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The Fountains of Paradise Kindle Edition
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07NMS2Y67
- Publisher : RosettaBooks (November 30, 2012)
- Publication date : November 30, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 1827 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 356 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #358,812 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Centering on Vannevar Morgan, a brilliant engineer, the book’s first half is really a treatise on the practicality and value proposition for a space elevator. The last bit is an unlikely adventure story for a geriatric protagonist. There are some interesting moments built around an AI medical device and some connections to the history of Sri Lanka. In general, the story felt like a series of staged vignettes with a shoe horned alien subplot that barely registers.
In the end, this book hews to Clarke’s favorite themes. The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but we must drive forward into space, where we will surely encounter advanced beings. It is sad that some of his visions, such as the mainstreaming of the Muslim world or advances in medical technology never came to fruition. A good book, but probably not a great one.
The "Fountains of Paradise" definitely fits that bill. A space elevator is an amazing idea because it will make spaceflight economical and safe. From that elevator a ring of habital space can be created. More elevators created to reach that ring finally creating a large wheel around our planet. If we don't destroy ourselves with differences in race, religion, or nationality, I believe this will happen. It only makes sense as the next step in our need for satellites and launch platforms for space probes and an emerging business of space tourism. Satellites would no longer need to be rocketed to space which carries pollution and high risk to an expensive delivery system.
Anyway, getting back to the book. The story of an engineer, Morgan, and his first triumph of a bridge built connecting europe to africa via the gibralter straight (also an eventuality) has his next career step in a bridge from earth to geoscynchronous space above the earth. The beginning of the book deals with trying to use the only part of earth that can be used for the base of the elevator but unfortunately it is used by a buddhist monastary. Morgan's personal story is nothing out of the ordinary and is used as a vehicle for the true star, the space elevator. The third portion of the book uses a small emergency of the elevator getting stuck as some story material. Morgan to the rescue regardless of a heart condition.
I think what may have made this just an ok novel for me is previously reading "3001" where such a system of space elevator and habitable ring around the planet is explored at its fullest eventual potential. To me "Fountains" was a stripped down version of this, rightly so as "3001" is much in the future to "Fountains".
Regardless, this book will one day be as one of Jules Vernes stories predicting submarines or spaceflight!
The book is a bit confusing in the beginning - introducing characters that really do not play a significant role in the plot of the book - but after a few chapters, it changes to some of the challenges faced in making a space elevator, and some of the unique benefits it provides.
I did not find this story riveting, but it was not annoying to read, and I enjoyed exploring the concept of a space elevator.
As a side bonus, this is also a prequel to the fourth book in Clarke's "2001" series, i.e., "3001" where the body of Frank Poole is found in space a thousand years later and brought back to life. His recovery takes place on the Space Elevator.
Top reviews from other countries
The engineer needs to fix something and costs his life in the end of the story. But unlike the character in 2001, the man dies in shock in outer space, the engineer dies with satisfaction as he is long diagnosed with a heart problem.
If a reader does not care what plot is in a sci-fi work, he or she at least finds comfort and beauty in his elegant prose.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 4, 2020