December 13, 2019

Childhoods’ End by Arthur C. Clarke

   Childhoods’ End covers a broad swath of human history. Like Rendezvous with Rama it covers one of sci-fi’s most hollowed (or hackneyed?) themes; first contact with extraterrestials.  However, Clarke has a knack of approaching old saws in a fresh and I would say definitive manner.  Like a lot of earlier scifi novels, the beginning may seem somewhat dated; man hasn’t yet departed for the moon, and late 20th century problems like the Cold War and aparthied rear their ugly head.  However the alien Overlords are sent at first to nurture, quarantine and later on it becomes apparent, evolve and cultivate mankind.  Religous overtones are also evident;  the Overlords eventually reveal their physical selves to be much akin to a medival portrayal of the Devil.

    All in all, Childhood’s End stands in stark contrast to the thousands of bad “first contact” stories out there; as usual Clarke bites off a large swath of human history with great aplomb. This is definitely one of the masters’ best!       

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  1. [...] satellites before the space age. Some of our favorite books include Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End. Why aren’t these movies [...]

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