Arthur C. Clarke Message Board
S. Karellen posts on 5/20/2005 7:11:38 PM
My dear Rashaverak-
I question the synopsis of Childhood's End you previously posted, simply because of the very dry, apathetic nature from which it was written. Perhaps in your many thorough readings of the novel, you have overlooked some of the more deeper connections to mankind itself, including the most dominant of all human nature: evil at its basis. The story of Childhood's End is full of strange intellectual bias, and yet embedded there is a tale not easily found. I am curious as to discover what drives into liking a story that expresses a cute and fantasy-like summary of the painful sequence of events that occurred within it. After all, who knows the story better if not I?
Love to you all,
~S. Karellen of Haven-Lee, son of Ishiki.
Osman posts on 5/12/2005 8:58:24 AM
I wander if there will be a "sequel" to Sunstorm (though it itself was a sequel to Time's Eye). It may well be like the Odyssey novels, culminating in an unexpected end (i.e Frank Poole drifting frozen but alive near a mining spaceship..)with human race encounteering the "Firstborn". I expect Stephen Baxter and Sir Clarke to continue the story..
Amy posts on 4/17/2005 11:51:51 PM
I wonder if "Time's Arrow's" ending inspired a few scenes from "Jurassic Park?" (Not to spoil the story for those who haven't read it yet)
Rashaverak posts a grand solution on 3/27/2005 5:35:46 AM
Dear Lisa -- it seems the problem is that the webpage cannot load more than a certain amount of text at one time. So I must send this in two or three sections.... I do not usually write posts as long a this one, but I wanted to give you a good answer.
Here is Part One:
Review/Synopsis of "Childhood's End"
Yes... I have read "Childhood's End" -- quite thoroughly!
Joe's answer is basically correct, but is much too short and terse to serve as a good explanation. Perhaps my explanation will serve you better... and will, I hope, clear up any confusion on your part. (I have included a few descriptive examples from the story, as I remember them....)
Arthur C. Clarke has written several novels in which he explores the theme of human evolution. The evolution of the human race, and the concept of a "god" interacting with Mankind have been one of ACC's most consistent themes in his novels. For example: 2001, A Space Odyssey (of which "The Sentinal" served as the basis), and it's sequels, 2010, 2061 & 3001.
And, of course, the much earlier "Childhood's End". I think that this is his finest novel, though perhaps that is just a matter of my personal preference. (I would love to see it made into a really well-done science fiction film!)
Briefly, the story of "Childhood's End" takes place at some time in the near-future of human history, a time when the further intellectual and spiritual evolution of Mankind requires a dangerous psychological transition. This transition happens far more quickly than most evolutionary changes, and requires some needed assistance by another race, called the Overlords by Mankind, if the transition is to be made with safety. (The human race is unaware of any impending transition, of course.)
For the transition involves the manifestation of parapsychological forces, which can be tragic if misused. The transition to what? ... To become part of the Overmind. The Overmind is a being resulting from the sum or combination of many different races, a being whose intellect is the sum of the various minds of the races which comprise it, just as the human body is the sum of the cells of which it is made.... a sort of "hive mind" or "hive intellect", in which the pronoun "I" has no meaning.... There exist no individual minds in the Overmind. The Overmind is, you might say, a kind of "god"... one which formed and evolved by acquiring other, otherwise ordinary, races. (It this sense, it is similar to the Borg of Star Trek, except that it is not evil, as are the Borg.)
[Note: At this point, it might help if you read my earlier reply to Celina (about another ACC story, "The Star"), of November 15, 2004, on this same ACC message board.]
According to Clarke, other races in the past tried to follow this path to evolve and become part of the Overmind, alone, without help, and often with disasterous results. Instead of joining with and becoming part of the Overmind, these unfortunate races ended up becoming a kind of intellectual cancer in the universe. To prevent this, a kind of "midwife" assistance -- in the form of a brilliant and kind race -- the Overlords -- was summoned by the Overmind, in order to make the transition for Mankind as smooth as possible and avoid such a disaster.
In the beginning of the book, the Overlords arrive quite suddenly on the scene (which Clarke set in about 1954, before NASA and the Apollo program):
In the early morning hours of the day of the launch of the first rocket to the Moon, the chief scientist of the American space program is walking on the beach of the Pacific island where the launch will occur, enjoying the beauty of the dawn twilight, and wondering what Comrade Korolev, his Russian adversary and counterpart, is thinking at this moment... Which of their spacecraft will actually be the first to reach the Moon and win this important scientific and political race? And how much real difference will his success or failure make in the history of the 20th Century? ...
Some small movement at the edge of his vision disturbs his thoughts.... He glances around, puzzled, searching for the cause... The warm waves, lapping at his feet in the sand, show no change, nor does the rampart of bushy palms staring out over the placid lagoon. Puzzled, he looks across the lagoon to the pad where his Moon rocket rests, contnuing its countdown ... all appears unchanged. It was some time before he thought of looking at the sky.... And at that instant he knew, without any doubt, just as Korolev must also have known, that he had lost his race for the stars.... not by the few hours or weeks that he had feared, but by millennia.
The irony does not escape him... All his life he
Rashaverak posts a bold assertion on 3/27/2005 5:06:29 AM
I have been trying to send you a reply to your question about "Childhood's End" for an entire week, without success.
There appears to be a problem with the website itself.... Please be patient.
Rashaverak posts on 3/19/2005 3:05:45 AM
Yes, I'm still around. The delay was unavoidable.... Much turmoil has happened. I am writing a rather long, involved message which I will send you via the usual lightspeed channel asap. Have patience... (:-)
I am receiving your messages there without any problem, but have been unable to reply. Life has recently been "difficult", and others have also expressed concern at my apparent absence. I apologize.
(Oh, you never answered me about Scott and Jeff... I'm still waiting for info on them... please?)
And now, I may have time to give a quick answer to another poster, re Childhood's End... (:-)
Best regards to you!
mike posts on 3/18/2005 10:35:36 AM
2001:a space odyssey is actually based on the sentinal.
wakefield!! posts on 3/13/2005 4:58:32 PM
dear rashaverak...please contact wakefield if you are able to...
Joe posts a message on 3/13/2005 1:02:12 AM
The main idea was that we had reached a point in our spiritual evolution where we needed a boost to get to the next stage. Did you recognize the similarities to Clarke's The Sentinel and 2001 A Space Odyssey?
Lisa posts on 3/12/2005 3:29:38 PM
Hi I am reading Childhood's End and I thought the book was interesting but could be very confusing at times. I was wondering if you have read the book? and if so what is the general idea or synopsis?
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