Jay Kamaladasa's Reviews > Childhood's End

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
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Sep 19, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

If not for a few points here and there it would be hard to believe that this book was written in 1953. This is no doubt a sci-fi classic. And for those of you who are bored to death or even angry at the constant stream of dystopian first contact fiction and films that are masquerading as science-fiction, this may well be a breath of fresh air.

Perhaps this is not Arthur C. Clarke's best book on human nature, as most of the characters are portrayed as extremely honest and gullible. Even the religious fanatics are shown to have rationality and acceptance of reality. Maybe he didn't envision FoxNews 50 years ago, maybe he thought that future humans would transcend self-deception.. But the book doesn't fail to shine since it's more concerned about extraterrestrial intelligence than human intelligence. And maybe the two dimensional characters were a necessary causality to transcend the reader from everyday human drama.

They say that predictions about the future tell more about the the time that the predictions were made than the actual future. I kind of see that, and I kind of see how the author's personal history influenced many of his predictions about the alien culture. Arthur C. Clarke spent a great amount of his life in a country which was colonized by the British, and saw first hand how the locals reacted to the invasion and how the British empire inturn tried to "civilize" the natives. He also spent a considerable time dwelling into what some people call "meta-physics". I remember I watched one of his documentaries about the truth behind telepathy and reincarnation when I was small. Even though he had a background in science, I think he had a childlike sense of wonder about the mystical. You can definitively see those aspects of him in this book.

Highly recommended.
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