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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Childhood's End is simplistic  |  Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:09 am
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i know i referred to Arthur C Clarke's "Childhood's End" when highlighting a discrepancy between his population figures (which were basically those of the 1950s) and our current population figures

however a good a yarn the story may be, there's something simplistic about how resistance to the Overlords was at first rather limited and paltry, and how it totally disappeared in 50 years time

take as an example the abduction of the Secretary General of the UN - if this was ISIS, blood would have flown and lives would have been lost to a far greater extent than Clarke imagines
in his world, everyone is so unbelievably rational, and i'm sure that in the real world anyone doing the Overlords' business would have been seen as collaborators and would have needed 24/7 protection from the worst that terrorism could throw at them
also, Clarke seems to imagine a well-structured resistance movement, which dies or shrivels on the vine when its leaders are neutered - if Al Qaeda (and now ISIS) has shown us something is that self-starters inspired by their rhetoric makes these types of movement multi-headed monsters that are rather harder to slay

also in the story is the ploy by the Overlords to let scientists see how religions had started and the immediate effect is the implosion of all religions into irrelevance - which is the rational way of Arthur C Clarke, but not how most people's minds work
for instance it took only a few religious leaders to proclaim that the polio vaccine was actually a CIA plot to sterilise the muslim population for the eradication of polio to be set back by a decade
on top of that we know from bitter experience that both religions and conspiracy theories invent their own evidence-proof environment which totally disbelieves anything that does not fit their universe - so why would evidence of the clay feet that their religion rests on be allowed to be believed if the scientists who uncovered the evidence could easily be dismissed as unbelievers and their evidence as inadmissible

as i've said, a good yarn, but if the Overlords arrived tomorrow, their arrival would create a far more violent and let's say "interesting" response than Arthur C Clarke appears to imagine

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Childhood's End is simplistic  |  Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:09 pm
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Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:53 pm
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Life (and SF) was simpler when the book was written. (Assuming a rational majority was okay - in fact almost de rigeur - in those days) ;)
Plus, if he'd gone into any length about resistance the book would have been quite a bit longer. And would have deflected from the story he wanted to tell.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Childhood's End is simplistic  |  Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:42 pm
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Location: Cardiff, Wales

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you're probably right

however, books, especially SF books, require you to suspend disbelief to some extent, and the (over?)simplicity of the first part of the book just makes this a little bit harder

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"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
"Someone is WRONG on the internet" (xkcd)


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