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The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Book cover for The Fountains of Paradise
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.