Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

#49 on this list

Easy read. Dated but still interesting.

Racist language in a few places 🚫 so heads up on that.

Misogynistic threads throughout 👎 but what else is new about scifi published in the 1950’s. Or anything published in the 1950’s.

There were some things that only time could cure. Evil men could be destroyed, but nothing could be done with good men who were deluded.

I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it. The big shock wasn’t as shocking as it probably used to be (you know, back in the 1950’s).

But they knew in their hearts that once science had declared a thing possible, there was no escape from its eventual realization…

I like how the story moves through time. It’s done well. New character introductions, enough details, not overdoing the description or backstory, always relevant but not always obvious what the relevance is (at first).

Interesting to me when the outdated predictions of a sci-fi novel aren’t wrong, necessarily, but also not quite right:

The world’s now placid, featureless, and culturally dead: nothing really new has been created since the Overlords came. The reason’s obvious. There’s nothing left to struggle for, and there are too many distractions and entertainments. Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? If you went without sleep and did nothing else, you could follow less than a twentieth of the entertainment that’s available at the turn of a switch! No wonder that people are becoming passive sponges—absorbing but never creating. Did you know that the average viewing time per person is now three hours a day? Soon people won’t be living their own lives any more. It will be a full-time job keeping up with the various family serials on TV!

Oh girl, if only Clarke could see us now. The year he died, average TV viewing was indeed at an all-time high: almost 5 hours per day. Good news tho! TV viewing time has gone down since then. Total screen time, of course, is another story. But what are you gonna do? I gotta, you know, do that whole working thing. And I also, apparently, gotta write these newsletters. Thus is the life of the passive sponge. Gotta keep evolving.