Everything you need to understand or teach 3001 by Arthur C. Clarke.
A basic premise of Clarke's science fiction is that the universe produces life.
For better or for worse, life develops and evolves. Rudimentary life forms evolve into sentient beings. Sentient beings develop technologies which enable them to either destroy themselves or, eventually, to grow beyond the need for material bodies and into some form of higher consciousness which becomes one with the essence of the universe. Aspects of this premise are implied or stated in Clarke's prior stories. They are explicitly summarized in the first chapter of 3001.
The human race is portrayed as either "seeded" or "cultured" by some alien race which roams the universe fostering other life forms. This pattern presents humans as a lesser type still fighting to progress toward better control of its environment and its capabilities while it is monitored and occasionally manipulated by the alien civilization. Humanity risks termination by... View more of the 3001: The Final Odyssey Summary