"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
The Fountains of Paradise is a great example of Clarke's writing style; great difficulties accompany any great enterprise, but the calm application of the scientific method and sound engineering principles will always prevail.
Clarke isn't kidding about the problem of space debris; it has been a known problem since the sixties. Clarke had one possible solution; fortunately, no orbiting fortresses with lasers have been placed in orbit (as far as we know!). Take a look at Terminator Tether - Electrodynamic Tether Solution to Space Debris for a more modern solution. If you want to know the next big piece coming your way, check out the Upcoming Reentries page.
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'Cultured brains on a slab.'
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'A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.'
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'... just as a small boy catches a swift ball in his cap.'
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'... he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit.'
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'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.'
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'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...'
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