Perhaps the most noteable of Clarke’s work, it is a Hugo and Nebula award winning novel and not without just cause.
What at first is believed to be an asteroid entering the solar system is quickly identified as a 50km long cylindrical spaceship. It will be on a close approach to the Earth and as it is moving quickly, a group of scientists and researchers are sent to investigate it in the short space of time that they have. What they find there is bizarre and the exploration of the ship takes up most of the rest of the novel.
This is adventure-based science fiction at its best and we delight at Clarke’s strangely beautiful ship as the human researchers explore the contents of the interior and remark on its entirely alien design.
Clarke’s one flaw, as ever, is the lack of depth in his characters. Often a grating issue with many of his books, with Rama you do not care… if you even notice simply because of how alive the ship is within the narrative.