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Pillar to the Sky

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 ratings  ·  168 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,357 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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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 rated it liked it
Interesting idea poorly executed. Could have used more thorough editing.
Sep 21, 2014 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
Oct 23, 2015 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
Nancy Ellis
Feb 22, 2017 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
Preston M.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of it was hard to understand, because it is really geeky. The story was, however, really good. There was so much drama in this book. It's sooo hard to actually achieve your life goals, but the main characters did it. I thought that made this book pretty good. ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This is a five star premise packed into a narrative that just squeaks two. And I may go back and downgrade. We'll see. Pillar to the Sky is the story of two engineers, Dr. Gary Morgan and Dr. Eva Petrenko-Morgan, who want to build a space tower. Their friend, one of the richest men on Earth, Franklin Smith, raises $100 billion to get them started. Super Japanese scientist invents carbon nano-tubes that can be sewn into laminated ribbons and suddenly a 23,000 kilometer tower with a platform in ge ...more
Dan Needles
Jun 14, 2014 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
Jun 02, 2014 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. ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was so good, how did I not know of this book before?!
Kat  Hooper
Mar 04, 2014 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
John Mercurio
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to know how the space elevator might be constructed? Read this entertaining saga of how scientists and entrepreneurs realized the world changing dream. Lots of drama and detail here!

In all punniness, it’s an uplifting tale.
Alex Shrugged
Jun 16, 2014 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 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
Roger Huddleston
Jun 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Take an imaginative sci-fi concept with the possibility to transform the world we live in, bog it down with tedious political hearings, shark-tank-like sales pitches, trite dialogue, implementation obstacles (ala The Martian), and Presto! - Pillar to the Sky!
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 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. ...more
Aug 09, 2016 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. ...more
Mike Walsh
Jan 28, 2017 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
Russ Jarvis
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, science
I've enjoyed William Forstchen's work since I first discovered his Lost Regiment mega series quite a few years ago. I've preferred his alternative histories to Harry Turtledove's. He stays with the action while Turtledove lets his fascination with the minutia of his characters and their connections slow everything way down.

Forstchen's characters and their relationships were engaging and I found myself caring about their success. The science was believable and the overall impact of the story was
David H.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
It snowed a few days ago here in southern central Virginia. For two days, I was home bound with nine inches of snow outside. I vowed that I would finish Pillar To The Sky no matter how much suffering was involved. I tried as hard as humanly possible but still did not finish until a few minutes ago. The snow, the cabin fever and this horribly over written novel inspired me to describe what reading this book felt like. Imagine that this book is a snow covered hill. It is a 396 page hill, so it wil ...more
John Darling
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book in the clearance section of Barnes and Noble and was excited to get it for a great price! The cover and description on the back cover immediately grabbed my attention prompting me to pick it up. I was a little wary of reading it after I read some of the previous reviews posted on Amazon however, I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did. I’m proud to give this book 4 stars as it was a gripping story wrapped around a fantastic concept.

Pillar to the Sky centers around a no
David Caldwell
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A group of scientist and their billionaire backer set out to build a space elevator. A tower that stretches from the ground out beyond the atmosphere into space. The project will take decades and billions and billions of dollars in investment. In addition it will face opposition from many fronts.

This is a hard science fiction story. In other words, the science in the book is real-if just a little beyond our current grasp instead of more soft science fiction where you find warp drives, time trav
Brent Morrison
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
As usual, Forstchen takes a decent story idea and then almost ruins it by inserting his usual stock cliched characters. I can never figure this guy out, he is obviously someone who considers himself a right wing conservative, at least one would assume that from whose names he regularly drops, and who help flog his books. And yet he seems to feel it absolutely necessary to insert the usual Hollywood type cliches ... brilliant, extremely wealthy, but oh so generous and righteously good-hearted bla ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I had read William Forstchen's three books in the "One Second After" speculative fiction surrounding an EMP attack on the U.S. The first book was great, the second terrible and the third back to good to great.

Decided to give him another shot with "Pillar to the Sky" (also speculative fiction), with the story line centered around the design and construction of a space elevator, and its impact on society both good and bad.

Like other books by the author, there is a lot of "dead space." That is, the
Stephanie Keil
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Pillar to the Sky
Forstchen, William R.
Three Stars
If you like the science in science fiction then you should consider this book. As a hard science fiction fan myself I enjoyed the science in the book. The author has a Ph.D. in History, specializing in the history of technology and military history. This book has the history of technology and military history woven throughout the book so it educates as well as entertains. *SPOILER ALERT* I also liked the way the author handled Gary, a person di
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is probably one of the worst books I've ever read. The premise of the book was good: let's figure out how to build a space elevator. But all of the characters were incredibly one-dimensional cliches (including the new Elon Musk archetype), there was pointless scene after pointless scene, everyone had a three page long inspiring monologue ready to go at the drop of the hat (even when on the brink of death), everybody's arguments (protagonist and antagonist) were exactly the same thoughout th ...more
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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

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