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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
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Childhood's End (1953)

by Arthur C. Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,942102704 (3.94)179
  1. 50
    Nightfall by Isaac Asimov (weener)
  2. 30
    Lilith's brood by Octavia E. Butler (Medellia)
  3. 20
    The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Contains the short story upon which Childhood's End is based.
  4. 10
    Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind by Richard Maurice Bucke (bertilak)
  5. 00
    More than human by Theodore Sturgeon (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: Similar philosophy, stronger writing, & less dated by mid-century sci-fi cliches and ignorance.
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» See also 179 mentions

English (97)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Arthur C. Clarke is one of the titans of sci-fi and with Childhood's End, he demonstrates why. In what starts out as a fairly regular sci-fi tale in which extremely advanced aliens descend on Earth and end all ills, ushering in a new golden age, soon becomes a grim requiem for all humanity as the children born during the golden age are preternaturally gifted. This leads to the end of all humanity since the children are no longer human, rather a new evolutionary path that has been chosen to join the Overmind while the remnants of humanity die and the aliens (or Overseers) leave, unable to join the Overmind themselves.

Clarke thus joins a select few sci-fi authors (such as Stapledon, Wells, and Lewis) who are able to infuse gripping sci-fi narratives with deep philosophical questions. Children naturally outlive their parents but in Clarke's story this is taken to its fullest extent: a dead-end passing to a life of possibility. The preternaturally-gifted children represent a new dawn for "humanity", while the parents and the rest of mankind are left behind. The threat is intrinsic to what they are, not what they can do.

Thus the climax of the novel, while perhaps somewhat predictable, remains with the reader since it is a macrocosm of humanity's own existence as each successive generation comes to pass. Clarke's book, though by now sixty years old, remains a staple of the genre and is rightly his most perfect novel. ( )
1 vote xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
I've never read a book quite like this. I was all "waaat!" and "nooo!" and "seriously?!". My imprudent alter-ego was obviously set loose by the wicked sci fi-ness that is Arthur C. Clarke. This book made me feel shame in not having met his work sooner.

The book itself spans about a hundred years of humanity in such a way that is both intimate and mysterious in the details. I don't feel like I can give too much information without ruining the great, sorrowful plot twist that is the last few pages. My mind was blown - I went to bed feeling out-of-kilter. ( )
  konrad.katie | Apr 24, 2014 |
It's hard to believe that I've only just read this book, but it's true. It was a pretty good read but I prefer happier endings. ( )
  Susanna.Dilliott | Apr 23, 2014 |
This is the best science fiction novel I've ever read. Clarke's genius is surprising you at almost every page. Let me explain: if Sci-Fi is a "literature of ideas", and many writers build entire sagas around just one "good idea", Clarke was able to inject every single page he wrote with several good ideas. That's the difference in calibre. No other writer that I know of can combine a top engineer mind with a rare poetic ability, an awe-inspiring imagination and a truly genuine, child-like sense of wonder for our universe. This might very well be his very best work ever (yes, I have read all of his fiction books). ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Ill forgo a synopsis of this book as there are a plethora on this site...This was the book that did it- the book that sparked my life long love of good science fiction and remains to this day one of my favorites. My uncle gave me his tattered much read copy when I was 11 years old and I was blown away. I loved it then and each subsequent re-read only reinforces that.
( )
  shevener | Mar 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
I'm not sure Childhood's End is the first book my dad gave me, but it was one of the first, and it's certainly the one I remember most vividly. And it's probably a book that changed my life.
added by paradoxosalpha | editDaily Kos, DOM9000 (Jul 8, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur C. Clarkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csernus, TiborCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutsch, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, DeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, StanislawCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawyer, Robert J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Summerer, Eric MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author.
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The volcano that had reared Taratua up from the Pacific depths had been sleeping now for half a million years. (Original)
Before she flew to the launch site, Helena Lyakhov always went through the same ritual.  (1989 Updated Version)
Quotations
This was the moment when history held its breath, and the present sheared asunder from the past as an iceberg splits from its parent cliffs, and goes sailing out to sea in lonely pride. All that the past ages had achieved was as nothing now; only one thought echoed and re-echoed through Mohan's brain: The human race was no longer alone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345347951, Mass Market Paperback)

Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years, they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty. Then this golden age ends--and then the age of Mankind begins....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:01 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The author questions the survival of mankind in this science fiction tale about Overlords from outer space who dominate the world.

» see all 8 descriptions

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