Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pillar to the Sky” as Want to Read:
Pillar to the Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pillar to the Sky

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  706 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
From William Forstchen, the New York Times bestselling author of One Second After, comes Pillar to the Sky, a towering epic to rank with Douglas Preston's Blasphemy and Michael Crichton's Prey...

Pandemic drought, skyrocketing oil prices, dwindling energy supplies and wars of water scarcity threaten the planet. Only four people can prevent global chaos.

Gary Morgan—a bri
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Tor Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pillar to the Sky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pillar to the Sky

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Celeste Batchelor
I debated hard about whether to give Pillar to the Sky 2 or 3 stars. The only reason why it gets 3 stars is because it was a clean read without much language, sex, or gore. The story line is a bit dry and choppy for me. There are sections that could have been great story line, but were just kind of glossed over. This book is not nearly as good as One Second After, although that one does have more language and gore.

I really did not buy into this story. I don't like some of the author's assumption
Kent Beck
Mar 24, 2014 Kent Beck rated it liked it
Interesting idea poorly executed. Could have used more thorough editing.
Nancy Ellis
Feb 22, 2017 Nancy Ellis rated it really liked it
This was definitely not my usual kind of book. I have no interest in scientific subjects and don't usually read science fiction. However, the plot sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. I kept thinking I wasn't sure I would finish it until I realized I was 200 pages into it! It's a good story, a bit more science/technical stuff than I care for, but when it started getting to be too much, he would switch to a more personal side of the story, so it kept my interest. He is really in favor of spac ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Gendou rated it did not like it
This book is what The Fountains of Paradise would have been if Clarke had gotten his degree in economics instead of math and physics. And had never written a book before. Several themes are strong in the book, such as conspiracy theories by oil companies, global warming denial, the cold war, which is somehow still relevant in the 21st century, stereotyped female characters that cry all the time, and, most important (to the author, it seems) "disruptive technology".

The major premise of the book i
Dan Needles
Jun 14, 2014 Dan Needles rated it it was ok
Great subject, but very weak delivery.

Strategically the connections between the setting, plot, and character arcs are strained. The character arcs follow the relationship between two main characters with a mentor figure supervising their work. A lot of the action happens as reflections or indirectly. For example, there is a build up of the relationship between the two main characters until page 94. They kiss for the first time on page 95, live together, get married and have a child by the end of
Oct 23, 2015 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, grown-up-books
This book was such a puzzle. Fascinating concept, building a sky elevator. But told in the most passive, dull, dry, summary style you can imagine. I stuck it out because I was interested in the concept of space elevators, plus I really really really adore the vocal narrator (Grover Gardener, who does all of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, which you should totally listen to, totally.) I did at times find myself laughing at how obviously bad it was, though, and the poor editing. There we ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
"Pillar to the Sky" by William Forstchen is about building a space elevator. I started off thinking it would not be good but he surprised me. It turned out great.

The story: Two interns are working on a project together and they fall in love. The project is a space elevator and their dream captures the imagination of their professor and a financier. This thing gets built.

Any problems with this story? Well... it is straight forward. You know where this book is headed more or less and I thought tha
Marvin Mathiak
Jun 07, 2014 Marvin Mathiak rated it it was ok
“Pillar to the Sky” is a 180 degree departure from “One Second After”. One Second After was a gripping, plausible scenario following a very real threat to our civilization. Pillar to the Sky is an attempt to combine a basic formula written thriller with science fiction. It is not successful.

This formula written thriller has all the required parts: incredibly wealthy man, brilliant and courageous women, one brilliant man, villains posing threats, and stream of situations threatening imminent disa
Wesley Miravete
Good storyline, but drawn out

I loved the idea of a tower to space. I personally enjoy space travel and topics related to it, so this book was one I thought I would enjoy. However, many scenes, especially the speeches and arguments were drawn out too long. The content too was also repeated several times over in these scenes, making reading tedious and boring.

Besides that, I think this book deserves 3/5 stars because it's closer to being really good than really bad. Most of the content in the book
Oct 24, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to on CD.

Really enjoyed this novel about the building of a space elevator to Earth orbit. I hard about this idea when I read the Red Mars-Blue Mars-Green Mars books back in the '90's. Incidentally I did NOT read Green Mars. I didn't like the first two books all that much. Anyway, the story and characters are great and Forstchen does his usually spectacular job of mixing in history with his story.

Highly recommended.
Feb 14, 2014 David rated it it was ok
I'm disappointed in this book. At times the plot was choppy and too simplistic. I di like the main character but she was not as well fleshed out as she could have been. I'm hoping that Mr. Forstchen's sequel to "One Second After" will be as good as the original. Although there could be a sequel to this book I doubt that I would be inrerested in reading it.
Jun 02, 2014 Cam rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
I had to start skimming this one to finish it; not much to the plot or much in the way of interesting characters to keep interest up. The premise had been handled before as other reviewers have noted and it needs serious editing. I don't know why it was published now that I think about it. Was going to add to my "dnf" list, but gave it a second shot for a poolside read and it never caught on.
Wesley Tamkin
Aug 09, 2016 Wesley Tamkin rated it liked it
If you are really into thinking about the human struggle to get into space; you will most likely enjoy. Pretty good over all but for those who aren't highly interested in the subject it might feel slow and dry.
Mike Walsh
Jan 28, 2017 Mike Walsh rated it liked it
“Earth is the cradle, but we cannot remain in the cradle forever. It is time now to reach for the stars.”

