Sad news for Athur C. Clarke fans

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Yuri_Armstrong

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Well, not really news, but the Rendezvous with Rama movie looks like its completely dead now. Too bad because David Fincher and Morgan Freeman could have really done some good work with such a great story as Rama. The book and game are sci-fi masterpieces and have one of the most original and fascinating premises of any science fiction story.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/10/13/ ... ally-dead/

That was two years ago and I still haven't heard anything new about it. The only chance now is that some talented film maker will recognize the great story of Rama and a studio aside from Revelations decides to produce it. All I can hope is that if a movie is made it is a STAND ALONE. PLEASE DONT use the sequels for ANY of the story, except for maybe some of the characters. I thought the video game adaptation did a particularly good job of adding the interesting characters from RAMA II and putting them in the story of RAMA I.

Aside from that though, the sequels were the exact opposite of anything that Clarke writes. Gentry Lee didn't even bother with the mystery and wonder of Rama, he just used it as a backdrop for some stupid social commentary about how evil and incompetent humans are. The third one may as well not even have been in Rama!!!
 
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crazyeddie

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Yuri_Armstrong":y6oq8p1g said:
Aside from that though, the sequels were the exact opposite of anything that Clarke writes. Gentry Lee didn't even bother with the mystery and wonder of Rama, he just used it as a backdrop for some stupid social commentary about how evil and incompetent humans are. The third one may as well not even have been in Rama!!!
I agree. I made it through the first sequel, which was awful, and I only made it halfway through the next before giving up in disgust. Sir Arthur should never have allowed his name to be associated with this untalented writer.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Rama was a good idea... But, it went nowhere. That goes for the first book and the rest of the series. When it finally started to get interesting, it was revealed that there basically wasn't any darn plot at all.. Sure, we finally discovered why Rama was there. But, the characters themselves? Nothing. They're just fixtures and lab rats.

Powerless characters are not characters that a reader wants to read about. Sure, it's interesting at first. But, it gets stale rapidly when you realize that none of the characters have any power to affect a solution to the conflict and they're all just chaff, blown about by the story itself. That might be cool in a grand, epic sort of way... But, it'd read like a travel brochure rather than a story if not done right. That's exactly what Rama et al reads like - A travel brochure.

It wouldn't be so bad except it's a boring travel brochure about a place that should be darn interesting. It's a travel brochure for an Africa Safari that spends all its time detailing you on the wonders of the bench you'll be sitting on in the Airport while waiting for your ride.

The few story elements I liked weren't expanded upon very much. In a situation where there should be a massive amount of exploration and discovery, there wasn't a great deal of it. Even when there was, so what? It was all "mysterious" to such a degree that the reader didn't care how mysterious it was. The reader wanted RESOLUTION! "Come on, gimme sumthin! I've been reading hundreds of pages.. where's the payoff?"

Somewhere, along the way, I remember them having an adverse effect on their environment by doing something.. I don't remember what. I could be confusing it with another story. But, should I be able to? Whenever you confuse one story with another, it means that story didn't have enough flavor to generate an interest and establish itself as unique in your mind. That's how I feel about Rama.

Rama, the first book "Rendevous with.." is like an old piece of chewing gum - Not enough flavor and no action.

The rest of the books dress in the same cheap suit. I don't know that the failure of the Rama series is all Gentry Lee's fault. But, he sure didn't help matters any by trying to turn it into literature. A character based story is wonderful when you make it work. But, that's usually done in literature, not Science Fiction general market fiction/public/pulp/etc.. In that genre, you need a bit more action. You must have conflict, resolution, action, memorable scenes and all the rest of the trappings that the readers expect. Hell, he should have re-written and started out with "Call me Ishmael.." At least we would have had the expectation of action and conflict. Conflict in the Rama series was sparse, unremarkable and resolution was painfully drawn out. It was a boring series, for the most part. Action was non-existent. A Sci-Fi reader does not pick up a Science Fiction book because they can't afford sleeping pills.

