Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Garden of Rama" (novel): William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" retold

Second of the three sequels to Arthur Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama". First para of my Rama II review introduces the sequels.

Now this is generally a much more readable book compared to Rama II: fewer flashbacks & they don't last as long.

Story has the same thesis as William Golding's much better known "Lord of the Flies": put together a bunch of humans in an isolated environment with ample resources, & a leadership will quickly emerge that makes a mess of both the environment & individual lives.

When I read Golding's Flies, I was still in my teens. I then found the story so depressing & unrealistic, that I lost all faith in judgmental abilities of the committee that chooses Nobel Prize for Literature.

Now, over two decades later, I did not find this retelling "shocking". I guess age makes you cynical! But I still find this thesis distasteful.

Story summary (spoiler).
Aliens operating the larger-than-a-city spacecraft ("Rama") want those in charge of ruling earthlings to provide them with 2000 typical sample humans that they want to "observe", failing which they will forcibly take the sample subjects. Fearful "Council of Governments" reacts in familiar government manner: censor the information from public, recruit the 2000 "volunteers" fraudulently where they are really informed of their fate while they are being delivered to aliens, etc.

The real story begins inside the alien ship where a "human habitat" is allocated for our bakaras (guinea pigs). The ship is also carrying similar bakras from two other worlds, though our human passengers will discover this slowly.

Within a couple of years, you have a dictator ruling the human habitat, & generally making life miserable for everyone.

Fact sheet.
Garden of Rama, novel, review
Authors: Arthur C Clarke & Gentry Lee
Genre: Human social behavior
First published: 1991
Rating: C

Series: "Jupiter Five" (A), "Rendezvous with Rama" (A), "Rama II" (C) , "Garden of Rama" (B), "Rama Revealed" (B)

See also: "Rama series summary", & "Influences" section of "Rescue Party"

1 comment:

Zachary said...

This is my favorite of the Rama series.