“Twilight,” Don A. Stuart (John Campbell, Jr.), 1934 – A man picks up a hitchhiker with a melancholy tale. The strange passenger claims that humanity will become extinct and will, in its last moments, bequeath the gift of curiosity to its only sentient “children” (machines).
Comments: One of set of stories during this period by various authors which imagine humanity losing the will to live, reproduce, or evolve. Introduction by Algis Budrys in The Mirror of Infinity: A Critics’ Anthology of Science Fiction. Also read in 6 Decades: The Best of Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, introduction by Stanley Schmidt. Wikipedia: “Algis Budrys said that ‘Twilight’ “attracted a decade-long series of engineers/mystics as the archetypical writers of the ‘Golden Age’ and brought about the late Victorian Edwardian flavor of ‘Modern’ science fiction.” Everett F. Bleiler concluded: “‘Twilight’ conveys a mood. It is probably Campbell’s best story, with many implications beyond the story level.”
Author: Wikipedia: “John Wood Campbell, Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an influential figure in American science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact), from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.”