Childhood’s End by Authur C. Clarke

Completed 22 April, 2012

Firstly, wow.

Begins as a first-encounter type of science-fiction that proceeds to thwart every possible pre-conceived notion experienced readers might have developed. “Childhood’s End” is altogether about the final hours of mankind, the evolution of humanity to the next stage and its subsumption, as one of many sentient races, into an unknowable collective consciousness. Part paraphysics, part para astrology and part pure, undiluted genius, this is possibly the best science-fiction novel I’ve ever read.


“There are eight abodes, eight places of sight, eight deities, and eight Purushas. Whoever understands those Purushas in their division, and again in their union, has overcome the world. I ask thee about the Purushas in the upanishads. And thou explain not him to me, they head will fall off.” S'akalya knew him not, so his head fell off. Moreover robbers took away his bones, mistaking them for something else.


(quotation prefacing ‘The Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll, Pataphysician’, Alfred Jarry, 1911)