A towering epic to rank with Douglas Preston's Blasphemy and Michael Crichton's Prey
Pandemic drought, skyrocketing oil prices, dwindling energy supplies, and wars of water scarcity threaten the planet. Only four people can prevent global chaos.
Gary Morgan - a brilliant renegade scientist pilloried by the scientific community for his belief in a space elevator: a pillar to the sky, which he believes will make space flight fast, simple, and affordable.
Eva Morgan - a brilliant and beautiful scientist of Ukranian descent, she has had a lifelong obsession to build a pillar to the sky, a vertiginous tower that would mine the power of the sun and supply humanity with cheap, limitless energy forever.
Gunther Rothenberg - the ancient but revered rocket scientist who labored at Peenemünde with von Braun to create the first rockets and continued on to build those of today. A legend, he has mentored Gary and Eva for two decades, nurturing and encouraging their transcendent vision.
Franklin Smith - the eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire who will champion their cause, wage war with Congress and government bureaucracy, and most important, finance their herculean undertaking.
This journey to the stars will not be easy; it will be a tumultuous struggle filled with violence and heroism, love and death, spellbinding beauty and heartbreaking betrayal. The stakes could not be higher. Humanity's salvation will hang in the balance.
©2014 William R. Forstchen (P)2014 Blackstone
I have read many of Mr Forstchen’s books and generally enjoyed them so, when I saw this book, I naturally added it to my wish list and, when I wanted something light to read, I bought it. The book purports to be a novel about the building of a space based platform allowing humans to both inexpensively bring objects into space and to collect unlimited solar power for distribution on earth, both worthy goals, but the story was a considerable disappointment to me.
First of all the book does not feel like a novel, but rather like a sales brochure for a set of ideas. The characters are comic book simple and one dimensional - either completely selfless, generous and kind or selfish, undeserving and evil hearted. It feels as though there are no real people in this book. Second, the situations in the book also do not feel real. While the underlying concept is probably scientifically sound and within reach of people in the next 20 or so years, the idea that a couple of people could produce the core functionality with the funds generated mostly by one individual seems wishful thinking at best and the idea that the hidden “lie” behind the first effort would not raise a legal ruckus and shut down the project just feels unreasonable. But, of course, the investors, all very wealthy people, are all selfless and willing to give and give and give, even when lied to. It is all a very pretty concept, but I would like to know what planet Mr Forstchen thought he was writing about.
There is more. There seems to be very little of the tension that often makes books interesting. There is virtually no question about what is going to happen, when it is going to happen and how it will be resolved. If this book had been included between the covers of a glossy brochure as a sales promotion for the idea of limitless power from solar cells, the elimination of Global Warming and the end of having to boost rockets into orbit I would understand how simplistic it felt. As it is I do not.
Grover Gardner does the narration and I believe it is impossible for him to do anything other than an outstanding job narrating anything, including this book, but I have always felt that his narration is best suited for books involving historic events - The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, The Civil War and so on. Wasting his talent on a book like this felt like having James Earl Jones do the voice-over for a cartoon - just a waste of his time and talent. So, in spite of his wonderful narration I cannot recommend this book.
This book is NOT anything like one second after so if you are expecting another post-apocalypse novel you'll be disappointed. However the story is still excellent. Lots of really interesting science "faction" more along the lines of Chriton's Jurassic Park, or Timeline.
A book filled with love and good feelings. The story is fresh, different, and exciting. I will keep this on my listen again list.
I don't believe that I have ever experienced a story which portrayed the heart and soul of an engineer or scientist with such compassion, admiration, and understanding.
if it were lyrics set to music it could be an anthem for all those who dream of building a future above the sky.
If you're someone who dreams of the day when we finally break free of Humanity's Cradle and reach out to the stars, this book is definitely for you.
If we do not build a pillar, we will die on this rock. We are at a dead end. At some near point in the future we will be unable to find the resources we need to complete a project like this, and once that happens we are no different than a person confined to a retirement home. Waiting for the unyielding end. Doing a project like this will be much easier if we do it while we still have oil.
I have long thought about space guns and elevators. The author gives a great view of the process of creating a space elevator, and the possibilities for earth if one were built.
I did not enjoy the story as much as I had hoped. Who knew scientists were so religious? As well, lots of repetition, to the point of annoyance. Narrator was quite good though.
I have read Mr. Forstchen's books in the past and was anticipating another winner. Sadly, I couldn't even get past part 1. It sounded the same for the first 6 hours of the story. I found myself distracted and bored. Just couldn't bring myself to listen to part 2. Sorry, this one is going back!
Reminded me of what love about Michael Crighton books. A technical journey wrapped in a great story with lovable characters.
Frank Smith because Morgan Freeman is awesome. :)
His accents are spot on.
"Absolutely loved despite the science flaws"
I am writing this before I get to the end because I am enjoying the ride so much, I very much doubt my rating will change but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
In principle the idea seems sound scientifically although I think there would be rather more obstacles in reality but what is really bugging me is the danger of the sharpness of carbon nanotubes. I get that a molecular scale tube would be so thin as to be sharp enough to slice through stuff (though it would have so little mass that this would not be a serious problem unless anchored and pulled tight). What I don't understand is why this is still a problem when woven into a thread 2mm wide, that's rather thicker than my watchstrap which is never in any danger of chopping off my hand. Someone please let me know if I have just misunderstood this (which is a theme used widely in the book).
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