by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback, 224 pages
So, there is much talk these days of the extinction of humanity. Arthur Clark began to talk of it in the 1950’s. Childhood’s End opens with the arrival of the alien Overlords and the positioning of their huge spaceships above the world’s major cities. They assume distant supervision of the earth’s international affairs (note that the setting is the height of the Cold War) and indirectly lead humanity into decades of utopia – but, it's a cold golden age lacking passion and creativity. Fifty years later the Overlords reveal themselves. Ten years after that, human children begin to exhibit telekinetic powers. Soon enough only millions children, lethargically linked in a single group mind – and our protagonist, Jan Rodricks – are left. The novel’s theme of transcendent evolution forms the basis of Clark’s Space Odyssey series. To our mind this is the best of Clark’s books.