Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The End of Something Beautiful

There is a question that no doubt crosses our mind from time to time, sometimes just fleetingly and occasionally, when the mind is allowed to wander while idle in a more serious manner. Why are we here? That was one of the first few things that crossed my mind while reading this particular book - Childhood's End. When I finished the book the first time though, it made me feel a tad bit sad... I can't seem to be able to explain it well, so I shall not try.

Now, the book mainly touches the issue of humans and the changes they undergo under the care of the Overlords - who had landed on Earth from a distant sun. It traces the chronology, from the beginning of the invasion (for the lack of a better word) to people's general reaction in the beginning, how their lives are affected after about 50 years and right up till the end when the Overlords take leave because it their time to do so, leaving the last human on Earth behind to witness the destruction (or is it deconstruction?) of the planet.

In the book, we can see that over the years, people seemed to have forgotten their differences, forgotten about war, and everything was like what a utopian society may be, and yet something very crucial to the development of human beings as a species was halted. Creativity, and the inquisitive nature to discover things for ourselves, among others. It makes you wonder if 'real peace' (if there is such a thing) is ever achieved in this lifetime, would we face the same fate? Would we just stop thinking to move forward and accept life as it is? I think it would be awfully dull that way. Imagine if we just stopped at Walkman instead of moving forward to the age of the iPod...

Now, it's been ages since I last read sci-fi, not counting a certain revisit on HG Wells' War of the Worlds somewhere last year, and I found Childhood's End to be a pretty good read (very well written and makes you sit up and think) that I had to read it twice (this is also because I end up reading things really fast and tend to miss out on some important information during the first read) It also makes you keep guessing what is going to happen, who the Overlords are, etc because the story is unfolded in such a way, and peeking at the back of the book - forget it. Just read it.

Edit: I didn't mention this in the post earlier, but the reason I got my hands on this book was because it was lent to me by a friend who's a fan of the book. If you're reading this you know who are. Thanks again.


  1. Hmm, I usually avoid sci-fi but this one seems to be interesting... Why are we here? That is a question even I wonder a lot of times.

    It doesn't really feel appropriate that the purpose of all these billions of humans on this planet is to feed themselves, buy better cars, go on holidays, make love innumerable times and then die...

  2. Yes, that thought has been in my mind a lot, but there's never been any theory good enough...

    The book is interesting. Indeed.

  3. I'm sure God had His own theory too for the human existence on this planet ......

  4. It's funny being immersed in theory and philosophy I find myself less like to wonder why we're here?, how much of my perception is real?, what is the true nature of human beings? What is the nature of the universe? etc, which I used to wonder about a lot. Now I find myself saying... well we are here, or at least I think I am, and I can't answer those big questions, so I'll try my hand at some smaller ones that I might be able to answer. Funny that, maybe when I finish the thesis I'll be back to wondering about the bigger picture again.

    Anyway that book is going on my list of books to read!

  5. Unicorn Girl: Maybe...

    Aunty: Well, if doing a PhD thesis stops these kinds of thought processes, then I think that is where I should be headed. But I gotta do postgrad first. I do hope you enjoy the book as much as I did when you finally read it

  6. But wouldn't it not be a utopia by definition if people stopped pursuing knowledge?

  7. emm doing a thesis is not the way to settle the brain.... you just get obsessed with other questions.... I couldn't really recommend it if you're fond of your own sanity!

  8. Woozie: Good question. And that means I don't really know the answer to this question. But this may help explain?

    Aunty: LOL. I was just kidding. But I really, really need to defragment

  9. sci-fi usually is good as reading material or even movies. unlike fantasy stories we usually tend to expect more :)

    i got too many books at home to be read. so i guess i will try to squeeze time in order to read this one too :)

    if i write a review about this book, means that i've read it :P

  10. Yeah, I have quite a few books to read as well, but am currently re-reading HP and the Half Blood Prince. If I can finish it while HP is still playing in the theaters, then I can kutuk it. The movie, I mean.

    You review all the books you read? I haven't done any reviews in a while... managed to squeeze this one in cos I was on leave yesterday!

  11. That does sound interesting. No science fiction? What about Dungeons and Dragons? LOL! Just kidding.


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