Literature Rendezvous With Rama Discussion

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01:00:14 PM Sep 23rd 2011
edited by Snarf
The naming of Rama has always seemed a little problematic to me: under IAU guidelines, astronomical bodies cannot be named for figures from currently-practiced religions. Rama is the third-most important figure in Hinduism (after Krishna and Shiva), which is the third-largest religion on Earth. Leaving aside the argument about running out of names (only the Greek and Roman pantheons have been tapped—the Norse, Babylonian, Egyptian, and many many others are still out there. Rendezvous with Ra would keep the alliteration in the title *and* comply with IAU rules!) I doubt very seriously that Hinduism would be extinct by the early 22nd century considering it's already lasted since the Bronze Age. This is not a detail someone like Clarke (legendary for his detailed research and a permanent resident of Sri Lanka where he no doubt was surrounded by Hindu references) would skip unless on purpose. Was there a specific literary image he was shooting for with the name? Anyone have any more information on this?
02:09:04 AM Apr 17th 2012
edited by LeithSol
Clearly Author Appeal. You might find the information you want form the Other Wiki ~

Besides, if the author says/implies that the Hinduism all died, who is to say he is wrong? (Unless they show up anyways.)
11:22:49 PM Jul 22nd 2013
Clarke had a keen interst in astronomy, so was probably aware of the IAU guidelines, but (a) were those guidelines in place at the time the original Rama (the only real Rama novel) was written) Back in the 60s, decades before Gentry Lee's sequels?

And (b) Clarke was an atheist, and may well have decided, in his worldbuilding, that Hinduism had died out completely by the time the novel took place (160 years or so into the future, IIRC) or that religion has become so insignificant as a phenomenon (confined to a fringe thing, globally) that the IAU guidelines had been changed. But yes, of course it's author appeal.
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