Customer Reviews


17 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and fascinating
I love this book. It's a perfect demonstration that a novel can be exciting and enjoyable despite having no have detailed characters and not even a real plot. The book tells the tale of the building of a space elevator; characters appear and disappear and are purely functional; and Clarke describes events because they're interesting, not because they're 'essential' to the...
Published on 21 April 2001

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Politics, Sri Lanka and a Space Elevator: a solid 3 stars
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...
Published on 28 Aug 2010 by mrfrostylee


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Politics, Sri Lanka and a Space Elevator: a solid 3 stars, 28 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and fascinating, 21 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I love this book. It's a perfect demonstration that a novel can be exciting and enjoyable despite having no have detailed characters and not even a real plot. The book tells the tale of the building of a space elevator; characters appear and disappear and are purely functional; and Clarke describes events because they're interesting, not because they're 'essential' to the story. There's a brilliant passage about an alien space probe passing through the solar system, which has no relevance at all to the story, and yet is beautiful and engaging in its own right. What a strange, intriguing and amazing book. I read it when I was ten and I've never forgotten it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars An engineers dream came true., 10 Nov 1999
By A Customer
I have always wanted to review a Sci-fi book, this one I have read twice. The idea at the core of the novel is the space elevator,a bridge to the stars if you like. If you lower a cable from geo-stationary orbit,and anchor it to the Earths surface,you could run a lift up and down, ferrying supplies into space. This, so Clarke points out,would be at a fraction of the cost of using conventional rockets,and space shuttles. The idea is not so preposterous as it first sounds. Indeed it is quite visonary. The chief character, is an engineer called Vanaveer Morgan. The novel takes place around the middle of the 22nd Century,and continues during The space elevators construction. Before our hero can begin building his ultimate bridge to space. (There is only one suitable site in the World. Clarke takes an artistic licence here,and moves his home island Cylon,onto the equator and re-names it Taprobane.) Morgan has to secure land rites of a sacred mountain. Which just happens to have a Buddist monestary on it. I will not reveal any more of the plot,as it gets quite interesting. However I do highly recomend this book. If you love Science fiction, you will certainly enjoy this book. It reads like it really is happening,and I suspect will one day be built. At the time Clarke wrote this novel there was no known material with the tensile strength,strong enough to build a space elevator. However that has changed now with the discovery of carbon 60.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring a wondrous sci-fi concept, 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant visions, grounded in science and history, 25 Mar 2012
By 
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
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.
In this novel, Clarke combined his love of science with the love of the country he had come to call home. The idea of the space elevator is firmly based on hard physics (no transporter beams or other flights of fancy!).
I love the way that Clarke has interweaved the modern with the past. In the opening chapter, with the king in his palace and the monks on their mountain he conveys the timelessness and depth of history that Sri Lanka (thinly disguised as Taprobane for the novel) has to offer.
Even after many readings I can never read the passage where Morgan encounters the butterflies on the mountain without getting a shiver up my spine.
And last year I achieved my ambition to visit Sigiriya (the real-life Yakkagala) and see the places mentioned in the story for myself. Like the novel, they did not disappoint.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly his best, 15 Mar 2012
This review is from: Fountains of Paradise (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of vision, 28 April 2010
By 
C. JONES "CJ" (Swansea, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously plausible prediction, 5 April 2003
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
One of Clarke's running themes is that of Human Transcendence, a racial coming-of-age or puberty, during which we throw off the shackles of our irrational beliefs and, well, grow up.
'Childhood's End' saw the human race guided through this process by an ELDER RACE, while in '2001: A Space Oddity', a single human is transformed by an ELDER RACE and returned to Earth to do much the same thing. 'Fountains of Paradise' is as joyous as the aforementioned books and thought of by many as Clarke's best work.
The story follows engineer Vandevaar Morgan and his quest to build a space-elevator (see also Charles Sheffield's 'Web Between the Worlds' and Robinson's 'Red Mars'. Robinson named the termini of the elevator 'Clarke' and 'Sheffield' as a tribute to the authors of the earlier books) anchored on Earth on the equatorial island of Taprobane (based on Clarke's home of Sri Lanka).
It's interesting to note that in 1979 Clarke's boundless optimism leads him to believe that major religions will fall into decline. By the end of the book the Vatican is mentioned, in passing, as being virtually bankrupt.
Indeed, the concept of God is dealt a final lethal blow by information from a passing alien AI (representative of the obligatory ELDER RACE) which reduces religion to an aberrant condition common only to mammalian intelligent species and generally abandoned by those races at a particular level of social and scientific development. Clarke also presents no argument against the destruction of a millennia-old Buddhist monastery to make way for his space-elevator, which (a minor complaint) slightly detracts from his sound points about Mankind's immaturity with regard to organised religion, and seems at odds with the respect for history and tradition, which is shown to great effect elsewhere in the novel.
Sadly, with the events of September 11, 2001, his optimistic prediction of a world freed from the chains of religious belief now seem rather naive, as much as we would like to share in his hope for a rational future.
The narrative, initially, is sandwiched with the tale of King Kalidasa, who, two thousand years previously, created his own challenge to Heaven with the fabulous Palace of Yakkigala.
The brilliance of the book lies in the way Clarke takes a solid scientifically-provable principle and creates the reality of its potential for us. It is very likely that at some point in the future such a structure will be built.
It's an exciting and exhilarating thought, made all the more engrossing by Clarke's mastery of storytelling, the vividness of the setting, the attention to detail and the undoubted (for its time anyway) scientific accuracy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Clarke book, 3 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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. :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 9 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Fountains Of Paradise (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Arthur C. Clarke (Paperback - 12 Oct 2000)
5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews