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Cover of the first edition
|Author||Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee|
|Cover artist||Bob Corley|
|October 14, 1993|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Garden of Rama|
Rama Revealed (1993) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. It is the last of three sequels to Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama by these authors, and as the title suggests reveals the mysteries behind the enigmatic Rama spacecraft.
The book picks up the story immediately after the end of The Garden of Rama. The book follows the story of Nicole Wakefield and her escape from imprisonment left at the cliffhanger of the previous book.
At this point, the humans had already come into contact with two alien species known as "octospiders" and "myrmicats". The octospiders were a simple species until a space-faring species made contact with them and forever changed their society. By undergoing genetic enhancements, the octospiders became biological wizards and were eventually able to form a utopia of sorts. The myrmicats (named by Richard Wakefield, a combination of the Greek word for ant, myrmex, due to their ant-like appearance, and the English word "cat" due to their feline size and running gait) were a naturally heteromorphic species whose final form was a large, interconnected sentient mesh which was able to directly interface with the human brain through a network of fibers connected to the body. Through this medium, it was able to communicate to Richard the threat posed to the species by the violent colonists, and at the request of the myrmicats he leaves their habitat carrying some of their eggs for preservation.
As the human colony continues to degenerate with respect to living conditions and human rights, the members of Nicole's family escape to the region nicknamed "New York", where they used to live in Rama II, and are eventually reunited with Richard.
Before long, the human colony police come after Nicole's family in "New York" and they flee to the octospider city. After the human colony leader starts bombing the octospider city under a made-up pretext and the octospiders retaliate, the situation becomes dire enough that Rama's controlling intelligence intervenes to end the conflict caused by the humans aboard, by sending everybody into hibernation until the end of the journey, except for the surviving myrmicats which are allowed to lead their daily life.
The Rama spacecraft rendezvous with another Node, an enormous tetrahedron near the star Tau Ceti, designed to research any intelligent life capable of spaceflight. The humans are divided into two groups based mainly on the degree of xenophobia they had exhibited during the journey. One group will stay at the Node for the rest of their lives to be studied; the xenophobes are segregated and never allowed to see another alien again. To some of the more adaptable group, the purpose of the universe is revealed by the Nodal intelligence.
Similarities with Rescue Party
The aliens operating Rama, as revealed at the end of this story, share a very similar origin with the aliens in "Rescue Party" (1946), the first story sold by Clarke (though not the first published). Additionally, the aliens in both stories have similar galactic administration duties.
Another scene this story shares with "Rescue Party" is the use of a paralyzer on uncooperative humans by tentacled aliens. In "Rescue Party", the paralyzer is only a last resort weapon and it is never used; in this story, it is actually used. The Rama ship and the alien spacecraft in "Rescue Party" are both cylindrical in shape, and with kilometer scale dimensions.
Books in the series
Gentry Lee also wrote two further novels set in the same Rama Universe.