The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city - intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.
But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own.
As civilization approaches the crossroads, will the Overlords spell the end for humankind...or the beginning?
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer, who explains why this novel, written in the 1950s, is still relevant today.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thinking man's science fiction
This is one of the great works of science fiction. I bought it on cassette years ago (same version as nearly as I can tell), and I've listened to it 5 times at least. The 1-star reviewer who thought this was supposed to be War of the Worlds was waaay off. The two stories have nothing to do with one another. The overlords arrive in their great saucers, and nothing the humans can do counts as effective resistance. They set only a few rules, which seem benign in intent. But these rules cannot be disobeyed. Do not do violence to other animals. What you do to each other is your business, but no wars. That sort of thing. But why won't they say what they want? And wasn't the arrival of aliens supposed to usher mankind into a new age of space-travel? Why are we still stuck here on Earth? Even deeper,why won't they show themselves? What do they look like? This story takes place over more than one generation. The story unfolds brilliantly. This was the work of a master storyteller at the height of his power. There's a little action, but not a lot. That's not a lacking here. It really isn't. If that's the only thing you understand, you might be disappointed; but in that case: take a chance on a brilliant piece of science fiction. Expand your horizons. I dare you. As you see by the 1-star review, sometimes people won't be edified. If you're one of those, I'd apologize... except I didn't respect you enough ;-)
One of the greatest books ever written.
Clarke was a master of Scifi, invention and philosophy in his life and this book may well be his magnum opus though the Rama series, 2001, and The City and The Stars are arguable as well. This book is great in it's mix of social commentary, science fiction with some trully amazing imagary, and philosophy. It centers on the Overlords as they are dubbed coming to Earth and starting a Utopia on Earth which leads to a meditation on higher claims on humanity and whether anything meeaningful can be accomplished in this perfect world without adversity and what the Overlords true intentions for, as well as their own attempt at self discovery within their evolutionary rut. This isn't a book meant for impatient people who only like action or people who don't have much appreciation for deep literature, but in my opinion it is one of the greatest and most important philosophical scifis of all time.
One of the greatest science fiction novels, and an outstanding work regardless of genre. Clarke is in top form here. The human element is extremely strong, the story is riveting, and its plot twist is itself integral to the story line, and not merely dropped into the story for effect.