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The Fountains of Paradise

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  22,998 Ratings  ·  535 Reviews
This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel is reissued in this trade paperback edition. 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 while allaying the wrath of God. Includes a new introduction by the author.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Aspect (first published 1979)
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Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my HUGO WINNERS list.

This is the reading list that follows the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I loved reading the Locus Sci-Fi Award winners so I'm going to crack on with the Hugo winners next (but only the post-1980 winners, I'll follow up with
Jun 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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
Althea Ann
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I was a kid, Arthur C. Clarke's 'The Fountains of Paradise' was one of my favorite books. I must've read it more than half a dozen times, checking it out from the library. The book has to do with the creation of a space elevator, and though I haven't read it, now, in over 30 years, I remember it dealing beautifully and sensitively with the conflicts between traditionalism and social and technological progress. It follows one scientist's 'impossible dream' to fulfillment, and although the en ...more
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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...
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've been a sci-fi fan from as far back as I can remember and I've read the major works of most of the better authors over the years. However, I bought this book years ago and, for some reason, it's sat languishing on my bookshelves, unread and getting dustier by the year. The book won the two major sci-fi awards, the Hugo and the Nebula, back when it was published in 1979, but the cover blurb never grabbed my interest enough to read it over the years.

So I finally got around to reading it and w
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, science
Where I've recently read one or two Hugo-winning novels recently that I may or may not have exactly wished were winners, I have no qualms in announcing that this 1980 winner is a real winner.

It's a true pleasure to read on several levels. While the official "story" sometimes feels a bit tacked on and ethereal, the themes and the characters and the science is all top-shelf goodness.

The themes and feels are well known for fans of A. C. Clarke. He has a serious devotion to space elevators, the redu
the gift
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

i remember this book as a kid, think got hardcover through science fiction book club, but have read it at least 3 times as an adult (since 17). 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 naive or just hopeful
Roman Kurys
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a boring book. Solid, as far as the story and writing goes, yes, which is why the 3 stars and not 2. (Although if we’re really honest, it’s more like a 2.5 stars). Boring nonetheless.

Phew. With that off my chest, I can now attempt to coherently talk about the rest of it. Hindsight is 20/20, and now I feel that this is probably not the best book to start discovering Arthur C. Clarke. Yes, I am saying I have not read anything by him before. Space Odyssey or RAMA books might have been a b
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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 b
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where should I start, If I could give it 4.5 stars I would, I really enjoyed the book, and after labouring for a month on my previous book, zipped through this (despite there still being sport on English TV).
I haven't read an A C Clarke book for a few years and this book just reminded me why I like him so much as an author, and why I have so many of his books (to re-read, OMG when will I get the time).
His descriptive powers are superb and I defy you not to be transferred to Taprobane, or to see
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
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.
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scince, fiction
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 تخیلی ا
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
Fountains of Paradise

After reading the first few chapters, I forgot that it was an A. C. Clarke novel I held in my hands. It felt more like something from Poul Anderson or Robert Silverberg - Kings, Princes in an exotic subtropical landscape and such... However, by the second half of the novel, the lengthy talk of the building of a tower or space elevator or vertical bridge or stairway to heaven, it was clear that this was what I expected from a Clarke novel.

I read somewhere that this was Clarke
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
Ben Loory
I never really like Arthur C. Clarke books, but I always like Arthur C. Clarke. There's a warmth and a hope to his relentless rationality, a kind of calm, dis/believing center to his scientific outlook, which I find charming even while his stories usually plod slowly and relentlessly onward, eventually boring the shit out of me. This whole book comes down to an aging scientist with a heart condition attempting to disengage a really heavy battery from the underside of a stuck elevator. Which is.. ...more
Aleksandar Janjic
Прво сам написао подужи увод у коме хвалим нека друга дјела Артура Кларка, али онда сам га избрисао. Мрш тамо. Написао си лошу књигу и зато ћеш да будеш критикован и шта ја имам да се правдам било коме.

Овако: Овде се ради о изградњи некаквог 36 хиљада километара високог свемирског лифта. Извјесни инжењер Ваневар Морган (глупог ли имена), познат по изградњи некаквог огромног моста, долази на идеју да направи тако нешто не би ли се товар достављао неким сателитима на ефикаснији начин него да се к
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Engineers, monks, old men who retire to Sri Lanka
There are some great authors I am just never going to love, and Arthur C. Clarke is one of them. This Hugo-winning 1979 novel helped popularize the "space elevator" that has been reused many times in science fiction (though I don't think Clarke actually invented the idea). Last I heard, an actual space elevator is still considered to be barely more feasible than a generation ship - something we might theoretically be capable of building, but with any foreseeable technology, completely unfeasible ...more
Mike Moore
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer Ochoa
Jul 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
DNF. I keep trying to find the Clarke I fell in love with, when I read 2001 (and subsequent books in that series), but I'm beginning to think that Stanley Kubrick's influence on the novel (the movie and novel were created in parallel) is really what I fell in love with.

Got 50% through and just didn't feel *anything* for the book. Dry sci-fi. It reminds me of his Rama series, but without the human element that allowed me to push through.
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Ami Iida
Nov 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
the idea of Space Elevator is excellent!
the video

it will be realized forward the future.
But the plot in the novel is usual.

Noah Goats
Arthur C. Clarke is actually a pretty terrible novelist. After reading a few of his novels in the past year, two of his weaknesses have become perfectly apparent: he is incapable of creating an interesting, likable, sympathetic character, and he has no idea of how to build an engaging plot. What he’s good at is using fiction to spin out his ideas about science and what contact with alien lifeforms might be like. But this will only get you so far, and in the Fountains of Paradise it isn’t far eno ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it

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
Mike Thomas
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C Clarke 21 91 Nov 06, 2015 01:39PM  
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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
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