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Ok story around a 5 star idea/ prediction
on January 16, 2011
Arthur C Clarke is my favorite author. He focuses more on possible technology and less so on characters and ridiculous drama with those characters. This is what I love about him.
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!