Author: William R. Forstchen

Publisher: A Tor Book

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3438-1

As today’s world becomes more volatile and unpredictable, author William Forstchen puts forth a fascinating possibility in a gripping thriller that touches on the reality of our dependence on fossil fuel and reliable sources of electricity as well as the ongoing threat of war in the Middle East and concern about global warming.

NASA and its team of scientists, led by astrophysicist Dr. Gary Morgan and his aerospace engineer wife, Dr. Eva Morgan, have been working on a unique project: a space elevator that would reach from the equator to geosynchronous orbit - 23,000 miles above the earth!  When funding is blocked by the Senate, a top NASA administrator becomes its nemesis, encouraging others to thwart the project. But, when their mentor, Gunther Rothenberg and multibillionaire Franklin Smith who becomes the financial backer of the space elevator project, enter the scene, the “Pillar to the Sky” project is back-on with a passion and total commitment.

It’s a riveting story with stories of heroism, betrayal, love, action, history, death, adventure, political subterfuge, science, sacrifice, Parkinson’s disease, spirituality and even a space mutiny and Anglican funeral liturgy in space!

Throughout the book, fascinating words and phrases (maglev, geosynch, thesis of disruptive technology) quickly become familiar and add to the intrigue of the book as old paradigms fade away and new possibilities emerge through the imagination of its creative and visionary author.  And just when the future of the Pillar to the Sky seems hopeless, Dr. Gary and Dr. Eva Morgan’s daughter, Victoria, earns her PhD, and becomes an outspoken and passionate partner in the Pillar to the Sky program, challenging Senators, confronting the media, advocating for the Pillar to the Sky and in an unexpected and intriguing turn of events, experiences what her father experienced in space.

If a space elevator - a pathway to the heavens - were possible, scientists behind the Pillar to the Sky project believed that it could hardwire energy from space, offer a source of near limitless access to energy, provide a low gravity environment for the mobility-challenged, and even offer retirement communities of the future ... not to mention what the arts, sports, tourism, recreation and spirituality could bring to bear.  What poems could be written - music could be composed - dances choreographed - artwork created with the stars literally surrounding you!  While it's a narrative that seems so far "out there,” who would have guessed twenty years ago where research in the realm of nanotechnology and the manipulation of carbon chain molecules have taken us today?  

Is this book plausible?  Is the project viable?  Is it possible that someday there could be a Pillar to the Sky?  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War 11 had as its motto: “The impossible takes a little longer.”  Forstchen wrote that there is a “debate between those who say it is impossible and those who dream it is not. The one reaches up, while the other keeps their feet on the ground.”  Who are we to doubt the possibilities this book proposes?  

Today, Pillar to the Sky is a novel - a fascinating, compelling and plausible work.  Twenty years from now, it could be touted as George Orwell’s 1984 and not only be an early blueprint for the first space elevator bringing a sense of global peace, but visioning hope for the future of Planet Earth’s survival.

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