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Arthur C. Clarke$
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Gary Westfahl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041938

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041938.001.0001

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Human Destinies

Human Destinies

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 5 Human Destinies
Source:
Arthur C. Clarke
Author(s):

Gary Westfahl

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041938.003.0006

Unlike other science fiction writers, this chapter explains, Clarke rarely envisions humanity colonizing interstellar space and forging a galactic empire, anticipating limitations on human development. Though unconcerned about nuclear wars or alien invasions, Clarke regularly predicts humanity’s extinction, due to climate change or competing new species, or long periods of decadence. If humans avoid these fates, evolution may transform them into a new species, unlike present-day humans. Such scenarios unfold in Clarke’s major novels about humanity’s destiny: in Against the Fall of Night (1953), revised as The City and the Stars (1956), residents of an unchanging future city rediscover their ambitions but still face eventual demise; and in Childhood’s End (1953) humans guided by alien Overlords become a group intelligence to join a transcendent Overmind.

Keywords:   Clarke, Arthur C., science fiction, future, galactic empire, extinction, decadence, climate change, evolution, group intelligence

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