The Fountains of Paradise

The Fountains of Paradise

by Arthur C. Clarke


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446677943
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/10/2007
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.79(d)

About 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.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1917

Date of Death:

March 19, 2008

Place of Birth:

Minehead, Somerset, England

Place of Death:

Sri Lanka


1948, King's College, London, first-class honors in Physics and Mathematics

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Fountains of Paradise 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
klondike98 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Clarke takes the idea of a space elevator and invents a material that solves the major hurdle to constructing such an elevator today - form of carbon that has enough tensile strength to support itself over the long distance from Earth to geosychronous orbit. Surrounding this major idea is the story of the man trying to build it - Vannemar Morgan, whose resume' includes building a bridge across the Pillars of Hercules. Morgan's story of ambition and reach begins in parallel to that of Kalidasa, an ancient king of Clarke's country of Taprobane - analog to the real world's Sri Lanka which has been Clarke's home since the late 1960's. Kalidasa's strugles to construct a fountain and tower complex in the face of political opposition from his brother and religious opposition from Buddhist monks mirrors Morgan's own struggles with the head of his company, a prominent senator, and with the heirs to the monks of Kalidasa's day who reside in a temple at the prime location for the anchor point of the elevator. In his afterword, Clarke cites the major scientific literature about skyhooks & space elevators that preceded the novel beginning in 1960.
aarondesk on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Interesting plot idea- a space elevator and the man who builds it. The book is a little choppy and Clarke mixes in some chapters that have little to do with the main plot (alien visitors, diatribes against religion, etc.), so it often feels like you're walking into McDonald's and seeing spaghetti on the menu.
endersreads on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Witness the lives of a King and an Engineer, thousands of years apart; as their vision is born. This is a beautifully written book of the future and past. I only wish the rest of humanity had Clarke's enthusiasm. If so, I'm sure that our orbital elevator would already have been built, but alas, I live in the world of the Illuminati Luciferians, where promising engineers and scientists have strange accidental deaths or are enlisted to create weapons of war. At any rate, the completed vision of this book is a space station that encircles earth. Connected to it are six orbital elevators. It is a beautifully symetrical picture. I'm suprised a sci fi tarot deck has not been done with this vision as the Wheel of Fortune (I only collect them, don't divine with them).
TadAD on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I'm not a huge Clarke fan, but I think this is one of his better efforts...perhaps the last good one he wrote as the books from his later years simply don't have much to recommend them.This is a 'techno' book in the sense that character development is not strong point of the story, but then, I think that is fairly typical Clarke. He focuses on the technical aspects of his stories, in this case an Earth-to-orbit elevator, often at the expense of his cast.One of the things that makes reading Clarke enjoyable is his technical vision—while science fiction, it usually does not seem so beyond reality that we cannot conceive of it happening. He is often cited as the inventor of the concept of Telstar based upon his Ascent to Orbit. This is, perhaps, unfair to some earlier authors who used geosynchronous space stations for communications, but there's no doubting that Clarke had a very good eye for a novel science idea. This gives me, at least, a comfortable sense of peering into the near future rather than somewhere around the year 50,000. He's done something of the same in this book, putting forth an idea in the late 1970s that has become fairly standard fare in science fiction today.If you like Clarke's writing style, then this is a recommended read.
burnit99 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
A good science fiction story by the Master which combines two main concepts. The first is the development of a "Space Elevator", a structure which reaches from ground level to beyond our atmosphere, enabling mankind to escape Earth's gravity at pennies per pound instead of millions of dollars. The second concept is a familiar one given a fresh treatment here, in which a distant race has sent an artificial-intelligence probe, whose mission is to initiate First Contact with other intelligent races in the galaxy. The conversations between the people of Earth and this first voyager from a distant sun are worth the price of admission alone. Throw in the setting, which is an island very much like Clarke's beloved adopted home of Sri Lanka, and you have a very engaging and thought-provoking story by a legendary writer of science-fiction.
clong on LibraryThing 5 months ago
If your idea of an heroic figure is an engineer who designs big bridges, you will love this book. For the rest of us, it's one of the more mediocre Hugo winners I have read. A couple of the characters were reasonably interesting, as were the glimpses of a pseudo-Ceylonese society. And a few of Clarke's guesses about the near term direction of technological progress have proven reasonably astute. But the plot felt far too episodic, with clumsy transitions between episodes. The early chapters had me ready for a thought-provoking story of conflict between faith and scientific progress, not for a plot gimmick that magically removes the protagonist's major obstacle. And the entire alien visitation subplot seemed like needless detour, the only purpose of which was to offer proof that Nietzsche was right after all. And let me just say, that if I am ever trapped at the bottom of a descending space elevator structure, 500 km above the earth, with only a few hours of air, please don't send an aging scientist with a heart problem as the one person rescue crew.
cheebert More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago 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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.