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The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Kindle Edition]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

One of Clarke's most famous and acclaimed novels, winner of both the HUGO AWARD and the NEBULA AWARD

In the 22nd century visionary scientist Vannevar Morgan conceives the most grandiose engineering project of all time, and one which will revolutionize the future of humankind of space: a Space Elevator, 36,000 kilometres high, anchored to an equatorial island in the Indian Ocean.

Winner of the HUGO AWARD for best novel, 1980
Winner of the NEBULA AWARD for best novel, 1979


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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Originally The Fountains of Paradise was intended to be Arthur C. Clarke's last novel, before the author came out of "retirement" to pen 2010: Odyssey Two. It is also one of his best, and being set in a fictionalised version of Clarke's adopted home of Sri Lanka, one of his most personal. The story is based around the fantastical yet scientifically supportable idea of a "Space Elevator", a "tower" from the earth to geo-stationary orbit, 23 000 miles "high". The purpose is to make access to space routine, safe and cheap, and the 22nd century-set novel essentially follows Vannevar Morgan in his quest to complete this monumental project.

There are grand set-pieces worthy of the best adventure story, a generous scattering of fascinating speculations and observations and, of course, Clarke's famous eye for the epic vistas inherent in large-scale science fiction:

Slowly his eyes adapted, and in the depths of the mirror a faint red glow began to burn, and spread, and consume the stars. It grew brighter and brighter and flowed beyond the limits of the mirror; now he could see directly, for it extended halfway down the sky. A cage of light, with flickering, moving bars, was descending upon the earth.
As much the novel of a poet as that of a scientist, The Fountains of Paradise makes striking use of the sometimes haunting history of Sri Lanka, a device echoed by Kathleen Ann Goonan in her Hawaiian set novel, The Bones of Time. Anyone seriously interested in great science fiction should really have both these books in their collection. --Gary S. Dalkin

Amazon Review

Originally The Fountains of Paradise was intended to be Arthur C. Clarke's last novel, before the author came out of "retirement" to pen 2010: Odyssey Two. It is also one of his best, and being set in a fictionalised version of Clarke's adopted home of Sri Lanka, one of his most personal. The story is based around the fantastical yet scientifically supportable idea of a "Space Elevator", a "tower" from the earth to geo-stationary orbit, 23 000 miles "high". The purpose is to make access to space routine, safe and cheap, and the 22nd century-set novel essentially follows Vannevar Morgan in his quest to complete this monumental project.

There are grand set-pieces worthy of the best adventure story, a generous scattering of fascinating speculations and observations and, of course, Clarke's famous eye for the epic vistas inherent in large-scale science fiction:

Slowly his eyes adapted, and in the depths of the mirror a faint red glow began to burn, and spread, and consume the stars. It grew brighter and brighter and flowed beyond the limits of the mirror; now he could see directly, for it extended halfway down the sky. A cage of light, with flickering, moving bars, was descending upon the earth.
As much the novel of a poet as that of a scientist, The Fountains of Paradise makes striking use of the sometimes haunting history of Sri Lanka, a device echoed by Kathleen Ann Goonan in her Hawaiian set novel, The Bones of Time. Anyone seriously interested in great science fiction should really have both these books in their collection. --Gary S. Dalkin

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 651 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446677949
  • Publisher: Gateway; New Ed edition (19 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007FXIBV0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,751 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in Somerset in 1917, Arthur C. Clarke has written over sixty books, among which are the science fiction classics 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars and Rendezvous With Rama. He has won all the most prestigious science fiction trophies, and shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of the film of 2001. He was knighted in 1998. He died in 2008 at his home in Sri Lanka.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have read a few of A.C. Clarke's works now and unfortunately, for me at least, this isn't the best. Without spoiling the plot itself it's a well written account of how a space elevator would be constructed, woven around the ambitions of the central character. It's set in Clarke's take on Sri Lanka (which he expounds well at the end of the book) and as usual he counjours up his colourful and well furnished mental tapestries brilliantly. The only real problems for me were firstly that the central character, while not lacking depth, very much lacked likeability. This is always important for me in this type of fairly hard science sci-fi. Obviously this is just personal taste, though. The second problem and one that is not Clarke's fault is that I have only recently finished Green Mars, the second installment in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. Again this is a fairly hard science story but written in the earliy 90's much later than this. The first book (Red Mars) also includes an in depth account of space elevator construction and is obviously influenced by Clarke's work. This is not Clarke's fualt but my own. I've just had a belly full of the concept for now. I can fully inderstand how so many people can love this book. At the time it was written it was groundbreaking and if you haven't read much Clarke or sci-fi then you will probably love this. Don't let this review put you off anyway as this may be your cup of tea. It is certainly worth the reading effort and a must for the hardcore Clarke fan also. Personally, though, I preferred The City And The Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly his best 15 Mar. 2012
Format:Paperback
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 intelligent men had addled their minds for centuries.'

