✷ Childhood's End Epub ✺ Author Arthur C. Clarke – Prestigelakesidehabitat.info

Childhood's End Arthur C Clarke S Classic In Which He Ponders Humanity S Future And Possible EvolutionWhen The Silent Spacecraft Arrived And Took The Light From The World, No One Knew What To Expect But, Although The Overlords Kept Themselves Hidden From Man, They Had Come To Unite A Warring World And To Offer An End To Poverty And Crime When They Finally Showed Themselves It Was A Shock, But One That Humankind Could Now Cope With, And An Era Of Peace, Prosperity And Endless Leisure Began But The Children Of This Utopia Dream Strange Dreams Of Distant Suns And Alien Planets, And Begin To Evolve Into Something Incomprehensible To Their Parents, And Soon They Will Be Ready To Join The Overmind And, In A Grand And Thrilling Metaphysical Climax, Leave The Earth Behind This is a strange and beautiful novel Written in the early 1950s some 15 years before 2001 A Space Odyssey , it is, with Asimov s overrated Foundation, Bradbury s superb The Martian Chronicles and a few others, one of the significant works of sci fi s Golden Age Oddly enough, apart from a few plot irregularities and the outlandish author s naivety regarding the paranormal and the occult, Arthur C Clarke s story does not feel a day older The plot, based on a few episodes scattered in This is a strange and beautiful novel Written in the early 1950s some 15 years before 2001 A Space Odyssey , it is, with Asimov s overrated Foundation, Bradbury s superb The Martian Chronicles and a few others, one of the significant works of sci fi s Golden Age Oddly enough, apart from a few plot irregularities and the outlandish author s naivety regarding the paranormal and the occult, Arthur C Clarke s story does not feel a day older The plot, based on a few episodes scattered in time as in 2001 , has some unexpected twists and turns it is not easy to talk about it without giving the game away Let s say that it starts with a situation that, since this book, has become commonplace in SF literature and film alien UFOs descend from space and park themselves over the major cities on Earth a vision inspired by the barrage balloons Clarke had seen hovering above London during the Blitz in 1941 However, there is neither destructive attacks cf The War of the Worlds, V, Independence Day nor strange signs coming out of these spaceships cf Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Arrival Stories of Your Life In this instance, the aliens bestow utopia upon humanity Later on, after a few leaps forward in time and through the generations, we will understand how this new heaven on Earth was humanity s swan song.Arthur Clarke s style as that of many other SF writers of the day is explicit, plain, nondescript, almost flat He manages nonetheless to make his story perfectly lively and suspenseful But the real masterstroke of this novel is indeed the ending, in which, as we witness the last moments of our planet, the story takes a genuinely Dantesque and sublime dimension, evocative of the majestic and unfathomable vistas into the future imagined by Olaf Stapledon in Star Maker and Last and First Men, or by Teilhard de Chardin in Le Ph nom ne humain This is the essence of a true masterpiece in its genre.Quite recently, Syfy released a four hour miniseries, based on Arthur Clarke s novel, which I have still to see As someone prophetically says in the novel, it has become a full time job keeping up with the various family serials on TV Edit Just watched the Syfy TV show mentioned earlier It is, roughly speaking, true to the structure of the novel three episodes, one for each section of the book, and a plotline that thins down but doesn t deviate too much from Clarke s vision The imagery is reminiscent of Kubrick 2001 , Spielberg Close Encounters and Carpenter Village of the Damned However, the screenwriters have obviously considered appropriate to elaborate on the main characters love lives Stormgren, Rodricks and Greggson, in particular and indulged in a melodramatic tone that, unfortunately, bogs the whole thing down No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart The United States and the Soviet Union were in the midst of a military space race when large ships appeared in the skies over al No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart The United States and the Soviet Union were in the midst of a military space race when large ships appeared in the skies over all the major cities The aliens have come to keep humans from annihilating themselves An act of altruism Or do they have another agenda The press dubs them THE OVERLORDS, but they much prefer to refer to themselves as The Guardians They allow humans to govern themselves by whatever means they feel comfortable unless policy decisions involve hurting peopleMan s beliefs were his own affair, so long as they did not interfere with the liberty of othersThe Overlords also did not approve of hurting animals for sport In Madrid, when the Spaniards insist on continuing to hold bullfights, a lesson is administered Every time the bull is stabbed, the pain the animal is feeling is transferred to the audience Nobullfights.Robotics and computers are advanced to the point that humans are only needed as overseers Work weeks are cut down to twenty hours a week OMG sign me UP People are encouraged to go to college, to develop hobbies and skills, and even go back to school several times over their lifetimes to learn something completely newThe existence of so much leisure would have created tremendous problems a century before Education had overcome most of these, for a well stocked mind is safe from boredom And for a while the