I'm glad they're not making a movie about it. In fact, they should just take the idea of some giant alien probe visiting the solar system and then run with it on a completely different storyline altogether, just in case some spirit of the Rama books decides to haunt their plot-lines.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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I disagree a lost packet, Rama (at least the first one) has plenty of fans and I don't think that the characters were brushed aside. You say they barely do any exploring and there's no payoff, but you must have read this book a while ago. Every time you turned the page there was something new, something perplexing that really made you think. I'd much rather have a book filled with enigmas and mysteries than the same old boring sci fi ideas that are recycled over and over.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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JonClarke said:
I disagree Rama was a great idea excellently delivered.
Yuri_Armstrong":138deoxs said:
I disagree a lost packet, Rama (at least the first one) has plenty of fans and I don't think that the characters were brushed aside. You say they barely do any exploring and there's no payoff, but you must have read this book a while ago. Every time you turned the page there was something new, something perplexing that really made you think. I'd much rather have a book filled with enigmas and mysteries than the same old boring sci fi ideas that are recycled over and over.
I'll re-read it then. I did first read it after some surgery, so maybe the drugs effected my interpretation. :)

But, I will stand, for the moment, on my criticism of a lack of resolution. (If I do recall the book correctly.) I don't mind a lot of mystery, especially when it comes to science-fiction alien technology and its uses. In fact, I love stuff like that. But, Rama left a lot of that on the table, IIRC. I don't mind a lack of a lot of action, either, as long as there is subtle conflict being discussed. But, I don't remember a lot of action either way in the first Rama book.

But, based on both your posts, I will re-read it and revise my comments if necessary. Perhaps I let the feelings from the books that followed corrupt my memory of the original? That's possible.
 
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bdewoody

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JonClarke":2d6qeltj said:
I disagree Rama was a great idea excellently delivered.
I totally agree with you. I read all four books (I skimmed a lot of books 2 and 3) and taken as a whole there was a story there. Granted it took a long time to flesh it out. And a lot of concepts I try to point out to people were present, like the passage of time on earth while the passengers on Rama only aged a few years. I thought the concept of the amount of time that passed for intelligence to spread throughout just one region of our galaxy was interesting too.
 
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jim48

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bdewoody":8k90yu0z said:
JonClarke":8k90yu0z said:
I disagree Rama was a great idea excellently delivered.
I totally agree with you. I read all four books (I skimmed a lot of books 2 and 3) and taken as a whole there was a story there. Granted it took a long time to flesh it out. And a lot of concepts I try to point out to people were present, like the passage of time on earth while the passengers on Rama only aged a few years. I thought the concept of the amount of time that passed for intelligence to spread throughout just one region of our galaxy was interesting too.
He wrote four of those?! :?
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Worried that I completely missed the boat somewhere, I took a look at what some Amazon readers had to say. A few seem to mirror my sentiments, but with the majority affirming poster's here.

An example.

I don't agree with all his points. But, I do agree with the general sentiment. Perhaps his expression of dissatisfaction will help illuminate mine?

It WAS a superb novel in sticking to the premise of "Science Fiction" as a technologically driven theme. But, for the classic aspects of a "novel" it fell short. Was it deserving of all its accolades? Maybe, depending upon how you judge the necessary merits.

Certainly, it doesn't stick to the formula for "story" that most novels do, even Science Fiction. That's not, necessarily, a bad thing. Some other great Sci-Fi doesn't do that as well. But, in the end, there was so much unresolved that it left one hanging. Sure, the reader is supposed to resolve certain elements on their own, perhaps even some that were unintended. How many writers have been told that they most certainly derived some sort of complex interactions from some Jungian theme a Cliff Notes Critic has claimed when all they really did was "make stuff up?" Even the reader needs a little guidance, sometimes.

But, I'll still read it over. That's how much I respect the opinions of the posters that have commented. But, it doesn't mean I think you're right. ;)
 
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bdewoody

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Like I said all four books are hard to get through and I agree that Gentry Lee isn't as good at writing Sci Fi tales ar A.C. Clarke was. I was stuck at home after major surgery when I read the three sequals so I didn't have much opportunity to to anything else.

Standing alone the first book impressed me with the idea that our self importance is significant to only us. There was this spacecraft that approached and used our sun as a gravity assist without any regard as to whether any of the planets surrounding the sun had life. They simply didn't care.

It was only after some overly curious humans got stuck on Rama II that the alien intelligence got interested in mankind and sent another vessel to gather some of us up for study purposes.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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bdewoody":20wyrnxz said:
Like I said all four books are hard to get through and I agree that Gentry Lee isn't as good at writing Sci Fi tales ar A.C. Clarke was. I was stuck at home after major surgery when I read the three sequals so I didn't have much opportunity to to anything else.

