(pb; 1973: first novel in the Rama quadrilogy)
From the back cover:
"In the year 2130, a strange object is discovered, hurtling through space on what could be a collision course with Earth. What is it?
"Where did it come from?
"And, most important, what does it want?
"Those are the questions scientists on Earth have to answer -- and fast -- if Mankind is going to be ready for its first encounter with an alien intelligence!"
Rendezvous is an intriguing, steady-build story, its first quarter dedicated to giving its readers a chance to see (in cinematic and word-tight prose) the technological beauty of Rama, as well as the reactions and personalities of the humans witnessing this anomalous and history-changing ship -- or planet. (Those looking for immediate, wall-to-wall action sequences may be disappointed by this, though curiosity, caution and danger are constant tonal elements throughout Rendezvous.)
The latter part of the book picks up, action- and intensity-wise, as Rama begins to show visible signs of waking, and its in-this-moment intentions. As always, Clarke's writing is crisp, plot-progressive and well-edited (within its gradual escalation situations) and engaging, making Rendezvous -- which is clearly a series set-up work -- a worthwhile and gently provocative read.
Followed by Rama II.
According to IMDb, a film version is forthcoming. I will update this information when -- if -- more information is available (and I have the time to do so).