Childhood's End is a science fiction novel1 (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke in which benevolent aliens, with the appearance of devils, arrive on Earth and establish peace and a world government. Despite their enormously superior knowledge and technology, however, these "Overlords" are far less advanced than the "Overmind" – a communal consciousness that is poised to absorb the youngest members of the human race (see noncorporeal life). The Overlords themselves, incapable of making this dramatic evolutionary jump, serve merely as midwives for other species that are in the throes of undergoing the transition from individual corporeal to collective noncorporeal form.
1. Clarke, Arthur C. Childhood's End, New York, Harcourt, Brace and World (1963) (first published 1953).