by Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Our August 2015 selection.
Just as the United States and Russia are about to launch the first rockets to the moon, enormous spaceships carrying "Overlords" appear over the major capitals of the world and begin issuing instructions to mankind. The Overlords do not actually appear on earth&emdash;they send their instructions through the secretary general of the United Nations&emdash;but they back up their orders with nonviolent yet effective demonstrations of great power.
Within a few years, they achieve a dramatic improvement in the course of civilization-although not without resistance from terrorists, religious fanatics, and nationalists. But the resistance is contained, and the real work of the Overlords on earth begins&emdash;the creation of a new race of "wonder children" who represent the next step in evolution for humanity.
These children are far superior to any human&emdash;and are even greater than the Overlords themselves. They have apparently transcended matter and are able to transmute it, which they do, in a scene of fiery transformation.
Childhood's End is a marvelously rich novel which introduces us to several significant themes: the idea that there is a Hierarchy of advanced humans who protect and gUide the development of civilization and humanity; the rebelliousness of humanity toward its own destiny and purpose; and the ultimate transformation of human consciousness, leading to an entirely new race of God-like people.