The Sentinel: is there life out there?
Written only a few years after the nuclear bombs released on Hiroshima and Nagasaki finished World War II, Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Sentinel” comprises several themes that would become common in Cold War science fiction. Reflecting a collective fear that civilization might totally end itself through atomic conflict, numerous writers regarded the arrival of an atomic age as being a general right of passage for any civilization. While harnessing atomic reactions was considered essential for systematic progression, it also delivered a resource for universal self-annihilation. All cultures progressing to the level of nuclear-powered armaments, consequently, must learn to surpass their basic natures. Only when effectively achieving this rite of passage, therefore affirming the continuance of terrestrial existence, can a race start a fresh stage of interstellar investigation and alien interaction.
A second theme, first faced in “The Sentinel” and appearing all through much of Clarke’s later fiction, is the presence of an immensely superior civilization, one whose presence precedes human civilization by unknown millennia. It is a patient race, witnessing the evolutionary growth of more primitive species throughout the universe, probably anticipating their evolution.
Childlike humans, themselves…show more content… While the name is significant, originally the voyage seems to be routine. Wilson even cries that there is nothing dangerous or particularly exciting about lunar investigation. It is, he asserts, a boring routine. While cooking his breakfast sausages, Wilson detects a flash of what seems to be a metallic object on a distant elevation neighboring the plateau. Contrary to agreed opposition from his team, Wilson and his associate, Garnett, voyage to examine the