Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Jupiter Five" (short story): Precursor to "Rendezvous with Rama"

This story obviously leads better known "Rendezvous with Rama" - there are just too many similarities. This story also has elements that will be seen in the 3 sequels of "2001 A Space Odyssey".

Story summary (spoiler).
Like Rendezvous, we have an alien spaceship in our solar system with kilometer scale dimensions. Like Rama, this is a complete independent habitat including its own sea. Like Rama, it has traveled for untold number of years through interstellar space. Like Rama, number 3 is important to these aliens - e.g., the ship's hull comprises of 3 layers.

Unlike Rama, this ship is spherical rather than cylindrical in shape, & has multiple entrances rather than only one. Also unlike Rama, it is dead & has been dead for several million years.

And, for a change, the aliens are not tentacled but reptilians, as in "History Lesson".

But by & large, the story is in the same style & tone as Rendezvous.

Last third is just a mundane fight of wits, & could have been dropped from story without any effect; it just prolongs the story. Or may be it is a precursor to 3 Rendezvous sequels; there are similarities with those sequels.

You get a preview of Odyssey sequels in the form of voyage to Jupiter, & a stopover at Ganymede.

Quite a readable story, but I prefer Rendezvous.

Fact sheet.
Jupiter Five, short story, review
Author: Arthur C Clarke
Genre: Science fiction
First Published: 1953
Rating: B

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

The story appears in the following collections.

  1. "Reach for tomorrow"
  2. "The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke"
  3. "Across the Sea of Stars"
  4. "The Sentinel (collection)"

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