- Aug 24, 2008
In the world of fabulous technologies that dot the SF landscape, one stands out as truly inspiring, and maybe even attainable: The Space Elevator. Not only does the concept of the space elevator lend itself to dreams of glory similar to those achieved with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, but the degree to which our civilization would be transformed by its completion is just staggering to comprehend. Complete that thought with the notion that we have almost achieved a level of technology suitable to build the thing, and the mind goes wild with possibilities. This week's selected book, The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke is a realistic and passable yet unfortunately melodramatic hard-SF exploration of what it may take to design and construct the Earth's first space elevator. This book is one of Clarke's later novels, and in the minds of many it was his last good one. I think that it has some pretty big problems, though most arose out of the author's attitude and intent, not his prose and ideas. This is a tough call. I love Clarke, and this was, in his own words, his favorite among the novels he wrote. Technically it was superb, but it was so full of wide-eyed-wonder and so obviously a wish-fulfillment vehicle that it left me annoyed, wishing for better...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..