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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
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Childhood's End (original 1953; edition 2001)

by Arthur C. Clarke

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,856146536 (3.93)238
Member:prehensel
Title:Childhood's End
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Info:Del Rey (2001), Edition: 1st Impact ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Read, Sci-Fi

Work details

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

  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. 11
    More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Similar philosophy, stronger writing, & less dated by mid-century sci-fi cliches and ignorance.
  5. 11
    Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind by Richard Maurice Bucke (bertilak)
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» See also 238 mentions

English (136)  Danish (4)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (145)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
This was my first time reading any of Arthur C. Clarke’s work, and I started the book without knowing what the story was about. When I read a well-known classic, I expect to find familiar plot elements that I’ve seen in more modern works. In this case, I don’t think I’ve encountered a story quite like this, although I’m sure there are some out there somewhere.

The first chapter did seem like a very familiar story. In that short chapter we learn that the U.S. and Russia are having a space race, each only weeks away from launching ships to explore our own galaxy. Before the chapter is over, both countries lose the space race when a fleet of alien ships suddenly shows up and takes position over all the major countries of Earth.

So that sounds like a story that’s been done to death, but it doesn’t go in the direction you would probably expect. Despite being more unique than I expected, my interest fluctuated drastically throughout the book. There were story elements I was very interested in, and there were times when I was fully engaged in trying to guess explanations for certain things, but there were many other times when it was a struggle to push through.

This is a far more plot-driven story than character-driven. In some cases the characters weren’t very likeable, and in other cases we just didn’t get into their heads deeply enough to really understand them. The story took a rather bizarre turn that I didn’t care for as it approached the end. From that point, it was rather bleak and disturbing. The writing came across as a little stilted to me, not just the dialogue but the narrative as well. It wasn’t drastically so, and it’s hard to put my finger on the specific reasons I felt that way. I don’t think it was the age of the book, because I’ve read other books from around this time period without having the same impression.

I’ll likely try some more of Clarke’s work in the future. I already have a copy of Rendevous with Rama, so that’s likely the next one I’ll try once I decide to cycle back to this author. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Jan 7, 2017 |
This is a classic in the world of early science-fiction, and I really wish I could say that it was marvelous and I could not get enough of it. But I can't. Aside from the evident cultural changes that have occurred with women taking a more active role other than hysterics or wives/mothers, along with the outdated use of racial labeling, the writing and story just dragged. There were moments of brilliance, such as the emergence of the Overlords from their ship, the knowledge of how humanity had to leave its war-like needs, and the explanation of aging on almost-lightspeed travel. Otherwise, the story dragged through a lot of ideas that it seemed Clarke didn't have time to complete or explore fully. And after the ending played out, all I could think about was all of the wildlife and vegetation who were just going around, living their lives, and had nothing to do with any conflict or space travel but were just suddenly eliminated. ( )
  threadnsong | Dec 11, 2016 |
humanistic. Humanity gives up its individuality and becomes one with some great Over-mind. Depressing. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
This is one of the necessary sci-fi classics! I love the plot and the writing itself is vivid, full, rich, eloquent yet straight-forward. For such a compact book, it sure has so many ideas and I love that. I'm definitely a new fan of Clarke. Written in 1953, I think Clarke could have had more of a vision for the future than just 2.5 billion people. Also, he mentions there will be so much TV but can't imagine technology that went after TV (like the various forms of recorded TV --DVR, DVDs.) It does get a bit confusing and off the rails in the last third of the book, which I thought could have used a little more explaining. The book reminded me of Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness'. This is my first Clarke and I will be reading more, if this is so good and didn't even make the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. ( )
  booklove2 | Oct 15, 2016 |
An enjoyable read about an alien culture mid-wifing the ascension of the human race. ( )
  kale.dyer | Sep 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (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 RBeffa | editDaily Kos, DOM9000 (Jul 8, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur C. Clarkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 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)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:34 -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 8 descriptions

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