I think this is Clarke's most personal book. Set in the fictional land of Taprabone, which is about 90% Sri Lanka according to the author, it's rich and vivid with detail about the land that he adopted as his home. It also comes as near as Clarke ever came to describing his personal life, the transcendent joy he felt while diving, weightless, adrift from all his worries; the being carried around the house by his personal staff. (Clarke suffered from polio and was wheelchair-bound for many years.)

Clarke is not at is best when describing politics and world affairs in his envisioned 22nd century. He is at his brilliant best when he is describing people in their battles with the laws of physics, and with technological dreams, and with envisioning alien life. This book starts in his weaker area but ends in his strongest. I think Rendezvous with Rama was better; but this is one of his best, and certainly his most revealing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of vision 28 April 2010
Format:Paperback
The physics of a possible space-elevator are certainly beyond me, and when Arthur tells me something is feasible based on scientific evidence I tend to take it on trust. What I do understand are the human and spiritual sides of Arthur's novels. I like the way he addresses the religion issue. The future of human faith is very much at the centre of his work, albeit founded on the bedrock of scientific advances.

The society we encounter in this book seems to espouse high levels of nobility and self-sacrifice. We do not experience criminality or self-interest to any great extent in the characters. In a more mainstream novel this might be seen as a weakness, but in Arthur's case we may prefer to view this as aspirational. Life isn't like this - yet - but wouldn't it be great if it was? For comparison purposes, the book includes flashbacks to the ancient civilization that stood on the site of the proposed space-elevator.

Like much of Arthur's science fiction (I'm thinking of the Space Odyssey novels particularly), this is very much a projection of the very best possible future for mankind, and the hopes expressed certainly lend a poetic quality to his stories.

The captivating simplicity of this novel's central theme is its chief strength. It is not a particularly fast-moving story, yet Vannevar Morgan's ultimate goal of creating a ride to the stars in a lift is such a stunning notion that you want to know everything about it.

There is a school of thought that says that science fiction can never be described as "literature". I am less certain, particularly in the case of Arthur's works. I believe time will be kind to them, and they may even end up as staples of the English Lit syllabus in more enlightened times to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring a wondrous sci-fi concept 11 July 2013
Format:Paperback
After having read a time-travel classic (The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov) I've explored another enticing sci-fi concept, the space elevator. And Arthur C. Clarke does a fantastic job (as usual) in explaining all the intricacies of building such a technological wonder. For those not familiar with it, a space elevator is basically a cable that stretches from an earth base to a space base in geosynchronous orbit around our planet. It is not difficult to understand the tremendous benefits such a construction would provide to space exploration, as ferrying cargo to space and back would be a much simpler business. One especially interesting thing that Arthur C. Clarke points out is the efficiency of such a system, energy wise. In fact, much of the energy spent would be recovered with the breaking system when the elevator returned to earth!
In Fountains of Paradise we accompany this engineering (and also political) endeavor with Vannevar Morgan, while digging deep into a Taprobane origins (a fictional country very much resembling Clark's home of Sri Lanka). While Clark wanders a bit here and there, the end result is a beautiful sci-fi tale, very well seasoned with physics, mysticism and politics. Like many of Clarke's other books, he manages to make such an advanced structure a plausible feat in the years to come. Let's hope so!
After some thought I'll give it a solid 4, out of 5.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel from an accomplished scientist and a masterful writer.
This is one of Arthur C Clarke's finest novels, up there with 'Rendezvous With Rama' and 'The Ghost From The Grand Banks'. Read more
Published 11 days ago by James Brydon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story, book less sturdy
Published 2 months ago by J. Leach
5.0 out of 5 stars will be delighted too.
This is a most welcome find and purchase for my Sci-Fi mad son who although being grown up deserves a birthday present still. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mme Sosostris
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Perfect for hollydays
Published 8 months ago by Julius
3.0 out of 5 stars Review
Not as good as 2001 but worth reading
Published 13 months ago by dg
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Clarke book
I love the story and the fact its not just the usual 'in space' stuff. This book has long been my favourite Arthur C Clarke book and I am very pleased that its on Kindle at last. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Brewhexe
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Fab great read classic and came in good condition. Would recomend read from Arthur C Clarke's great imagination ideal for a nice day off into escapism
Published on 9 May 2013 by Autumn
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Arthur Clarke novel.
Although it's a bit old you cannot say the plot is dated. Mr Clarke introduced a new twist to reaching orbit! Always a good read.
Published on 5 Dec. 2012 by Aldebaran
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant visions, grounded in science and history
I read this book when it first appeared, many years back, and it inspired me with a desire to visit Sri Lanka one day, to see the places mentioned in the book. Read more
Published on 25 Mar. 2012 by quillerpen
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Sci-Fi classic
Fountains of Paradise (S.F. Masterworks)Just as Arthur C Clarke predicted the communications satellite, in this book he postulates a space elevator as the method by which man will... Read more
Published on 10 May 2011 by Jaydax
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