The Fountains of Paradise is a Hugo and Nebula Award winning 1979 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the 22nd century, it describes the construction of a space elevator. This "orbital tower" is a giant structure rising from the ground and linking with a satellite in geostationary orbit at the height of approximately 36,000 kilometers (approx. 22,300 miles). Such a structure would be used to raise payloads to orbit without having to use rockets, making it much more cost-effective.
In the 22nd century, Dr Vannevar Morgan is a famous structural engineer who hopes to develop the 'space elevator' from a theoretical concept to reality and enlists the resources of his employers to carry out experiments. But the only suitable starting point (Earth station) for the elevator lies at the summit of a mountain in Taprobane occupied by an ancient order of Buddhist monks who implacably oppose the plan.
Morgan is approached by a Mars-based consortium to develop the elevator on Mars as part of a massive terraforming project. To demonstrate the viability of the technology, Morgan tries to run a thin cable of ‘hyperfilament’ from an orbital factory down to ground level at Taprobane. A monk at the...