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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End (1953)

by Arthur C. Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,152117662 (3.94)190
Recently added bykethorn23, Vladimir_Petrov, goldenmoon, private library, simd, okami66, Sheilah.Egan, JaeKamel, DT_98765
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 51
    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. 01
    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 190 mentions

English (109)  Danish (4)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
The tale of the last generation of mankind on Earth. All man's development in space and travel are stopped by alien "overlords" who take over Earth, establishing a benevolent dictatorship which eliminates poverty, ignorance and disease. This golden age ends abruptly as the overlords bend to the will of a superior intelligence which demands Earth's destruction. ( )
  Tutter | Feb 23, 2015 |
I've read this book twice and never associated it with Clarke. Probably because I usually don't like his books, but I liked this one. Good story, good pacing. ( )
  kenzen | Feb 23, 2015 |
Aliens invade earth in a peaceful takeover. They however do not reveal themselves to man for another 50 years but bring utopia to earth at the loss of human culture and identity. The first time the aliens reveal themselves in 2050, the aliens are seen to be creatures with barb tail, horns and wings. They appear to be Satan or demons but in the 50 years man is prepared to take in the image that they would not have been able to tolerate if they had been able to see them right away. At this juncture there is a whole dialogue on social engineering and the doing away with Christian religion as no longer needed. Other themes would include prejudice and evolution, and problems of an Utopian society. The first part of the book reminded me a lot of stories from the Bible. The unknown God who does not reveal his image to mankind. The second part brought back to me the message that Satan is a fallen angel who sets himself up in place of God. Later it is revealed that the overlords are not the masters, they are only doing the work of the Overmind and will leave when they are no longer needed. Then the children all leave earth to fuse with the Overmind as a kind of rapture, where they join this being and the earth is sucked of all its gravity and disappears. This is considered to be Clarke’s greatest work even though we know him for his 2001: A Space Odyssey. I did find the book fascinating considering that it was written in 1953. Clarke was quite futuristic. Another thing about the fifties, is that it really is the birth of the paperback. Paperback books took off as a growing industry and major change in publishing. While Peyton Place led the way in the American book business, Childhood's End first appeared in paperback and hardcover editions, with the paperback as the primary edition. ( )
1 vote Kristelh | Feb 21, 2015 |
Science fiction often leaves the fate of the Earth to our imaginations, but in this book we actually get to travel into humanity's future and see the end of it all. At first Karellen and his Overlords are the Supreme Beings of the Universe, distant, unobtainable. Clarke takes us on an unexpected journey to their world, and, in doing so, humanizes them. When the end comes, those once unfamiliar creatures are the closest semblance to us left in the Universe, and the only ones remaining to mourn, or at least remember, our demise. Five stars. ( )
  Bongal | Feb 1, 2015 |
This is a "First Contact" story with some original twists, though I found the ending flat and unsatisfying. I've enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke's stories most when they seemed most plausible, and this story simply introduces too many things which I don't find believable for me to really love it.

I did enjoy the themes I noticed in common with 2001: A Space Odyssey, of the questions about the purpose of life and human progress. I was amused to find such specific reoccuring elements as a lonely man isolated from human contact in a life-threatening situation caused by new scientific discoveries contemplating deep philisophical questions. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (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 (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur C. Clarkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bing, JonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bringsværd, Tor ÅgeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csernus, TiborCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutsch, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, DeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, StanislawCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haars, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawyer, Robert J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schjelderup, DaisyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Summerer, Eric MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
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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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.

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