excitement of improving themselves keeps the humans on a spectacular track of not only bettering themselves, but also evolving civilization Murder has become almost nonexistent, and when passion inspires such aggression, it is only the matter of turning a dial for The Overlords to find the perpetrator When I google NSA, the National Security Agency of course comes up, but so does No Strings Attached, which I found very ironic Given the range and the depth of what the NSA knows about all of us, not just US citizens by the way, maybe we should start applying the term The Overlords to the United States government It would be nice if they would convert all this information into something practical, like catching murderers Knowing how these things work, they may not want us to know that they are capable of doing that We might get fearful of our government Barrage balloons over London during World War II Clarke observed balloons like these floating over the city in 1941 He recalls that his earliest idea for the story may have originated with this scene, with the giant balloons becoming alien ships in the novel.It seems to be the fate of all Utopias to turn leisure into sloth and turn unlimited possibilities into boredom Interesting that Arthur C Clarke uses the advancement of Television technology to be a major contributor to the degradation of a perfect society People became passive sponges absorbing but never creatingClarke mentions that people in this society started watching television three hours per day Rookies The latest statistics that I saw mentioned that Americans now watch five hours of television a day on average.Obviously, I don t watch television five hours a day as can be ascertained by how many books I read a year If the Kansas City Royals are playing, I do watch about three hours, but I m also still reading and researching while the game is on Baseball is the perfect background noise for doing just about anything, including taking a much needed nap to rest the noggin for a few minutes When people ask me how I read so many books a year and still work full time, I usually ask them how much time they spend watching television or playing with their cell phone or playing games on their iPad Everyone has the same number of hours in their day it just depends on how you choose to use them I choose to read People who read fewer books than me are making different choices or in some cases may haveobligations Of course, this is relevant only because I see reading as the best way to evolve the mind I m old fashioned that wayThere were some things that only time could cure Evil men could be destroyed, but nothing could be done with good men who were deluded There are concerns voiced by various religious groups and also by people who are not thrilled about humans losing their ability to govern themselves, but for the majority of people the lack of responsibility and the lack of ambition to succeed are concepts they readily embrace A society that was evolving to the greatest heights of artistic and progressive achievements starts to prefer apathy The Overlords are very careful to control what the humans learn about them A man named Jan Rodericks stows away on one of their ships and sees a world he can barely comprehendAnd in its sky was such a sun as no opium eater could ever have imagined in his wildest dreams Too hot to be white, it was a searing ghost at the frontiers of the ultraviolet, burning its planets with radiations which would be instantly lethal to all earthly forms of life For millions of kilometers around extended great veils of gas and dust, fluorescing in countless colors as the blasts of ultraviolet tore through them It was a star against which Earth s pale sun would have been as feeble as a glowworm at noon In one of those time travelling, mind bending events that I always have trouble fully comprehending, Jan only ages a few months, but has missed eighty years on Earth The Overlords make allusion to the fact that science can destroy religions, but that science is not the top of the mountain, but only a stepping stone to a much greater understanding of life They search through our archives looking for information on the paranormal and other elements that have been written about outside the realm of science When the children of earth start to develop telekinetic powers, the true reasons for The Overlords being our guardians becomes clear We also learn that the Overlords defer to another power much greater than their own capabilities called The Overmind I caught a commercial for the six hour miniseries that the Syfy Channel is planning to launch in December and realized that I have hauled a copy of this book around with me for a couple of decades without reading it Sometimes we need onepush As always I m impressed with Arthur C Clarke s ability to tackle the bigger issues and to be somewhat controversial in his presentation of the best and worst of being human It does seem that we are incapable of possessing true happiness for very long We are designed for strife, for pain, for joy, and ambitious achievement When any of those elements are removed from the equation, we start to falter Joy can only be fully appreciated if we experience pain Ambition can only be relished if strife was overcome to achieve it As The Overlords fix all the problems, there is a huge cost, too big of a cost, in that we lose what makes us unique It is disappointing to think that harmony and lack of fear will turn us into beings unworthy of admiration When defense is no longer a primary objective, it is disheartening to believe that the energy previously expended on security can not be transferred to higher levels of achievement