Childhood's End

by: Arthur C. Clarke

Prologue–Chapter 2

Summary Prologue–Chapter 2

There is one key conversation in Chapter 2 between Stormgren and his assistant, Van Ryberg. It foreshadows many of the issues in the book, and contains a small joke as well. While discussing Karellen and his vast intellectual superiority to humans, Stormgren admits that while one man could not do all the things Karellen does, he believes that eventually men could reach his level of intelligence. That is, Stormgren believes that the technological and intellectual achievements of the Overlords are within human reach. He's possibly correct, but the irony is that the evolutionary potential of humanity actually exceeds that of the Overlords, though it will not be known until the end of the novel. The second foreshadowing is a little more amusing: speaking of Karellen, Van Ryberg asks, "Why the devil won't he show himself?" The answer, of course, is because Karellen is, in terms of his appearance, the Devil.