''Rendezvous with Rama'' is a ScienceFiction novel by Creator/ArthurCClarke, in which a giant asteroid comes shooting through the Solar System, circa 2131 AD. By the time it's realized that the visitor is actually a hollow artificial cylinder, only one human spaceship can even briefly reach the object and explore it before it slingshots around the Sun and returns to the depths of space. Captain William Norton and the crew of the ''Endeavour'' discover that the structure, dubbed Rama after [[AuthorAppeal one of the major Hindu gods]] ([[TruthInTelevision the Roman and Greek naming reserves having long been exhausted]]), is actually an entire miniature world stuffed with ever-more-amazing technology, which Clarke spends the bulk of the narrative [[SceneryPorn detailing]]. The novel garnered much acclaim and won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Although ''Rendezvous'' ends with a large SequelHook, Clarke never seriously intended to write a follow-up, and many people agree that he shouldn't have. In fact, the three belated sequels were not written by Clarke, but by a friend of his, Gentry Lee, with Clarke merely providing ideas and support. While ''Rendezvous with Rama'' was pretty high on the MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness, the sequels fell squarely on the soft side. The science is largely overshadowed by [[CorruptCorporateExecutive commercial conspiracies]], [[HumansAreBastards government corruption]], [[EveryoneHasLotsOfSex scientists having sex]], and Lee's [[AuthorTract views on religion]]. It also changes the nature of the setting to some degree, ratcheting it [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism significantly farther to the cynical side]] and turning up the UsedFuture level.

The books in the series are:
* ''Rendezvous with Rama''
* ''Rama II'' by Gentry Lee
* ''The Garden of Rama'' by ] Gentry Lee
* ''Rama Revealed'' by Gentry Lee

A movie version of the first novel has been languishing in DevelopmentHell for decades.

!!"Rendezvous with Rama" includes these tropes:

* AbsurdlyLongStairway: The interior of the eponymous gigantic cylindrical spaceship, 54 kilometres long, has three extremely long ladders spanning its length along its walls. And then there come stairways with "thousands upon thousands" of steps. Getting from the airlock down the ladders and stairs, to one end of the cylinder, takes the protagonists three chapters. Justified in that it's almost certainly an emergency backup system to whatever smaller vehicles the Ramans normally used.
* AlienGeometries: There's a sense of this, the interior of Rama using cylindrical coordinates. 'Up' and 'down' are towards and away from its rotation axis. Gravity reducing to zero at the hub doesn't help.
* BigDumbObject: Rama
* CrazyPrepared: The Ramans and their triple-redundant.. everything.
* FamousFamousFictional: "Rama needed the grandeur of Bach or Beethoven or Sibelius or Tuan Sun, not the trivia of popular entertainment."
* TheFederation: The United Planets, which has seven members: Mercury, Earth, Luna, Mars, Ganymede, Titan, and Triton. The fact that half of these are moons, not planets, is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in the story.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Chapter 38 begins with: "According to the history books - though no one could really believe it - there had been a time when the old United Nations had 172 members." At the end of 2010, The United Nations had 192 members.
* IfJesusThenAliens: The members of the Fifth Church of Christ Cosmonaut, who believe Jesus was a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien.
* ImprovisedParachute: a character uses his shirt as a parachute. Justified since he's jumping in Rama's reduced gravity, and the main purpose of the 'chute is to ensure he hits water feet-first.
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: The Ramans prove to have absolutely no interest in Earth, or any other planet in the solar system.
* LostTechnology: InSPACE!
* OhCrap: The expedition's reaction when they realise that Rama's minor course-correction, coupled with its rotation, has led to a massive tidal wave being generated on the lake. Made worse because they are ''on'' the lake at the time and can see it rapidly racing towards them from the "ceiling".
* ReactionlessDrive: The explorers cannot determine just how the ship can accelerate given it does not appear to push on anything they can detect. They assume the six pillars at the rear end of the cylinder have something to do with it, but cannot confirm.
* RuleOfThree: One of the few things that ''is'' revealed about the Ramans is their predilection for the number three. They also insist on giving all their technology triple redundancy features in case of failure.
* SequelHook: [[spoiler:"The Ramans do everything in threes."]].
** Unintentionally so, though, as stated by [[WordOfGod Clarke himself]]. The fact that the series ended up comprising ''four'' books seems to support that.
* {{Starfish Aliens}}: From the sequels, Octospiders, Avians, Myrmicats and the Sesil Net. The last three live in a symbiotic relationship.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens
* TheOnlyOne: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in the first book as Rama is moving so quickly through the solar system that the ''Endeavour'' is the only ship in the right place, and with enough delta-V, to catch up with it and land.
* TimeAbyss: The ''Rama''.
* UpliftedAnimal: The superchimps.