Childhood's End

Childhood's End

Book - 1953
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Soon to be a Syfy miniseries event

Childhood's End is one of the defining legacies of Arthur C. Clarke, the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and many other groundbreaking works. Since its publication in 1953, this prescient novel about first contact gone wrong has come to be regarded not only as a science fiction classic but as a literary thriller of the highest order.

Spaceships have suddenly appeared in the skies above every city on the planet. Inside is an intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior alien race known as the Overlords. At first, their demands seem benevolent: unify Earth, eliminate poverty, end war. But at what cost? To those who resist, it's clear that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. Has their arrival marked the end of humankind . . . or the beginning?

Praise for Childhood's End

"A first-rate tour de force." -- The New York Times

"Frighteningly logical, believable, and grimly prophetic . . . Clarke is a master." -- Los Angeles Times

"There has been nothing like it for years; partly for the actual invention, but partly because here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim on humanity than its own 'survival.' " --C. S. Lewis

"As a science fiction writer, Clarke has all the essentials." --Jeremy Bernstein, The New Yorker
Publisher: New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, c1953.
ISBN: 9781101967034
9780151172054
0151172056
Characteristics: 214 p. ;,21 cm. --

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b
brontoceratops
Sep 02, 2017

My most-enjoyed book by Clarke. It's a shame that he didn't like it at the end of his life.

w
wildct2003
Apr 17, 2017

Interesting read. Had hoped for a better ending. Worth a look.

Mr_Cliff Mar 21, 2017

Classic science fiction alien invasion story with an unexpected twist. The new benevolent dictators of Earth seem to be creating the Utopia that everyone has always dreamed of, but all is not as it seems. Great book to get you thinking about the future of humanity.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

t
TechWriter1
Aug 12, 2016

I first read Childhood’s End about 50 years ago. I was a teenager and in the midst of devouring any Science Fiction available. Arthur C. Clarke was a favorite author and still is. His stories contain an interesting blend of science, technology, and fantasy that appealed then and now. I was prompted to reread the novel after watching the SyFy Channel mini-series based on the book. I enjoyed the series and immediately wanted to go back to the novel to see how faithfully it had been followed. It held together well, given some changes Clarke himself made to the book during the course of his life and changes made by the screenwriter.

BostonPL_AnnaD Oct 07, 2014

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
Originally posted to the Teen Blog on 6/12/2012.

This is the story of what would happen if an alien race took over Earth and it’s humans, if that race gave us peace and prosperity, but took away our children without asking. In this novel, the idea is the protagonist and antagonist, not any one character, not even something like disease is the antagonist.
I have to say I was expecting a little more action. But instead, the people accepted their fate. At first, nothing happens, people have parties, they chat about boring things, and get too used to lots of technology. One man dares to be different, he dares to escape into the stars to find the home of the alien race that controls them. But when he returns to Earth 80 years later, he finds that he’s the last man on Earth. The ending is hard to take. I kept wondering what I would do if I were in his situation, and all I could come up with is that I would go crazy insane without other people.

This was not a book I enjoyed at all. It was a hard read and I had to force myself to get through it, even as skinny as it was. Even so, this book is a classic of science fiction literature, and many people the world over love it. I guess it really depends on what you prefer to read. Just don’t expect action heroes to save the day in the end.

g
Gandalf_IRL
Oct 12, 2013

An incredible story of what might happen if an extraterrestrial civilization, far more advanced in comparison to ours ever visits our planet. So many stories have been derivative in regards to 'first contact' but this novel brings something new to the table with a seemingly benevolent extraterrestrial race brining Utopia to the citizens of Earth. Or are they? What their ulterior motives?

(slight SPOILER) The scene where the alien race reveals their identity to mankind was truly an exciting moment. (end SPOILERS)

Definitely recommend this novel to any Sci-fi enthusiast!

d
drok77
Apr 08, 2013

Wow. I'm never going to forget this book. I don't have anything more to say. Just read it.

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BostonPL_AnnaD Oct 07, 2014

BostonPL_AnnaD thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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RichardPaul
Jan 19, 2011

RichardPaul thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

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Gandalf_IRL
Oct 29, 2013

"There was no mistake. The leathery wings, the little horns, the barbed tail - all were there. The most terrible of all legends had come to life, out of the unknown past. Yet now it stood smiling, in ebon majesty with the sunlight gleaming upon its tremendous body, and with a human child resting trustfully on either arm."

l
LazyNeko
Mar 22, 2012

"It is a bitter thought, but you must face it. The planets you may one day possess. But the stars are not for man."

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