Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Spoiler Alert — Making Socialism Work

Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction, TV, internet, devil, socialism, Common Sense, illustration

Despite the hoopla, I did not get a chance to watch Childhood’s End, the miniseries that aired this week on the SyFy channel.

But I didn’t really need to — and not just because it failed to receive critical or popular acclaim.

This is the age of the Internet, and — Spoiler Alert! — many cats get let out of many a bag. Facebook, Twitter, water coolers . . . we all hear things outside the designated venues.

Of course, many people knew the plot line of SyFy’s miniseries — simply because it’s based on a 1953 novel by Arthur C. Clarke.

So, when we notice that one of the show’s creators interprets the story’s stark ending as being more personal than cosmic, that it is about accepting the inevitability of death, we are not going to go into a snit about “spoilers.” We can all can handle it like . . . grown-ups.

Yes, the tale is in the “out there” branch of science fiction. Aliens come. They bring mankind a Golden Age, an era of plenty, curing disease and ending the need to work. And then, after a long stretch, they reveal themselves, in full-frontal corporeality: they look like devils, with huge horns, red gnarly skin, cloven hooves, wings and a tail. But finally the big truth dawns: the last generation of children becomes clairvoyant, ascend into the air, and, while destroying the planet, become “as one” in the universal Overmind.

Accepting death? Why not this interpretation: sure, socialism can work — but only by stripping us of our individuality and destroying humanity along with all life on the planet.

The devil, you say.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction, TV, internet, devil, socialism, Common Sense, illustration


By: CS Admin


  1. 2WarAbnVet says:

    Thanks for the review; I’m glad I didn’t waste time on it.

  2. JFB says:

    Like much of Mr. Clarke’s works, it is an allegory – as much of good science fiction is hoped to be, although sometimes it is a predictor or even blueprint, Brave New World, 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 come to mind.
    In any case, I comment to disagree with you.
    socialism cannot, over the long run. Short of wiping out all of mankind and/or the planet, the nature of humanity eventually requires than overthrow of socialism. Thankfully, however, that is not normally necessary, as the inefficiencies and asininities which socialist bring normally result in its decline and self-destruction long before it becomes absolutely intolerable.
    Clarke’s aliens might be able to bring a golden age, compelled socialist societies can never get that far.

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