My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is one of Arthur C. Clarke’s books I never read as a child. I suspect the teenage me would have felt differently about this book then the adult me now does. I would have looked at the ending in the sense of personal loss, as loss of self, rather than as the loss a parent feels of the future and of their child’s potential. I also might have believed that logic and common sense would prevail with mankind when they are confronted with the realities of the greater and much scary universe.
What has transpired in the last few years; with the rejection of science and experts by a large portion of society and retreat into tribalism, religiosity, and pseudoscience, makes me believe that the passiveness of the Earth as Clarke portrays it is impossible. Rather than one ineffective nuclear attack against the Overlords they would have had a long slog against a backwards and frightened humanity.
The Overlords were probably right to remove the children. The recent past does indicate the fear and distrust humanity would likely show against this freighting new other. Even though, like now, the other is actually just us.
Overall I enjoyed the box. I did feel, though, that it spent more time on the philosophy behind the story rather than the characters that were telling it. The individuals, even the alien Overlords, seemed to similar. I would have liked if he could had brought in more differentiation with the characters to help tell the story. That’s why it only received three stars as opposed to four.
It’s hard to get five stars out of me for anything.