Books: Celestial Pit Stop

RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA

by ARTHUR C.CLARKE 303 pages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $6.95.

As a science-fiction writer. Arthur C. Clarke neither exploits the psychology of guilt and punishment with apocalypses nor sees future man as clones of bronzed Ubermenschen surfing out of Peter Max cornucopias. Basically, Clarke extrapolates the latest scientific theory and hardware into a future where good and evil are controlled under standard temperature and pressure.

Yet this aeronautical engineer and specialist in communications satellites is not without his poetry. In Childhood's End (1953), the best of his nearly 20 novels and story collections, he pushed the theory...

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