This is the sequel to the novel Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.
The huge cylindrical Rama spaceship has returned 70 years after it
arrived near Earth for the first time. Another crew is put together and
sent to explore the ship. The crew consists of military and scientific
personnel along with two journalists who are there to report news to
Earth. Almost immediately things start going awry and three crew members
wind up dead. The majority of the crew isn't sure if the Ramans are
friendly or malignant. One crew member, medical officer Nicole des
Jardins, gets separated from the rest of the crew and knocked
unconscious. After being stranded at the bottom of a hole for several
days, one of the biots climbed down into the hole and Nicole hitched a
ride out on its back. She explores the area and makes friends with the
avians, aliens that look sort of like pterodactyls. Eventually another
crew member, engineer and genius Richard Wakefield, finds Nicole and
together they further explore the area known as "New York" (known as this
because of the tall buildings and the fact that it's an island). Finally
they enlist the help of the avians to carry them across the Cylindrical
Sea, and they meet up with General Michael O'Toole, who was taking one
last look around the spaceship before leaving as the rest of the crew had
done. In the end the three of them stay on the Rama ship instead of
returning to Earth.
- p.79 Richard and Nicole are at a New Year's Eve party at a reconstructed
Roman building. Richard realizes that the building looks very much like the
layout of the Rama ship and comments that the Ramans must know the same
mathematics as the Romans did.
p.174 The Ramans built "cities" inside the spaceship that have buildings
that are all geometrical shapes. Richard recognizes spheres, pentahedrons,
p.254 Dr. David Brown, physicist and astronomer, is noted as being a
purely theoretical scientist because he hated the detail and formality of
empirical science and didn't like engineers or the machines used to prove
p.312-313 Wakefield describes how he was able to find Nicole because of a
homing device. Using triangulation he was able to find her according to x-y
coordinates but he didn't think about z coordinates (she was underground).
p.352-353 Richard uses geometric relationships in 2 of the 3 sectors of
"New York" to find a third opening to an underground set of tunnels in the
third sector. He used the locations of the other two openings in the other
sectors to figure it out.
p.360 Richard finds an alien computer in one of the underground tunnels
and discovers through math that 1,024 different commands could be used, and
he tries to figure them out.
p.411-412 General O'Toole has to come up with a 50 number code to use on
the nuclear weapons, which minimizes the chance of someone else being able
to crack the code. There is a discussion of the prime numbers 41, 43, 47,
53, 61, 71, 83, 97 and how the difference between the first two is half of
the difference of the second 2, etc. This is the beginning of a sequence of
primes that ends at the number 41x41, or 1681.
p.451 Richard tells O'Toole that no one can know what Rama is all about,
and says that to try and figure it out now would be like solving a system
of simultaneous linear equations when there are many more variables than
constraints. He also says that the entire problem of whether or not to tell
the Raman spaceship that nuclear missiles are headed toward it can be
represented by a 3x2 matrix, and he describes the logic behind the matrix.