This is a novel for dreamers that harkens back to a day of national pride in the exploration of the world beyond our world. It strikes at a nerve for those who believe our belief in the spirit of humankind has been displaced of late, especially with regard toward the unknown universe. It made me jealous of those alive in the 1960's to see the birth of the space program, and to see humanity li
Jan 26, 2017 Scott rated it liked it
It took me a while to finish this one, but I finally did. It's getting one of the lower scores I've given. I think it's misleading, but I'm trying for some consistency. I don't think it's a "C" level book. More like a "B" or a "B-". It is a broad sweeping future history of building a space elevator, the titular Pillar. The book starts with a congressional hearing on the proposal, and an anti-science, anti-space senator shoots it down in no uncertain terms. So a private businessman takes over the ...more
Mar 05, 2017 YardBoy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: visionaries and the hopeful
A story of hope, grit, perseverance, and an immigrant that everyone needs to read...and hopefully embrace.

I was drawn by some earlier review that recounted events that made America great: the Grand Coulee Dam, the Eisenhower Interstate highway system, putting humans on the Moon, etc. The premise and resolve of America [and the world] needing another great event is found within these pages. Our survival depends upon a "space elevator".
Jan 24, 2017 Brenda rated it it was ok
Oh so boring! It was touted as a "thriller" but nothing thrilling happened until page 400 and ended 3 or so pages later. The entire book could have been summarized in a couple of chapters as an introduction to a true thriller. Not sure if I'll try another book by this author. I'll read other reviews.
Jill James
Mar 10, 2017 Jill James rated it it was amazing
I'm a space nerd. I remember being a little kid watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I watched with my little daughter when Challenger blew up. I watch every movie about space travel and exploration. This book would sit at the top of my list. It wrung every heartstring of why we must get back to the stars. Our species depends on it.
Jan 18, 2017 Azizah rated it liked it
I liked the idea of this book. It was initially exciting but things started to get repetitive, which caused me to lose interest. I feel like some parts could have been trimmed down since they didn't add to the plot, though they did evoke pretty mental images.
Feb 18, 2017 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Another excellent work by Bill Forstchen...Hope to see more
Oct 25, 2016 Jackie rated it really liked it
I like science fiction, but there was a lot of description of how they built the pillar. I could have done without some of it.
Mar 06, 2017 John rated it it was amazing
I have not read a book by this author that I did not like.
Joyce Hertzoff
Jan 15, 2017 Joyce Hertzoff rated it really liked it
More like three and a half stars. There are so many mistakes in the science and too much repetition: info dumps that are then discussed or shown by action.
Kat  Hooper
Mar 04, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

While reading William R. Forstchen’s Pillar to the Sky, I kept thinking this is what would have happened if, back in the 1960’s, NASA had commissioned Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein to co-write a story that would get Americans excited about space exploration… and then forgot to send it to an editor. Pillar to the Sky has an exciting premise and an appealing nostalgic feel, but it’s marred by some annoying ed
Jun 11, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it
With all the problems facing Earth there’s only one place left to go - the sky. The space program has been gone for years but dreamers Gary Morgan, his wife Eva, and their daughter Victoria have plans to resume travel to the stars.

As graduate students, Gary and Eva conceive a plan to get humans back into space. They’ve thought of space elevator and have an ideas on how to get it implemented. With the help of their mentor Erich Rosenberg and billionaire Franklin Smith the couple will do all the r
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review can be read at Layers of Thought.

A science fiction novel that revolves around a seemingly fantastic concept – a space elevator that reaches from the equator to geosynchronous orbit and will help to solve many of the world’s problems. The technology is based on reasonable extrapolations of today’s science.

Description: The earth is beset by a range of seemingly unsolvable issues that spell future disaster – environmental crises abound, oil supplies are dwindling causing oil prices
Darren Vincent
Feb 11, 2015 Darren Vincent rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015

Is that a bad thing? Not really. Was this a good book? Well, I was entertained, but I didn't fly through it and it definitely wasn't a page-turner.

Lots of interesting science, which I love. I didn't understand it all but that was OK. The promise of the end-goal was enough to keep my reading but there were very few pages that left me wanting more or compelling me to get one more page in before I turned in for the day. The characters were well written but not 100% gro
Aug 11, 2015 Steve rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 29, 2015 thewestchestarian rated it liked it
"Pillar to the Sky" a novel brought to you by Constance Demby. Yes, if you are in the market for spacy classical music, try Constance Demby. She's classicaltastic!

Conservative novelist Forstchen, who loves classical composer Constance Demby enough to mention her and her various albums 4 times during this sci-fi Icelandic saga-length tale, brings us a idyllic daydream about the human species getting its collective act together and aspiring to something besides being a "celewebrity " or having it

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Unincorporated Woman (The Unincorporated Man)
  • A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty
  • Gardens of the Sun (The Quiet War #2)
  • Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction
  • Energized
  • Flight of the Eagle
  • Rogue Star (Firestar, #2)
  • Soulminder
  • A Song Called Youth
  • A Free People's Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future
  • Inherit the Stars
  • Rogue
  • Firestorm (Destroyermen, #6)
  • Shattered Trident (Jerry Mitchell, #4)
  • Broken Universe (Universe, #2)
  • Halo: Last Light
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur
  • The Waking Engine
William R. Forstchen (born 1950) is an American author who began publishing in 1983 with the novel Ice Prophet. He is a Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University with specializations in Military History, the American Civil War and the History of Technology.

Forstchen is the author of more than forty boo
More about William R. Forstchen...

Share This Book