in the arts, philosophy, music, and literature To be the best that we can be, we still need the growl of the Sabretooth tiger coming from just beyond the edge of the firelight We still need to be capable of picking up a club and saying here kitty, kitty, kitty This is a short book, power packed with ideas and concepts, and certainly deserving of inclusion in the list of classic, influential, science fiction books See all my recent book and movie reviews at Kurt Vonnegut said of Arthur C Clarke s novel Childhood s End that it is one of the few masterpieces in the science fiction genre Vonnegut went on to say that he, Vonnegut, had written all the others As humorous as that is, at least the first clause of that declaration I feel to be true Written simply but with conviction and persuasion, with an almost fable like narrative quality, Clarke has given to us that rarest of literary achievements a science fiction masterpiece The genius of Clarke Kurt Vonnegut said of Arthur C Clarke s novel Childhood s End that it is one of the few masterpieces in the science fiction genre Vonnegut went on to say that he, Vonnegut, had written all the others As humorous as that is, at least the first clause of that declaration I feel to be true Written simply but with conviction and persuasion, with an almost fable like narrative quality, Clarke has given to us that rarest of literary achievements a science fiction masterpiece The genius of Clarke s achievement is compounded by the fact that his accomplishment remains so unique, how have later artists failed to match or even make an attempt at duplication I especially liked the racial memory or racial premonition ideas and the ideas of collective consciousness Interestingly, Clarke s concepts could be seen as having a theological transcendent theme, perhaps even an allegory for awakening to a collective ego Clarke s ingenuity remains untouched and this work stands atop the science fiction canon, comparable to only a handful of other science fiction classics, including the novel that won the Hugo Award in 1954, the same year Childhood s End was nominated for that award, Ray Bradbury s Fahrenheit 451 I ve done a lot of odd jobs over the years At one point, back before I got my degree and I was still working to put my wife through school, I worked as a delivery driver for a company that sold construction supplies 50 lb boxes of powdered Kool Aid, portable generators, hammers, safety harnesses, 2x4 s, circular saws It was one of those barely above minimum wage jobs generally populated by people who for whatever reason find themselves unable to get anything else and competing against a larg I ve done a lot of odd jobs over the years At one point, back before I got my degree and I was still working to put my wife through school, I worked as a delivery driver for a company that sold construction supplies 50 lb boxes of powdered Kool Aid, portable generators, hammers, safety harnesses, 2x4 s, circular saws It was one of those barely above minimum wage jobs generally populated by people who for whatever reason find themselves unable to get anything else and competing against a large number of similar people where the decisive advantage is often nothan you show up everyday My colleagues were an interesting mix an ex door gunner on a SOCOM gunship, a teenage kid dreaming of rapping his way off the street, the musician whose real job was Jazz and who d played everywhere in N awlins, a bow kneed redneck that could still remember fondly when racism was acceptable but couldn t manage to make his hatred stick because he didn t really believe it, and the black racist ex boxer would be preacher who once told me with an apologetic smile that white people couldn t get into heaven because they had no souls One of my colleagues was an aging chain smoking gray haired country boy missing half of his teeth and so learning disabled as to need my help with basic addition.He probably knewabout literature than many of the professors I ve had, or at the least he wasinteresting to talk to and his opinions were less rote I found this out after he came in one day aglow after seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon He absolutely needed someone to talk about the experience with, and by that time I was unable to hide the fact that I was an egghead so I was probably the only person he knew that was qualified Turns out, he d lived a rather interesting life He was fluent in Spanish and had spent his youth working construction on hotels up and down the Central and South American coasts And, he d read everything As I came to realize that this redneck knew something about books, despite as best as I could tell never completing high school, I started inquiring into his tastes What I found remarkable was not so much that he d read everything I d ever read and then some, but that on those things we d both read he shared much of the same opinion At some point in one of the conversations Arthur C Clarke came up, and he said, Well, I liked 2001, but I really think that Childhood s End is his real masterwork Not only do I agree, but I lack the ability to give a better recommendation.I don t recommend the works of Clarke in general, and certainly not to anyone who isn t a fan of science fiction His works even the better ones always suffer from seeming to be short stories turned into novels He also displays a strange combination of fascination with but complete incuriosity towards religion and spirituality that can probably be infuriating at times to the religious and non religious alike But this work rises above its defects and is well worth your time

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