From the list on exploring big things in space.
Who am I?
I first stumbled on the idea of colonizing space when I read Adrian Berry's The Next Ten Thousand Years and T.A. Heppenheimer's Colonies in Space, back in the late 1970s. In those post-Apollo, pre-Space Shuttle years, colonizing outer space seemed inevitable. I was hooked: this stuff was real, and it was going to happen. It might even happen to me. But living in space isn't very exciting to read about. Of course, just a few years after reading those books I was watching Indiana Jones dodge deathtraps in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Combine the two: space colonies full of danger and surprises are much better!
James' book list on exploring big things in space
Why did James love this book?
Rama is a spaceship, not a space station, but it's huge and ancient, and at first appears to be abandoned. Then the human explorers realize it's just sleeping. This is a prime example of science fiction's "sense of wonder" at the strangeness of the Universe. When I read it, at about age 14, it utterly blew me away with its combination of rock-hard science and utter weirdness. It also has the best final line ever.