Rendezvous with Rama didn't need sequels, but we got them anyway. Now, billed as the final installment in Clarke and Lee's overextended, meandering space odyssey (The Garden of Rama, 1991, etc.), the vast spaceship Rama finally arrives--not back at Earth but at Tau Ceti--and the mysterious super-robot, Eagle, provides some explanations. Many of the characters from previous volumes recur, and the story picks up where Garden left off. Nicole, trapped by the dictatorial regime that now rules Rama's human colony, is contacted by some tiny robots sent by her husband, Richard, whom she had thought to be dead, to arrange for her and selected others to escape. They soon come into contact with the octospiders--friendly, peaceful, advanced aliens with whom Nicole's group learns to coexist and cooperate and whom they eventually come to understand. But then the dictator Nakamura discovers their whereabouts and begins a war of extermination. Richard and an octospider volunteer to try to dissuade Nakamura, but both are killed after interrogation. Finally, as the octospiders reluctantly prepare a devastating retaliation, the Eagle intervenes, ending the war and dividing the humans into two groups, those that can live among aliens and those that can't. As for the Ramans--well, the explanation subsides into flatfooted religiosity and doesn't really bear close examination. A tedious, lumbering ox of a conclusion, hard-working but poorly structured and unconvincingly presented; the aliens look funny but aren't really alien. Still, there will be hordes of Rama fans desperate to discover how it all comes out.