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The Fountains of Paradise
 
by
Arthur C. Clarke
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The Fountains of Paradise

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  14,331 ratings  ·  261 reviews
Vinyl record, excerpts read by the author
Vinyl Record
Published 1979 by Harcourt Brace
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Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Definitely one of Clarke's best novels, which is saying something given his tremendous body of work. The novel, as most of Clarke's work, was respectful of the scientific basis required for the story but never let itself get bogged down in overly long technical explanations. A superb story that once again reaffirms that man can do just about anythign if he sets his mind to it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1980)
Winner: Nebula Award for B...more
Clouds
Quick - write a review before the toddler gets home!

So... The Fountains of Paradise wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not quite sure what exactly I was expecting, because I'd never read anything by Arthur C Clarke before, but Space Elevators are a staple of space-opera, a sub-genre I'm particularly fond of - so I guess I was expecting more... melodrama?

I said (repeatedly) in my comments while reading that this story is measured, peaceful, even Zen. Now, while I did enjoy those aspects, I didn't f...more
Matt
I was disappointed in this book, though I confess that part of it is my fault. Clarke didn't tell the story that I wanted him to tell, and this is always an unfair expectation on the part of the reader. "If you want a particular story, you should write it yourself." is the rightful reply of the writer. But I'm only human, and when I get figs when I was expecting chocolate, I'm disappointed (even if I like figs, which I do).

'The Fountains of Paradise' is about mankind's first attempt to construct...more
Apatt
"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven"
Hmm... not an entirely appropriate Led Zep reference I suppose but I got to start the review somewhere, and the phrase "Stairway to heaven" does appear in the book, but regrettably not the guitar solo.

It is quite often pleasant to go into a book without knowing anything about it. Not exactly the case with this one, I knew it is about space elevators, it's not exactly an obscure book by an unknown author bu...more
Manny
Arthur C. Clarke once wrote a rather dull short story, which just happened to suggest the idea of geostationary satellites over 20 years before there were any. This is a rather dull novel, which presents a detailed plan for building a space elevator.

Well, I hope history repeats itself...
Simon
This is a story of how a futuristic, modern wonder of the world came into being. Of how political, religious, technical and sometimes life threatening problems were overcome in order to make one man's dream happen.

Arthur C. Clarke is a kind of luke warm author for me. I've never read anything of his that has set me on fire but I haven't hated anything either. This book is no exception. At times I felt quite engaged and at others I felt like I wish it would just get on with it.

I'm coming to the c...more
Sesana
The basic plot of The Fountains of Paradise can be summed up with two words: space elevator. Yes, it's something of an architectural procedural, and much of the story is taken up with the events of the project lead (Vannevar Morgan) to get the thing started. Luckily, this is also terribly interesting, far more so than I ever would have guessed. Morgan wants to build his elevator on the fictional island of Sri Kanda (essentially Sri Lanka moved to the equator), but there's the small problem of an...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I didn't expect to like this. Space elevators, yawn.

The setting, in Sri Lanka, with the historic temple/kingdom/gardens - first of all I can't believe that place exists. But it does.

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And then somehow it is the only appropriate place to build a space elevator. The story goes backwards and forwards in time. It triggered my imagination like when I was young!

ETA: We discussed this on the SFF Audio Podcast.
Mike Moore
An interesting exploration of the tension between artistic/technological ambition and sociopolitical practicality.

It's interesting to compare this to the Mars trilogy by Robinson, a conscious attempt to recreate Clarke's style which revisits a lot of the same themes and ideas of this book. While I didn't much care for "Red Mars", I quite liked this book. Clarke has a remarkable ability to blend his extrapolations with, not just action, but genuinely interesting storylines and characters.

My crit...more
Ahmad
The fountains of paradise, Arthur C. Clarke
Characters: Vannemar Morga
Abstracts: 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.

