In Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s classic science fiction novel Childhood’s End (1953), a mysterious alien race known as the Overlords land on Earth. Swiftly establishing a benevolent dictatorship, the Overlords put an end to war and want and transform the world into a tranquil, rationalist utopia.
They do this not for the sake of mankind per se, however, but to pave the way for the next leap in human evolution—a leap which occurs years later, when human parents mysteriously beget superhuman children. With the watchful Overlords as their guardians, these children eventually abandon human form and merge into a disembodied collective supermind which roves the galaxy at the speed of thought. Meanwhile and for reasons not entirely clear, the human race loses its will to live, which is just as well since the transformation of the mutant children into a new collective life form unleashes terrible cosmic forces. Said forces destroy the Earth.
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