The last word on Rama II

As I mentioned previously, I’m reading Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. I enjoyed its prequel, Rendezvous With Rama, which is probably the most hardcore science fiction I’ve read. There’s pretty much no character development, just page after glorious page of describing a mysterious giant alien spacecraft that found its way into our solar system. Which explains why I was a bit shocked when Rama II turned out to be much more of a space opera, complete with love triangles, secret poisonings, and robots that quote Shakespeare. But I hung in there, savoring the bits of true sci-fi that were few and far between.

But now it’s gone too far. I can no longer take this novel seriously. Rama II has jumped the shark. I know what you’re thinking, “Matt, you’re just being dramatic.” But I’m not. **

Background information: Rama is a massive space vessel from an alien civilization, a cylinder kilometers in each dimension.

The scene in question: Two members of the human crew sent to explore it get stuck for days on an island in a sea inside Rama. They finally formulate a plan to escape the island by harnessing birdlike aliens that they discover. Sirs Clarke, Lee, care to take it from here?

Nicole sat in her harness, her hands holding on to two of the three lines, her feet dangling below her about eight meters from the tops of the waves.

The middle of the sea was quite calm. About halfway across Nicole saw two great, dark figures swimming beneath her, parallel to her course. She was certain they were shark biots. [emphasis added]

They literally jumped the sharks! And they were robotic sharks, no less! When a series so blatantly jumps the shark, I just lose all respect for it. I certainly will not be reading The Garden of Rama or Rama Revealed.

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