zondag 11 juni 2017

"The Fountains of Paradise" by Arthur C. Clarke

"Here, at the foot of the rock, he had conceived and created Paradise. It only remained, upon its summit, to build Heaven."

Most popular science fiction has interesting stories that are put into a futuristic setting. Many readers are put off by this, but if you take away that setting, the stories could easily be told in other settings and just be westerns, war stories or what have you. But lots of science fiction is actually about the science itself. The implications of the progress of science is the core of the story. Arthur C. Clarke was without any doubt one of the best authors of this so-called hard SF.

I'm not a science buff, and there are a lot of ideas in science fiction stories that I don't find particularly interesting. But Arthur C. Clarke could always tell his story with so much enthusiasm, that you can't help but get very much involved. This is also what happens in "The Fountains of Paradise". To be honest, the obsession of an engineer to build an elevator into space wasn't an idea that I thought sounded very exciting. But again he builds a solid story around it, with an interesting main character and more than enough intrigue and conflict to keep everyone happy.

"The Fountains of Paradise" won Clarke both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and although I don't think it's his best novel, it's indespensible for anyone who likes this kind of old-fashioned science fiction storytelling.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Title: The Fountains of Paradise
Publisher: Gollancz, London
Year: 2004 (orig. 1980)
Number of pages: 258 p.
ISBN: 1857987217

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