Childhood's End

By Arthur C. Clarke

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The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city--intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles The Overlords appeared suddenly over every...

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May 12th 1987 by Del Rey Books

(first published August 1953)

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Quotes From "Childhood's End"

"No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart."
"Science is the only religion of mankind."
"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."
"Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the nonexistence of Zeus or Thor, but they have few followers now."
"Now I understand,” said the last man."
"Utopia was here at last: its novelty had not yet been assailed by the supreme enemy of all Utopias—boredom."
"In this single galaxy of ours there are eighty-seven thousand million suns. [...] In challenging it, you would be like ants attempting to label and classify all the grains of sand in all the deserts of the world. [...] It is a bitter thought, but you must face it. The planets you may one day possess. But the stars are not for man."
"So this, thought Jan, with a resignation that lay beyond all sadness, was the end of man. It was an end that no prophet had foreseen – an end that repudiated optimism and pessimism alike.

Yet it was fitting: it had the sublime inevitability of a great work of art. Jan had glimpsed the universe in all its immensity, and knew now that it was no place for man. He realized at last how vain, in the ultimate analysis, had been the dream that lured him to the stars.

For the road to the stars was a road that forked in two directions, and neither led to a goal that took any account of human hopes or fears."

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