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[ACC's Childhood's end] Isn't it a bit Euroceontric? (spoilers)

Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
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So a few weeks back I've finished reading Childhood's End for the first time, and it was pretty good (probbaly in citizen Kane kind of good).

But one thing kind of bugs:
A big deal is made of the Overlords appearance and how it (if humanity was not condition through through the half a century contact) it would trigger a universal reaction.

And that appearance seem to be very Europocentric. They look like the popular depiction of demons, or more precisely.
Or even more preciecly, I think they have quite of few triats of Disney depiction of Chernobog (as really were that common in folk depiction of the Devil, and the Overlords doe seem to have the common goat like elements).

It not suprising of a 50's to have very western PoV, but really took me out of novel.
 

Manitou

Emperor of the Americas
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They have horns and a barbed tail which, there skin isn't read or blue or black I think. But they still look a lot like depictions of christian devils. From what I remember this is stated to because some humans had a bit of precognitive ability but didn't understand what they were perceiving.

I don't think eurocentric is the right terms, if my memory isn't lying to me. I don't know if other people remember their old geography class/lessons where the USA and Canada being lumped together as anglo-america, in contrast to latin america{which was everything south of the USA, basically}. The novel was fairly anglocentric I think, in that sense. Not sure if that's the right modern term though. Would hope kids are still learning that false division.I think that's from the 80ies though.


But the novel is focusing on people from the USA, mostly.
Basically, the first representative/diplomat guy who worked as the Overlords speaker was a US citizen. Pretty sure most, if not all, of the other named characters were also USians. I remember the black guy who went to their home planet also being a USian if I am remembering corrrectly.

Am I going nuts here? Or do others remember the same things?
 
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Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
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Basically, the first representative/diplomat guy who worked as the Overlords speaker was a US citizen. Pretty sure most, if not all, of the other named characters were also USians. I remember the black guy who went to their home planet also being a USian if I am remembering corrrectly.

Am I going nuts here? Or do others remember the same things?
No, not really.
UN sceritary was Stomgren was Scandinavian. His secind in command was Pieter Van Ryberg (so I think he's Dutch)
Jan Rodricks (the Astro-physicist who sneaks on to an Overlord ship) is South African.
The Gregson's and Boyce seem American.

So some of the PoV character are American but not all.

And yeah the similarities betwen the Overlords nad depiction of Devil were due precognitive abilities.
However as I said they seem to me to more similar to Disney Chernob the typical foklore depiction of the devil.
 

AliasiSudonomo

Trying to be a bird
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On the other hand, it's not like horns and wings and whatnot are uncommon features in other parts of the world for bad things. Consider Japanese oni, for example.

Christianized regions might have the strongest reactions, but given its the 50s, those regions include the US and USSR...
 

Coyote's Own

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On the other hand, it's not like horns and wings and whatnot are uncommon features in other parts of the world for bad things. Consider Japanese oni, for example.

Christianized regions might have the strongest reactions, but given its the 50s, those regions include the US and USSR...
The horns on a Oni are rather short, and they don;t have either tails or wings.
(but then again as I mention most depictions of the devil don;t have wings either)
 

Old Toby

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Clarke was British, and would live most of his life in Sri Lanka, though looking it up, he didn't move there until three years after the book was published... I didn't find it particularly America-centric at all. At least not more than can be expected from a book written in the first bloom of America-as-a-global-superpower.

At any rate, he was writing at a point in time where most of the world was still ruled by Europeans or people from European-derived cultures, and a much larger portion had been so ruled only a few years before... It was a point in time when American pop culture was already blanketing the world, and Christian missionaries were operating almost everywhere that wasn't thoroughly Christianized (and quite a few places that were...).

So even people who don't have that sort of demonic imagery in their native culture were likely to have the exposure to say "wait, they look just like Christian devils..." This is especially true of the relatively westernized and globalized elites who would be making political decisions.

Old Toby
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Nightward

IntranationalManOfMisery
Banned
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Not just Christian- at least some bleed over is going to occur with Islam, where demons are also described as horned and animalistic.

Granted I've only seen the movie and not read the book, but assuming the story beats are similar there were enough parallels with the Book of Revelations that things could have been extremely troublesome for the Overlords if people found out early.
 

Isator Levie

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At any rate, he was writing at a point in time where most of the world was still ruled by Europeans or people from European-derived cultures, and a much larger portion had been so ruled only a few years before... It was a point in time when American pop culture was already blanketing the world, and Christian missionaries were operating almost everywhere that wasn't thoroughly Christianized (and quite a few places that were...).
So their own cultural imagery was just... forgotten?

Old Toby said:
So even people who don't have that sort of demonic imagery in their native culture were likely to have the exposure to say "wait, they look just like Christian devils..." This is especially true of the relatively westernized and globalized elites who would be making political decisions.
But do they care at all?

More importantly, does the science fiction book from the 1950s really need so much defence from the idea that it might have been written from a certain narrow and biased world view?
 

Old Toby

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So their own cultural imagery was just... forgotten?
Of course not. But it co-exists with it.

But do they care at all?
Of course they do.

You can scoff all you want at Christianity, but if beings suddenly appear that look indistinguishable from Christian devils, and they offer you a deal that looks far too good to be true, do you take it?

Not only has the appearance of apparently actual devils offering actual deals just given the credibility of Christianity a massive boost, but you don't have to actually believe that these are devils, just be sufficiently unnerved that you reject a deal that already felt like bait for a trap.

Old Toby
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Q99

Genderpunk
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The horns on a Oni are rather short, and they don;t have either tails or wings.
(but then again as I mention most depictions of the devil don;t have wings either)
Even so, show a devil to a Japanese person and they’d likely think ‘evil yokai.’
 
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