Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End (original 1953; edition 2001)

by Arthur C. Clarke

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,883148527 (3.93)241
Title:Childhood's End
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Info:Del Rey (2001), Edition: 1st Impact ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Tags:Read, Sci-Fi

Work details

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

  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. 11
    More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Similar philosophy, stronger writing, & less dated by mid-century sci-fi cliches and ignorance.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 241 mentions

English (139)  Danish (4)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (148)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
Rather disjointed. The book doesn't seem to say much. It was entertaining, but the I was not lost in its themes. If there was a central idea, it did not grab me at all. Clarke seems to be religiously obsessed with the paranormal and a Nirvana-like way. ( )
  cambernard90 | Apr 12, 2017 |
Fascinating. Mankind's purpose and fate imagined. ( )
  EvaW | Apr 8, 2017 |
Alien ships show up at Earth, hovering about over major world cities, and then things happen. I enjoyed the SyFy series based on this book, and was interested to read it. I had a little trouble getting into it though, partly because I kept trying to remember exactly how it was differing from the show but also because Clarke was less interested in his characters than in his ideas, and that is always a hard sell for me. Still, I'm glad I read it. ( )
  lycomayflower | Mar 27, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
27 avail.
96 wanted
6 pay17 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.93)
0.5 1
1 22
1.5 6
2 76
2.5 21
3 349
3.5 114
4 666
4.5 80
5 505


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,844,412 books! | Top bar: Always visible