عنوان یک: چشمه­های بهشت، رمان علمی – تخیلی / آرتور سی. کلارک، ترجمه: محمد قصاع، نشر: تهران، نشر افق‏، چاپ نخست سال 1357، این چاپ ۱۳۸۰، در 309 ص.، ‏فروست: مجموعه آثار علمی - تخی‍لی، ۱۰، شابک: ایکس964674222، عنوان دیگر: فواره­های بهشت

داستانی تخ...more
Mike
This is one of my favorite books and I come back to it yearly. I love new technologies and when I read about one that is years in advance of it's time, I get a feeling. I don't know when anyone is going to build a space elevator. The best thing about this story is it is about more than just the Sci-Fi. It's a great story.
Rachel
Oct 11, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with some fascination with science
Embarrassing enough, this book is what inspired me to persure engineering. It's a fun story of an engineer's attempts to "elevate" humanity.
Patrice
Don't you just love Arthur C. Clarke? I certainly do.
Ron
This was one of the first science fiction books I remember reading that I could see the possibility of something which (at that time) seemed impossible. Faster-than-light travel, teleporters, electromagnetic artificial gravity--all staples of Star Trek--seemed implausible to me then. But a geosynchronous space elevator made me pause. This was before buckminsterfullerene had been developed, so diamond cables seemed a leap--but, again, a plausible leap.

The actual story was lost in my memory, other...more
Tamahome

Doing an Sffaudio readalong Sunday. I got kind of bored with it last time I tried it in the car. Will pay closer attention at home this time. What's all this king crap? Space elevators rule. I want that Bridge of Gibraltar from Africa to Europe to be real.

All done. Definitely to be read for the 'sensawonder' space elevator construction. Some may enjoy the history of King Kalidasa (King Kashyapa) and the Sri Lanka setting in the beginning. I thought a little too much time was spent on the 'A Fall...more
sologdin
Nutshell: earthlings begin building skyhook, aliens show up, aliens go away, earthlings finish skyhook, yay!

Nifty parallel drawn between ancient monument builders and scifi megastructures through the use of an ancient Sri Lankan legend (or what purports to be, anyway). Lotsa technical detail. Whatever. Best parts of the book are the political interactions between interest groups regarding obstacles to building the space elevator. The main one, set up as structural to the narrative early on--reli...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The latest scheme dreamed up by Dr. Vannevar Morgan, a materials engineer, is either pure genius or pure crackpot: He wants to build an elevator to space. He's discovered a new material that he thinks is strong enough to withstand the gravitational and climatic forces that would act on such a structure and he's found the only place on Earth where it's possible to achieve his dream: the top of the mountain Sri Kanda on the equatorial island of Taprobane (pr...more
Daniorte
Se ve que siempre ha habido un debate Clarke Vs Asimov, ya en vida los dos llevaban ese debate amistosamente y ahora cada uno de nosotros lo lleva conforme los va leyendo. En mi caso he leído más Asimov que Clarke pero cada vez que leo a Clarke me queda más claro que la balanza se pone de su lado. Tras leer "El fin de la infancia", "Cita con Rama" y ahora este libro, al terminarlos se te queda la sensación de que has leído CIENCIA FICCIÓN. Con Asimov en cambio son mas veces las que el gusto fina...more
Sasy Gould
Mi primera experiencia con Clarke, un autor al que le tenía ganas desde hace mucho (y con una novela que ganó el Hugo) ha sido un poco mediocre. Por un lado me gusta la idea, cómo está escrito, el principio y el final y por otro me ha resultado una trama demasiado simple como para llenar las páginas que llena. Además hay mucha información tecnológica (que quieras o no, siendo de letras puras y aun teniendo interés en estas cosas cuesta) que dificulta la lectura y la historia que parece que va a...more
Rob
I read most of Arthur C. Clarke work as a teenager, and I'm a huge fan. I read this book shortly after it came out, and just now I re-read it. This of course is one of his later books.

The book's main purpose seems to be to introduce and explain the idea of a space elevator (see the Wikipedia "Space elevator" article). It's a fascinating idea, and the author does a great job of explaining it.

Unfortunately, the characters and the plot are rather boring. Still, this was a fun read, and Clarke was v...more
thegift
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

