What’s there to say: proper, good, classic sci-fi. As with Childhood’s End, it is well deserving of it’s place in the “SF Masterworks” series.
This time, instead of actual aliens coming to Earth and a prophecy of how humanity will eventually evolve, in Rendezvous With Rama we have a large alien vessel entering the solar system on a path that will take it inside the orbit of Mercury, around the Sun, and then, is anyone’s guess. Will it adjust it’s trajectory, pull a breaking manouvre and find a stable orbit in the solar system, or will it use the Sun and sling shot elsewhere? Where did it come from, who sent it, who or what is inside, what is it’s purpose?
Set in a time when humans have colonised several planets and moons in the solar system and space flight is quite normal, we have one space ship — the Endeavour, captained by a big fan of James Cook — that is able to get some fuel and rendezvous with this vessel and investigate it. However, once the vessel has passed inside the orbit of Mercury, the Mercurians decide to take matters into their own hands and ignore what the rest of humanity has to say on the matter.
As i say, this is a proper old school sci-fi first contact story at its best and well deserving of its place as a “SF Masterworks”.
Oooh, sci-fi fairy tales.
Escape: A Liza Roth Adventure — Anthea Sharp
Blow Your Planet Down — Shawntelle Madison
The Cyrano Solution: A Gaian Consortium Story — Christine Pope
Once You Wish — Evelyn Snow
Vasilia and the Horse of Power — Jamie Ferguson
Echo — Nikki Jefford
Deadly Dance — Kasey Mackenzie
Through Time and Space: A Little Red Riding Hood Tale — Julia Crane
The Star Dragon’s Curse — Alexia Purdy
Loxley — Sarra Cannon
Candy House — Kay McSpadden
An AI is put in charge of looking after a space ship with thousands of people in hibernation pods. The journey is to last thousands of years and the AI has no one to talk to …
… and so the AI starts to have a bit of a mental health crisis.
I really enjoy good AI stories and this is certainly a good one. As machines become more intelligent one can imagine that they will begin to break down due to similar issues: what are we going to do with these machines when we don’t have them crunching data and they can do many years of thinking in a few seconds?
Food for thought.
My only complaint about this is that it is way to short for such a brilliant idea. I would have loved this very premise to be played out in a novella at least. But we can’t have everything we want.