Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fountains of Paradise

Textural. Multi-layered. Just as a painter creates using layers of color and texture and a composer creates using multiple instruments, Arthur C. Clarke used thin chapters to create an experience in the 1980 Hugo Award and 1979 Nebula Award winning novel The Fountains of Paradise. I wish I had known that when I began reading the novel; for days I could not get into it. Finally I read a chapter that involved yellow butterflies, and the novel seemed to click for me.

The melody of the novel is the plot of an engineer who wants to build a type of space elevator. Some of the other layers include: first contact with aliens, the legacy of the fountains, a monastery built on the very mountain on which the engineer wants to build the elevator.

The science was interesting for me. Although the novel contained an appealing childhood back-story, there was not as much character development as I prefer. I am glad I read The Foundations of Paradise because it showed me yet another way of writing a novel.

No comments: