Near-exactly one year ago I submitted my dissertation. In honour of the sleepless nights, it is presented here in full. If you like science fiction, you might find it interesting, and if you don’t, you might find it more interesting still. If anyone’s stupid enough to try to steal this essay as their own, more fool them, it’s a bit winding.
Childhood’s End: How Arthur C. Clarke uses science fiction and its tropes to explore humanity’s conception of itself
“We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors.” – Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke is an example of science fiction at its best. This essay will show how it conveys its ideas clearly, using the tools of the genre to their fullest extent. I will demonstrate the depth and of argument that is demanded of the science fiction writer by showing the change and development of some of the novel’s themes. I will place the novel in the context of its field, show the qualities unique to the science fiction novel and also to this particular book. First, I shall define what I mean by science fiction.