‘Readers Advisory’ and Commentary

Arthur C. Clarke:

Childhood’s End

By James Johnson

If you are anything like me, you have silently acknowledged, for the sake of memory, just how bizarre each progressing year has been. Its not a foretelling of doom, but rather a result of some cycle or chain of events. Sometimes it correlates to the cycle of a new American presidency. Other times to the effects of global catastrophe, like the 2008 economic crises many nations faced; or more closer to home – the ravaging effects COVID19 has had on virtually all of humanity in the year 2020.

The intensity of our personal and communal unrest is alarming. This is rapidly becoming a dangerous time for us all. Uncertainty and our own demons hold us back from being better. From choosing to be better. In our communities towards each other, in our careers and how we serve each other, and especially in our families and how we raise our children.

Art Bell said the world was suffering from the Quickening, the rapid advancement of humanity and the generic “speed” with which life is lived by. He said the development and pace of our civilization was eroding our social contracts, effectively our technology was dehumanizing us. I cant say for certain this is the case, but it is definitely making it difficult to differentiate real information from “fake news”.

What if a man could strike out on his own and try to accomplish what he desired most, without fear of eviction, starvation, or destitution. Would he not be the subject of unlimited potential?

This madness and these bizarre times we live in, make it seem as though we’re all passengers on an out-of-control, organic-mechanic sphere, fueled by the literal physical efforts of the lower of us. Our working class work hard to stay afloat, paycheck to paycheck, while producing the grease that moves the wheels that drives their very burden. I have belonged to this rung all of my life and I know it well. Head down, take your crumbs, show up the next day. Don’t get sick. You don’t get very far this way, but its honest and accounts for some of the most honorable among us.

If only there were no need for this work, these long hours (or sometimes erratically spaced shifts), with no incentives, salaries, or benefits. “Earning” indentured regulated arbitrary wages that stagnate year in and year out. What if a man could strike out on his own and try to accomplish what he desired most, without fear of eviction, starvation, or destitution. Would he not be the subject of unlimited potential?

That question is answered in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. When mankind has no concern for war, wage, or sin, the fruits of initiative and ingenuity are revealed to us. Among other terrifying and confounding revelations of existentialism. Reader beware.

This pandemic has shown that most Canadians aren’t prepared for prolonged breaks in employment. And many small businesses too also proved unable to survive the shutdown. Prior economic disasters compelled many governments around the world to conduct experiments on Universal Basic Income projects*, and this pandemic has spurred the movement to support more projects to increase the validity of its benefits.

Childhood’s End has the world finally come to the doorstep of peace and prosperity. The results are mind blowing and you’ll be reeled into a book full of foundational science fiction tropes paired with unique Judaeo-Christian mythology. The conclusion of the story will most likely leave you in that surreal yet recognizable state; slacked jawed with a thousand yard stare, the book quietly closed in your lap. You know that feel.

It gets an 8 out of whatever. We recommend it.

Below is the source for the UBI reference

*https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/19/21112570/universal-basic-income-ubi-map

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