The Fountains of Paradise

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Overview

This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel is reissued in this trade paperback edition. Vannemar Morgan's dream of linking Earth with the stars requires a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. Includes a new introduction by the author.

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Overview

This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel is reissued in this trade paperback edition. Vannemar Morgan's dream of linking Earth with the stars requires a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. Includes a new introduction by the author.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Published in 1953, 1952, and 1979, respectively, this trio of novels follow Clarke's recurring theme of humans thrusting themselves into space and then not necessarily liking what they find. The religious images that run throughout Clarke's work also are present here. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446677943
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/10/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur C. Clarke was considered to be the greatest science fiction writer of all time. He was an international treasure in many other ways: an article he wrote in 1945 led to the invention of satellite technology. Books by Mr. Clarke - both fiction and nonfiction - have more than one hundred million copies in print worldwide. He died in 2008 at the age of 90.

Biography

Widely considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time, Arthur C. Clarke turned his formidable technical knowledge and lively creative imagination into an amazing career that spanned the fields of literature, invention, futurology, and entertainment.

Born in 1917 in the seaside town of Minehad in Somerset, England, Clarke developed an early interest in both science and its literary sister, speculative science fiction. After secondary school he moved to London and joined the British Interplanetary Society, where he contributed articles to the Society's bulletin. During WWII, he joined the RAF, working in the experimental trials of Ground Controlled Approach Radar, the forerunner of today's air traffic control systems. (This experience inspired his only non-science fiction novel, 1963's Glide Path.) In a technical paper written in 1945 for the UK periodical Wireless World, he set out the principles of satellite communication that would lead to the global satellite systems in use today.

After WWII, he attended King's College, London, on scholarship and received first class honors in Physics and Mathematics. He sold his first sci-fi story to Astounding Science Fiction magazine in May of 1946. From that point on, he never stopped writing. Some of his more notable works include Childhood's End, Rendezvous with Rama, and The Fountains of Paradise.

In 1964, Clarke was approached by film auteur Stanley Kubrick to collaborate on a science fiction movie script. The material chosen for adaptation was Clarke's 1948 short story "The Sentinel," an eerie tale about the discovery of an extraterrestrial artifact. Over the next four years, he expanded the story into a full-length novel, while simultaneously writing the screenplay with Kubrick. In 1968, both versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey debuted to great acclaim. Clarke also worked in television -- as a consultant during the CBS news coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions and as creator of two distinguished series, "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World" and "Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers."

In 1954, Clarke visited Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon). He fell in love with the country and settled there in 1956, founding a guided diving service and continuing to produce his astonishing books and articles. On March 19, 2008, he died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90, leaving behind an impressive literary legacy and millions of bereft fans.

Good To Know

Clarke shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Clarke was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.

In 1986, the Science Fiction Writers of America bestowed on Clarke the title of Grand Master.

At home in Sri Lanka, Clarke survived the deadly Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 that caused the deaths of more than a quarter million people.

Clarke was an expert scuba diver and in 1956 founded a guided diving service in Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon.

In Profiles of the Future (1962), Clarke set forth his "Three Laws," provocative observations on science, science fiction, and society:

  • "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
  • "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
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      1. Date of Birth:
        December 16, 1917
      2. Place of Birth:
        Minehead, Somerset, England
      1. Date of Death:
        March 19, 2008
      2. Place of Death:
        Sri Lanka
      1. Education:
        1948, King's College, London, first-class honors in Physics and Mathematics

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 3.5
    ( 16 )
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    Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 16 Customer Reviews
    • 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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