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The Fountains of Paradise Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 1990


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reissue edition (Dec 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553288199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553288193
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 9.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,213,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BearMaster on Nov. 10 2001
Format: Paperback
Hugo & Nebula Awards for Best Novel.
Nikola Tesla has been called the man who invented the 20th century. I'm hoping that Clarke will be remembered as the man who invented the 21st. As I type this there is a TV in the room, connected to a box, in turn connected to a dish on the roof, that is pointed to a satellite over 42,000 km away in what is called a Clarke Orbit, after the astronomer who realized it would be a useful place for a communications satellite to be, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
So what does that have to do with this novel? In this book Clarke talks about a bridge, a tether that connects the ground to Clarke orbit. A vertical railroad, allowing for a more economical method for reaching Earth-orbit than riding on a Space Shuttle with the power of sixty-five locomotives.
As in real life, the political problems far outweigh the technical ones, and those who say that Clarke is weak in characterization have not read the same book I did.
Do the math, we can build a tether, we should build it. The only thing wrong with this book is that it hasn't happened, yet.
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Format: Paperback
You can almost see Patrick Stewart playing Vannevar Morgan, the driven engineer who pushes to construct the world's first "space elevator." For any reader unfamiliar with the concept, what Clarke talks about in this book is a train track that stretches from the equator to geostationary orbit, where our weather satellites generally reside. This immense tower, elevator, or "skyhook" could humanity tremendous amounts of money and energy, as we would no longer have to launch rockets into space, but could simply send payloads up this extended elevator. From there, we could use the spin of the earth at the elevator's uppermost point to launch payloads throughout the solar system without using as much fuel.
It's heady stuff, and I thoroughly enjoyed Clarke's play with this concept. And along the way, he manages to describe the "office of the future" (much of which has already occurred in the 22 years since the book was released), the flooding of the Sahara, the damming of the Bering Sea, the bridging of the Straits of Gibraltar, and other massive engineering projects. Oh yes, and Clarke also throws in a lesson or two about Buddhism, contact with an alien space probe, weather satellites, the aurora borealis, the history of a monument in his native Sri Lanka, and half a dozen other historical engineering developments. Clarke's work here is about PROGRESS, writ large. This is still one of my favorite books. Perhaps that is because of Morgan, the only well-developed character in the whole story. He is one of those characters whom the real world does not have enough of: the truly visionary engineer. At any rate, Clarke manages to show a future in which man-made machines are awe-inspiring but not detrimental or overpowering to mankind.
I'd like to live in this world.
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By Fernando on May 10 2003
Format: Paperback
When I knew that the book was all about the construction of a 36000km high tower, I look scornfully at it. But when I started to read the strong and plausible scientific background the story has, I started to consider Clarke not only the greatest science fiction writer ever, but also one of the greatest visionaries of our time.
I only took one star out of my rate because the story developed around it is not as good as in Rendezvous with Rama and Space Odyssey, but this Clarke's vision of future compensates it by far and makes the book worthwile anyway.
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Format: Paperback
In the two decades since THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE was written, the idea of an 'elevator' into space has permeated the science fiction world completely, seen as merely a fact of things to come. In part, I believe it is because Arthur C. Clarke made such an excellent case for it in this novel which builds one up 36000 km (24,000 miles)--from Sri Lanka to geostationary orbit. It combines two of the authors most popular themes, technological evolution & human quintessential development, with sparse prose and moving directness. At the time of it's original publication, it was announced to be the author's last novel, which happily is one of Clarke's predictions which did not come true! Very Highly Recommended.
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