Childhood's End

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Clarke, Arthur C. Childhood's End. New York: Ballantine, 1953.[1] New York: Del Rey, 1953, pb first edition.[2] Frequently reprinted.


In a novel where matter is itself transcended (by, so to speak, the evolutionary and age elect), machines aren't central. Steven Baxter, however, points out the significance of a brief section in the context of The Technology of Omniscience: Past Viewers in Science Fiction. Humanity's midwives into the Overmind let humans use "a past viewer, technological basis unspecified," which is soon set to look at the origins of human religions, most of which are respectable enough (a point Baxter does not make) but — "'Within a few days, all mankind's multitudinous messiahs had lost their divinity. Beneath the fierce and passionless light of truth, faiths that had sustained millions for twice a thousand years'" (with the small but significant exception of a kind of refined Buddhism — another point Baxter skips over) "'vanished like morning dew. All the good and evil they had wrought were swept suddenly into the past ...' (p. 63 [of 1956 Pan edition])" (Baxter pp. 102-03).


RDE, Initial Compiler, 19Mar19