I have completed reading Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End (1953).

The work is incredibly Christian, by this self-proclaimed [homosexualist] “atheist”. As I have already touched, the very image of the gods guiding humanity is theistic, but the book is replete with unnecessary references to the Bible. Stormgren’s kidnapping plot thread reads like a trial by a deity (Job, Abraham); the plate in a paranormal ritual spells “I am all” (Yahweh); and the Negro’s journey beyond time is performed in the belly of a sperm whale (Jonah).

As I expanded in the previous entry, it fascinates me the most how Clarke is savouring the humiliation of mankind, but there are some good tidbits. Predictably, my favourite part is the ingenious plot by that Negro scientist with a Polish name. It coincides with the introduction of the paranormal in the story, and Jan learns the location of the Overlords’ planet via a magic ritual.

That ritual is where the first psyker (a WarHammer 40k term) child is conceived. The description of the falling in love process is old-fashioned – the same as how the words colonialism and primitive races do not bare the negative connotations they would assume in the coming decades. The same outdated and shallow theme of inquisitiveness/curiosity abounds – Stormgren never thinks of humanity’s future or his duty, his last wish is to see Karellen’s face! Such transparent allusions to the Christian fables of the Tower of Babel and the fruit of good and evil.

The novel strikes me as lacking vitality. The theme of a generation change, weakness, impotence, old age is omnipresent. Stormgren and Duval never live to see Karellen’s face (promised to be revealed in 50 years), Sullivan sends Jan on a relativistic journey 80-years-long, Jan himself returns only to see the corpse of humanity. Quite degenerate in its own right. Pure idealism.

Jeff, the first psyker child, is depicted as ordinary and, worse, stupid. Alongside his parents. Apparently, his distinguished father George on the island of philosophers New Athens never bothered to tell him about the nature of tsunamis. And in the end, the retarded kid was saved from winning the Darwin Award by Karellen’s efforts. Symbolic!

P.S. The issue of predicting the future should be placed in the context of 1953. But still, the imagination is a bit lacking (virtual reality is more conceivable than story-driven computer games).

Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? [=20 days/day]

As of May 2019, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute. [=82 years/day]

Regarding videos – I have coupled reading with listening to this amazing music compilation (esp. after the 7-hr. mark), whose original has since been deleted off of YouTube.

At the end of one path were the Overlords. They had preserved their individually, their independent egos; they possessed self-awareness and the pronoun “I” had a meaning in their language. They had emotions, some at least of which were shared by humanity. But they were trapped, Jan realized now, in a cul-de-sac from which they could never escape. Their minds were ten-perhaps a hundred-times as powerful as men’s. It made no difference in the final reckoning. They were equally helpless, equally overwhelmed by the unimaginable complexity of a galaxy of a hundred thousand million suns, and a cosmos of a hundred thousand million galaxies.

And at the end of the other path? There lay the Overmind, whatever it might be, bearing the same relation to man as man bore to amoeba. Potentially infinite, beyond mortality, how long had it been absorbing race after race as it spread across the stars? Did it too have desires, did it have goals it sensed dimly yet might never attain? Now it had drawn into its being all that the human race had ever achieved. This was not tragedy, but fullfilment. The billions of transient sparks of consciousness that had made up humanity would flicker no more like fireflies against the night. But they had not lived utterly in vain.

When I think of the opposite of the Christian idea of disincarnate progress, I think of stability and of Korea. When I think of the opposite of humility, I think of the ways of acquiring power (alongside eating shark fins). Childhood’s End by Clarke is indeed an idealist work par excellence – not a stone remains of the Earth, and the highly technologically-advanced race of the Overlords wishes nothing more than to escape the prison of matter. But instead, of course, the destination is the source. The true destiny of man can be glimpsed not from a premonition of the Christian hatred of existence, but from the real history of the people. How could the father of the Korean nation be born 5000 years after the nation’s foundation? Eternal Return – not a Jewish utopia!

2 thoughts on “Returning to Karellen

  1. Do you know of any good Sci Fi novels (good meaning not overtly Christian at this point; some remotely Anti Christian would be extraordinary) ? Not a fan of fiction myself, but I would like to read something fresh, exciting. If you can recommend something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for not replying earlier, I do take my time. Unfortunately, we are kind of alter egos, and I don’t read much either. Just picking up Clarke. But I do have some ideas!

      1. Isaac Arthur has compiled a neat list of all the science fiction books he has ever recommended.

      2. Soviet fiction is largely unknown in the West, and personally I know Russian, so I have some prospects of delving into those. The Garin Death Ray was apparently popular – I heard both my relatives and Vladimir Soloviev mention it yesterday (Savitri would have taken a note). The later famous writers were the Strugatski brothers and Kir Bulychev.

      3. The world-building of WarHammer 40K seems impressive. I have heard of some literary works in the setting. It’s fantasy, but Chaos Gods look frighteningly realistic when you have Jesus.


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