Jeez. I forgot how fucking weird Arthur C. Clarke can be.
So Childhood's End: spaceships with an advanced alien race on board show up on earth, solve all the world's problems, then after a 100ish years all the children on Earth evolve to join a giant space mind. Then they destory Earth, the end.
It was also about 4 different short stories instead of just one novel. It was still the same plot (sort of) but would careen off in different directions and center on different characters. My favourite was the first one with the head of the United Nations being the only person the aliens would talk to one on one. I wish it had stopped there.
It was amusing how blunt it was when it came to religion though.
"They know we represent reason and science, and, however confident they may be in their beliefs, they fear that we will over throw their gods. Not neccessarily through any deliberate act, but in a subtler fashion. Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenents...Believe me, it gives us no pleasure to destroy men's faiths, but all the world's religions cannot be right, and they know it. Sooner or later man has to learn the truth: but that time is not yet.
But then it's basically the idea of 'mental energy' that frees humanity from...itself and it goes to join the giant space mind.
It was an impossible conicidence. NGS 549672 must be the thome of the Overlords. Yet to accept the fact violated all Jan's cherished ideas of scientific method. Very well - let them be violated. He must accept the fact that, somehow, Rupert's fantastic experiment had tapped a hitherto unknown source of knowledge.
I'll give Mr. Clarke a break as in the back it says it was written in the 1950s (it has some adorable old references) but still. He lost me with "hmmmm...science but...oujia board...that's the ticket!"
Though, he did make me feel very sorry for the Overlords (the advanced beings who came to Earth) because they were too logical (and I guess not enough...woo-y?) to join the Overmind (aforemenioned giant space mind). Still, I'd totally rather be them than humanity in the story. Also they had wings and basically looked like the devil.
Ahh! So annoying. I give it 1/5 stars because the only bit I really enjoyed was the first 50 pages. It was all down hill after that. Fucking giant space minds ruin everything.