Rendezvous with Rama (Rama #1)

Absence of noise is not a natural condition; all human senses require some input. If they are deprived of it, the mind manufactures its own substitutes.

And on far-off Earth, Dr. Carlisle Perera had as yet told no one how he had wakened from a restless sleep with the message from his subconscious still echoing in his brain: The Ramans do everything in threes.

Bose was slightly less happy about the presence of Conrad Taylor, the celebrated anthropologist, who had made his reputation by uniquely combining scholarship and eroticism in his study of puberty rites in late-twentieth-century Beverly Hills.

But at least we have answered one ancient question. We are not alone. The stars will never again be the same to us.

Can you sum up your ideas in less than—oh, a thousand bits?

electronic diplomacy was not possible over solar-system distances. Some elder statesmen, accustomed to the instantaneous communications that Earth had long taken for granted, had never reconciled themselves to the fact that radio waves took minutes, or even hours, to journey across the gulfs between the planets. “Can’t you scientists do something about it?” they had been heard to complain bitterly when told that immediate face-to-face conversation was impossible between Earth and any of its remoter children. Only the Moon had the barely acceptable one-and-a-half-second delay—with all the political and psychological consequences that implied.

Even a doomed man might reasonably be expected to take some slight interest in a few thousand square meters of gems. He

Even by the twenty-second century, no way had yet been discovered of keeping elderly and conservative scientists from occupying crucial administrative positions. Indeed, it was doubted if the problem ever would be solved.

Feeling extremely foolish, the acting representative of Homo sapiens watched his First Contact stride away across the Raman plain, totally indifferent to his presence.

He had a suspicion of plausible answers; they were so often wrong.

He was now probably the world’s leading authority on the greatest explorer of all time,

I agree with you, Captain,” he whispered. “The human race has to live with its conscience. Whatever the Hermians argue, survival is not everything.

If such a thing had happened once, it must surely have happened many times in this galaxy of a hundred billion suns.

In these latter days, knighthood was an honor few Englishmen escaped.

It seemed altogether unfair and unreasonable that the sky should be so hard.

Myron, like countless NCO’s before him, had discovered the ideal compromise between power and responsibility.

Naturally, the system would have to be rigidly closed, recycling all food, air, and other expendables. But, of course, that’s just how the Earth operates—on a slightly larger scale.

Some women, Commander Norton had decided long ago, should not be allowed aboard ship; weightlessness did things to their breasts that were too damn distracting.

Some women, Commander Norton had decided long ago, should not be allowed aboard ship; weightlessness did things to their breasts that were too damn distracting. It was bad enough when they were motionless; but when they started to move, and sympathetic vibrations set in, it was more than any warm-blooded male should be asked to take. Some women, Commander Norton had decided long ago, should not be allowed aboard ship; weightlessness did things to their breasts that were too damn distracting. It was bad enough when they were motionless; but when they started to move, and sympathetic vibrations set in, it was more than any warm-blooded male should be asked to take. He was quite sure that at least one serious space accident had been caused by acute crew distraction, after the transit of a well-upholstered lady officer through the control cabin.

The Chairman glared across three hundred and eighty thousand kilometers of space at Conrad Taylor, who reluctantly subsided, like a volcano biding its time.

The extraordinary meeting of the Space Advisory Council was brief and stormy. Even by the twenty-second century, no way had yet been discovered of keeping elderly and conservative scientists from occupying crucial administrative positions. Indeed, it was doubted if the problem ever would be solved.

The meteorites of 1908 and 1947 had struck uninhabited wilderness; but by the end of the twenty-first century there was no region left on Earth that could be safely used for celestial target practice.

There was no objection when he said: “I’m going after it.” Nor did he expect there to be; his life was now his own, to do with as he pleased. He

They would probably never even know that the human race existed. Such monumental indifference was worse than any deliberate insult. When

This had not endeared him to exobiologists such as Dr Perera, who took exactly the opposite view. To them, the only purpose of the Universe was the production of intelligence, and they were apt to talk sneeringly about purely astronomical phenomena, 'Mere dead matter' was one of their favourite phrases.

Training was one thing, reality another, and no one could be sure that the ancient human instincts of self-preservation would not take over in an emergency.

When in doubt, say nothing and move on.

While there was life, there was hope;

Yes, it made sense, and was so absurdly simple that it would take a genius to think of it. And, perhaps, someone who did not expect to do it himself.

You can’t have action without reaction.