have the first two Rama books. You probably found the first one to be a masterpiece and the second one to be okay or maybe not.
Now the big question is, whether or not to spend money and time on the next two. I found these two books used and had a one week holiday dedicated to reading (it was great! Slept 10 hours a day and spend the rest of the time reading and fighting my hay-fever).
Garden of Rama (GoR) takes off where Rama II ended - as you may remember Richard, Michael and Nicole were left in the second Raman ship as it was leaving the solar system. The storys point of view has changed to Nicole who now tells the story through her diary. This is good stuff - the first third of the book continues with our friends exploring Rama and lots of interesting things take place.
The only problems I have with this part, is a problem that I had throughout both books - namely Nicole and her extremely long and boring stories about her childhood - at one point I was so tired of this that I wanted to hunt down her fictious ass and kick it really hard. Just shut-up woman! Anyway - you may find it interesting.
After the first third of GoR, everything changes - Rama has returned to earth and is now ready to take two thousand human passengers on board to live in an earth like environment - The Ramans wants to observe human behaviour. This is where GoR gets extremely stupid - the united earth government can't get enough volunteers (yeah right) and decides to use convicts, who gets their freedom if they volunteers. This is too stupid. An superior alien race wants to observer the human race and we give them hardened criminals? No - this definitely doesn't work. And to make it even more stupid the most obvious thing happens (yes, I know it sound like a cheap action movie) - the convicts take over power in New Eden (as the human area in Rama is called) and acts as crude and stupid as possible.
The rest of GoR has its good moments, but mostly it's just stupid.
So why read it? Well, you have to read it to get anything out of Rama Revealed (RR), and the really bad part of this is that RR is a really good book! It somehow gets back to the magic and wonder of the first Rama book - I will not spoil it for you by telling you what happens, but I will say that the title is fitting as everything is revealed (and I do mean everything). Trust me on this one - just remember to read the parts about New Eden really fast, you may even be okay skipping a few pages here and there.
Written on 1st June 1999 by TC .