Josh: Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Recently, I finished reading a 1953 science-fiction novel called Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Arthur Clarke was a British writer, and one of the most famous science-fiction writers in the twentieth century. His book Childhood’s End is one of the classic science fiction stories that influenced many later books, and even inspired TV series and movies (there is a TV series on the Syfy channel that started in 2015 and is still going).

The first half of the story is about mankind’s first encounter with an alien civilization called the Overlords, who are much more technologically advanced than human beings, but come to Earth not to conquer and bring destruction, but to rule and bring peace. This is special; stories about meeting aliens tend to be about kill-or-be-killed, but this story is about a powerful alien civilization that comes to bring peace on Earth. The second half of the story is about mankind’s ‘evolution’; once all people were living in a world of peace and prosperity, the children began to change, and show supernatural powers. These children were becoming more than human, but at the same time, they were all mentally becoming one person with one mind. This ending, with human beings evolving, was very crazy and fascinating. It definitely made me think. The aliens say that they came to bring peace and prosperity so that mankind would evolve into this new thing. But this ending also made me uncomfortable. It really seems weird to think of two people having one mind; there is something human, something special about how two people are different, with different desires, thoughts, preferences, emotions. I think this is something that makes us human: each person is someone utterly special and unique.

If you’re interested, here is a more detailed summary of the story: (spoiler alert!)

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