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Childhood's end by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's end (original 1953; edition 1995)

by Arthur C. Clarke

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Title:Childhood's end
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Info:New York Ballantine 1995
Collections:Your library

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

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English (93)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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 |
This classic SF story avoids the trap of feeling dated by avoiding careful description of the technologies and wonders displayed in its imaginative future. Instead, the story sticks close to the personal impact of world-changing contact with alien species, told over decades. Written during the opening years of the Cold War, this story brings a swift solution to Mankind's dangerous new abilities by introducing an irresistible alien authority which bans such self-destructive behavior. Clarke then gradually reveals more of his hidden alien Overlords as the decades pass; first their long-concealed physical appearance, and finally their purpose for interference. With an ending neither optimistic nor pessimistic, the reader discovers the meaning of the promise in the story's title. The parade of human characters whose POV we experience the story from are largely forgettable here, instead eclipsed by the benevolent aliens who care for their charges with obvious patience and anguished, reluctant secrecy. The reader will ironically find themselves more closely identifying with the sparsely described aliens than with the story's humans, because their emotions and motivations at least are given. Another minor criticism with the narrative style is a tendency to "tell" rather than "show" with descriptive scenes, which comes to feel as a time-saving device, but impoverishes the story a bit. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Feb 6, 2014 |
Following a relatively peaceful alien takeover of Earth (complete with hovering spaceships over all major cities and curious-looking aliens who do not reveal themselves physically for the first 50 years of the occupation), the planet is led into a seemingly golden age of Utopia - war is abolished, poverty is eradicated and everything seems great. Of course, there are a significant number of humans who oppose the occupation and fear the loss of complete control over their own lives.

There's a lot going on here: Perhaps a critique of the utopian ideal, putting forward the idea that humans need a certain amount of friction/conflict to propel society and idea generation forward. In addition, there's an unflattering portrait of colonization and colonizing powers - we see the more advanced alien colonizers as non-violent (and perhaps benevolent?), but yet arrogant and condescending in ways they don't even realize. But whatever to all that business, because then some crazy stuff happens that will completely blow your mind (I won't tell you about it, because I'm trying to avoid spoilers), but it will make you ponder your ultimate significance in the grand scheme of things. Sigh.

So, this is a wonderful and thought-provoking work and I highly recommend it, although I should note that it's heavy on ideas and light on character development (which I understand is typical of Clarke). One complaint: I had to dock it half a star, because it's far into the future and women are still seemingly banned from positions of power and influence. I mean, really?! Not even a scientist?! Of course, this is typical of sci-fi from this era, but it's still annoying (and baffling.) Otherwise this is a fantastic achievement, and one of the best sci-fi classics I've read. ( )
1 vote DorsVenabili | Dec 10, 2013 |
I thought it was time to re-read this. It was originally published in the 1950's, but still holds up 60 years later. The "Overlords" have arrived and seem to be benevolent and leading Earth toward a better future. But there have their own agenda.... ( )
  gbelik | Dec 4, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book despite the flat ending.

Aliens have arrived on earth (big ships over the major cities) with the goal of making the world a better place. The story spans the hundred or so years from the arrival of the ships until the revelation of their ultimate purpose.

The book skips around from person to person like a fly being transferred from one character to the next. It is strange at first but I found myself enjoying it very quickly.

The book does the usual "this is what utopia would look like" dance from chapter to chapter before finally settling down to tell us what the aliens are really doing there.. The problem is that when we find out it really isn't that interesting. I don't believe the author had any idea what it would be until he got there, and them realised he had nothing.

Toward the end of the book some characters go through big events that could, should, produce an emotional response from the reader, but they never do as the writing is still too fast , dancing from one character to the next so fast we have no time to grasp what is happening.

I likes the book but not the ending. ( )
  alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (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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First words
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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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