i remember this book as a kid, but have read it at least 3 times as an adult. this is a comforting, engaging, typically arthur c clarke future: conflict is between man capital m, and the constraints of the universe- and incidentally, of course, the religious forces- but science trumps them all. sf as engineering fiction written by engineers for engineers. something quaint, something i am sentimental about. i like the hope, the dream, the rational utop...more
Glenn Myers
All Arthur C Clarke's books have the same underlying theme (though in some books it is underlying more deeply than others). The theme is 'Science, not religion, is the true locus for transcendence and wonder'. This theme is explicit in The Fountains of Paradise when a great mechanical elevator to the stars supplants an ancient religious stronghold and one chapter ends with this memorable summary of the religious point of view: 'the billions of words of pious gibberish with which apparently intel...more
Marjorie Friday Baldwin
This was my second-most favorite book of Clarke's (where The City and the Stars was my #1 fave). Fountains of Paradise really surprised me, after I'd gone through the Rama series of books (which I hated because I found them way too boring, dry and full of intellectual snobbery) Fountains of Paradise really reconnected me to the Clarke I'd fallen in love with when I read The City and the Stars. It has the same imaginative speculation with a sense of wonder at the universe--and Clarke poses the Qu...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://www.nicholaswhyte.info/sf/founp.htm[return][return]In the late 1970s, in this, the third book in a series of three for which he had reputedly received the largest advance ever paid to a science fiction author, Clarke developed a grand scale extension of his communications satellite: the space elevator, skyhook, or beanstalk, a tower thousands of kilometres in height, fixed to the earth's surface, that can be used to ship freight and people to orbit at a fraction of the cost of a rocket.[r...more
Mike Thomas
This is a good book by Arthur C. Clarke, written in 1979, dealing with a mans desire to build a space elevator on the equator to transport men and materials to a point just outside the Earths atmosphere. The only worry is that the prime location for the elevator is on the peak of a sacred mountain, guarded by the monks who live there.This story is set in the land of Taprobane, which is a thin disguise for the authors home land, Sri Lanka. This is a great read, and somewhat visionary, as only a f...more
Carlos Scheidegger
This is classic Arthur Clarke in a man-vs-universe story. No phenomenal characters or plot twists; the focus here is on humanity building a big honking space elevator. It doesn't get a full 5 stars from me mostly because Clarke can write Rendevous with Rama, and this isn't it.

Still, Clarke is most comfortable writing this type of book, and the execution is great. I am reminded of Richard Feynman's famous quote: "It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, [...], all this co...more
Negar
Nov 28, 2013 Negar rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi :)
اصلاً نمی دونم چرا دارم چهار می دم، ولی هر وقت می خوام سعی کنم به یه علمی تخیلی پنج بدم یاد بنیاد آسیموف می اوفتم و چهار می دم بهش :دی
ترجمه عالی نبود، ولی بد نبودش... کاش عنوانش رو اینجور ترجمه نمی کردن، و کاش نویسنده همچنین عنوانی براش نمی گذاشت که منو یاد بنیاد بندازه که بهش پنج ندم. :دی
البته یه ضعف خیلی کوچولو داشت، ولی چیز خاصی نبود که اشکالی به کتاب وارد بشه. فقط من خوشم نیومد.

کتاب عالی شروع شد، داستانش زیبا روایت شد و عالی تر هم تموم شد. فصل آخر که تموم شد من یکی دو دقیقه ای روی جمله ی آ...more
Picasso1387
This is one of my absolute favorite sci-fi books. In it, Arthur C. Clarke tells the story of two great men, one an ancient king and the other an engineer in the not-too-distant future.
In addition to the wonderful characters and story, this book features some of the earliest thinking about building a space elevator -- an idea that NASA now takes very seriously. Clarke also has his future engineer use a news-gathering computer that is remarkably predictive of how many people use the internet and R...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
This was the 1st Clarke novel I'd read after a long hiatus of decades. It's got the usual dominant-male-pursues-impossible-dream type plot. I actually like that sort of thing sometimes - esp if the "impossible dream" is compelling. In this case, it's a giant 'elevator' from a sacred mountain to off-planet. This, of course, brings in philisophical-religious conflict of cultures - w/ ye olde white guy as the aggressor that I suppose most of us are expected to root for. Another in-one-side-of-the-brain-&-out-the-other...more
Shirari Industries
Jul 15, 2009 Shirari Industries rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, engineers, futurists, utopians
Shelves: scifi
I'm a fan of Buckminster Fuller's world-changingly-big ideas for future human housing and transportation, so this book was right up my alley. Arthur C. Clarke tells the story of the construction of a "space elevator" and couches his suspenseful, fun narrative in a rich, invented history that has so many parallels to our own it's positively believable. Clarke seems to fall in the atheist camp, but the story playing with the "Tower of Babel" concept and the idea that engineering projects of this s...more
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Fountains of Paradise 15 48 May 01, 2014 06:13AM  
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7779
Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co...more
More about Arthur C. Clarke...
2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1) Childhood's End 2010: Odyssey Two (Space Odyssey, #2) The City and the Stars

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“Because politics is the science of the possible, it only appeals to second-rate minds. The first raters only interested in the impossible” 0 likes
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