Standing alone the first book impressed me with the idea that our self importance is significant to only us. There was this spacecraft that approached and used our sun as a gravity assist without any regard as to whether any of the planets surrounding the sun had life. They simply didn't care.

It was only after some overly curious humans got stuck on Rama II that the alien intelligence got interested in mankind and sent another vessel to gather some of us up for study purposes.
This is exactly why the Gentry Lee sequels were so awful!! We did not know why Rama was in our system and we did not find out! Gentry Lee came up with the stupidest explanations for some of the events, we did not know whether Rama was using the sun for a gravity assist or if it was sent as a "museum" for humans.

And for all of his explanations, Lee never talked about the big "splash" mark on top of Rama which still fascinates me. I wonder what that could have come from? It's little things like that that makes the first novel interesting and fun to read. On each page there's a new mystery to think about. Gentry Lee's stories involved too much social and moral commentary, the kind of science fiction I hate!

It would've been better to leave Rama as a stand alone. The only function that sequels would serve is to explain the mysteries of the first novel, and frankly, the fact that they ARENT explained is what makes it good!
 
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bdewoody

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It is my understanding that Lee consulted with Clarke in the writing of the sequals and got some direction from him. If you haven't read all three sequals then you really don't know how the story ended up.
 
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eburacum45

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i think this was inevitable. Although Rama was an important and influential story, it wouldn't really be exciting enough for most Hollywood directors, so they'd probably try to sex it up with all sorts of daft subplots and tension. Certainly it would make good eye-candy in these days of excellent CG effects; but it is tricky to sustain a film on eye-candy alone.
 
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crazyeddie

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Actually, Arthur C. Clarke's novel A Fall of Moondust was supposedly written with the idea of a screenplay in mind, and it would make a fabulous movie. If you've never read it, you've missed one of his best works, and it's one that gets overshadowed by his other, more famous novels.
 
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JonClarke

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crazyeddie":2h5x1pvi said:
Actually, Arthur C. Clarke's novel A Fall of Moondust was supposedly written with the idea of a screenplay in mind, and it would make a fabulous movie. If you've never read it, you've missed one of his best works, and it's one that gets overshadowed by his other, more famous novels.
I'll second that opinion.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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bdewoody":lpk0xlf0 said:
It is my understanding that Lee consulted with Clarke in the writing of the sequals and got some direction from him. If you haven't read all three sequals then you really don't know how the story ended up.
The way it looks to me, ACC just let Gentry Lee use his base story and run wild with it! I'd have half a mind to suspect that Clarke didn't even give direction, just looked at it and said "Ok! good to go!"! I'd like to know how much he really did "consult" with Lee!
 
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bdewoody

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I'll go back and read the forwards in the sequals that I think A.C. Clarke wrote since I'm probably the only person in here that actually owns the books.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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bdewoody":zjomurj5 said:
I'll go back and read the forwards in the sequals that I think A.C. Clarke wrote since I'm probably the only person in here that actually owns the books.
I own them all. In fact, there should be one around here within reaching distance. I have a stack of books that I've been meaning to put back on their shelves... for years.. And just haven't gotten around to it. :) Now, though I may have them all, actually FINDING them is a bit problematic. I took all the books in my little library down to clean the shelves and re-organize them.. yet haven't returned them all. It's in the stack of "yet to be re-ordered." (Also, I had a friend with kids who visited awhile back and they decided to build a fort.. using the books from my bookshelves. lol)
 
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bdewoody

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At the beginning of Rama II A.C. Clarke wrote a rather long introduction explaining his decision to work with Gentry Lee on the Rama sequels. He originally had no interest in pushing the Rama concept any further than book one and said the line at the end about Ramans doing everything in threes was not a teaser.

He then said the strong support for follow ons by fans lead him to decide to allow Lee to develope the Rama story further with his guidence. He also indicated that he was happy with the selection of Gentry Lee as a co-writer. Maybe it was all BS but I hope not.

The whole story as presented in the 4 books is long and complicated but to me I thought it was good speculation about intelligent life in our galaxy and a fair commentary on the tendency of man in general to screw up a good thing while still having individuals that more or less live up to their potential for good.
 
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