Tags: arthur c. clarke


Book Review: The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke

Building a space elevator is not as interesting as it sounds.

The Fountains of Paradise

Harcourt Brace, 1979, 245 pages

Vannemar Morgan's dream is to link Earth to the stars with the greatest engineering feat of all time: 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. For the only possible site on the planet for Morgans Orbital Tower is the monastery atop the Sacred Mountain of Sri Kanda.

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Also by Arthur C. Clarke: My review of Rendezvous with Rama.

My complete list of book reviews.

Book Review: Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

One-line summary: A massive artificial world drifts into our solar system in this Nebula, Hugo, Locus, and Campbell winner.


Goodreads: Average: 3.89. Mode: 4 stars.
Amazon: Average: 4.3. Mode: 5 stars.

At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at an inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams... and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits — just behind a Raman airlock door.

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Verdict: Some classics should be read because they're classics, not because they're among the best books you're ever going to read, and that's how I felt about this highly venerated sci-fi classic. Clarke has just never been one of my favorites, and while there are fans who still get a sense of wonder out of his books, I think Rendezvous with Rama was probably more impressive back in the days before any graphic arts major could create stunning video clips of alien planets and enormous spaceships.