Customer Reviews for

The Fountains of Paradise

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

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3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 16 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2006

    Interesting: Yes -- Compelling: No

    The most frustrating thing about reading Arthur C. Clarke is that he sacrifices everything for the Big Idea. Clarke's had plenty of Big Ideas in his distinguished career (he is generally credited with the idea for the geosynchronous satellite, for example), but they don't always make for good reading. The Fountains of Paradise (about one man's quest to build the world's first space elevator) is typical Clarke: It reads like an engineering thesis that has been randomly sprinkled with throwaway characters and plot devices. Clarke's vision of the 22nd Century is typical for his work: One day the entire human race woke up and decided to do away with all poverty, war, conflict and religion (the lone exception being a small group of Buddhist monks who stand opposed to the elevator being constructed on their holy site until, for no clear reason, they change their minds and give up, never to be seen again). This book did win the Hugo and Nebula awards, I believe, but I couldn't tell you why. For hard science readers, this will prove interesting, but for those looking for a compelling read, look elsewhere.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2001

    Stairway to Heaven would have been a more accurate title

    Is there such a thing as dumbing down our authors? I really liked this book despite the extremely slow start. Clarke spends a lot of time setting up the story before getting to it. After describing this paradise converted to tower basement's foundation, Clarke dispenses some lessons on physics, chemistry and relativity similar to the way asimov does in his titles. I like my sci fi to have an aire of mystery to it. This fits the bill when something goes amiss with the tower to the gods. Nevertheless clarke's hero comes through but I'll leave the details for you to find out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    Imagining the near future

    Like 2001, Fountains of Paradise is the near future imagined. It isn't far fetched and as an engineer I can see us knocking down the obstacles to this becoming real. I believe in Clarke's vision enough that I've quoted this book in my textbooks as to what cloud computing could be as early as next year. It's not really fiction, just a slightly colored view of our near future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Worth reading, if...

    ...you have a serious interest in space elevators. To my knowledge, this is the only novel to significantly incorporate the idea. That said, the story itself was a bit flat.

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