Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sami on Childhood's End 1.3

Childhood's End was a three-night special event starting on Monday 12-14-15 and closing on Wednesday 12-16-15.

It's been a whole night, and I'm still salty about this miniseries, and since everyone seems to agree that it's pretty close to the book, I'm now salty about the book, too.

I like Arthur C Clarke as a person, and I like most of what I've read from him. I think he had amazingly good ideas and really wanted to do well for the world, and move us into the future. But this story? This is fatalistic and pessimistic, and the second and third parts didn't feel, tonally, like the first. I really liked the first. I feel really let down by the rest.

So. Jennifer-the-demon-queen is now several years old, and she's controlling all the Children of the Corn, everyone born since the aliens survived, apparently. Karellan shows up and tells everyone that there will be no more children--to the point where a woman who was already pregnant wakes up suddenly and finds that her baby has disappeared from inside her body, and she's the only one in the story who has a problem with that. He also says the children don't belong to us anymore, and we're to just peacefully live out the rest of our days because humanity is obsolete.

I have so many problems with that.

And then the kids all go all Rapture-imagery and literally float up into the sky. Out of the whole world, only one parent holds onto their kid and so only one kid stays, Jennifer's older brother Tom. But he doesn't stay long, he doesn't help a single person understand what's going on or make sense of it, and then he flies off into the sky, too.

So now the world has no kids, and everyone loses hope, and the only person in the world trying to do anything about it is Milo--and he makes a dumb choice to go to the hellish homeworld, even though it'll take a hundred years to get there and back, almost, since they're traveling at near-light-speed, and by the time he gets home he's the last human on earth. There's only minutes left to live. The aliens let him have Rachel back, but she's frozen and she shatters all grossly, and there's no debate or anything about why they thought that would be a good idea. He goes home and watches as the world is dismantled by a still-child-shaped Jennifer who is consuming the world...for whatever reason. 

They say she's a direct line to the Overmind that controls creation, that all the kids are now god. They say nothing about why Humans were used as breeding stock to make more god if there was already god, why they couldn't have uplifted the whole species, or why, now, the conduit needs to destroy the world. It just happens. The story ends with none of the motivations clarified.

Meanwhile, they also let Ricky die without ever saying why he had to, though he did finally reject the ghost of his first wife and choose his second who was still alive, for whatever that even meant in the end.

And the last thing the aliens do is preserve Milo's memory of music as a testament to Earth...after it's been destroyed and he's died and everything but those animals they took home is gone. 

Seriously, guys, cold comfort at best.

How was any of this helping the humans to evolve? Why did no one really question what was going on, even in the end? Why was death and suicide the only answer? Why did the aliens not even try to explain anything, why did no one ask them to, and why did neither side spend much time trying to understand the other? Why did the only people who wanted answers get portrayed as wrong and probably evil, and were given only angry and flimsy motivations, and then were never seen again after the first episode?

The whole thing turned out so fatalistically pointless, that I'm glad it was only three nights, because damn. And this is considered Great Scifi. No thanks.

I will say that it was gorgeously done; the ships and the aliens and everything else were all fantastic. The worldbuilding was detailed and neat looking. But scifi abhors a Utopia, and it was all lies and no one even cared, so why should I?

What did you guys think? Am I missing some vital detail that will reframe the whole thing? Share in the comments, or come talk to me on Twitter!

None. I'm just really annoyed and disappointed.
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