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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End (original 1953; edition 1970)

by Arthur C. Clarke

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7,789173699 (3.92)269
From the Publisher: The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city-intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began. But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. As civilization approaches the crossroads, will the Overlords spell the end for humankind-or the beginning?… (more)
Title:Childhood's End
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke
Info:Ballantine Books (1970), Edition: New Impression, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (Author) (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.
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  5. 21
    More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Similar philosophy, stronger writing, & less dated by mid-century sci-fi cliches and ignorance.
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    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven (sturlington)

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» See also 269 mentions

English (163)  Danish (4)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (173)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
The dilemma I have with this book, is that I love all of it, apart from one plot point, and that plot point turns out to be central to the plot. And man, do I hate that plot point.

Like all of Clarke's work, this is a book about ideas. Character development takes a back seat, but there are still unique characters who you grow to love. As far as "hard sci-fi" goes, I'm 50/50 on if this would be a good read for non-genre readers. The plot is interesting, and is a relativity quick read, with little to none in the way of techno-babble. And outside of that one plot point I hated, it made me excited to read more Clarke. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
Finally getting around to reading an old masterpiece. Enjoyed the book a lot and it was good to see that the mini-series that was on tv a few months ago stuck to the plot and its details rather faithfully.

The concept that racial memory is not time dependant was an interesting one. It would have been a hard choice at the end, to stay with the Overlords or stay on Earth as the last human. ( )
  joegibbs55 | Aug 31, 2019 |
The stars are not for Man.

An important entry that I have meant to read for a long time. Bit of a let down, but there are many gems here. And Clarke predicts Netflix et al (more entertainment than anyone could possibly view in a lifetime) on pp 141 and VR on pp 148.

“the moment when history held its breath, and the present sheared asunder from the past as an iceberg splits from its frozen, parent cliffs, and goes sailing out to sea in lonely pride.”

Interesting point for an avowed atheist to make: “The fall of religion had been paralleled by a decline in science.” Indeed. Do the two not truly complement one another?

Nice bit of shade cast on “bullshit jobs”: “...the number of people sufficiently strong-willed to indulge in a life of complete idleness is much smaller than is generally supposed. Supporting such parasites was considerably less of a burden than providing for the armies of ticket collectors, shop assistants, bank clerks, stockbrokers, and so forth, whose main function, when one took the global point of view, was to transfer items from one ledger to another.”

“It had been the golden age. But gold was also the color of sunset, of autumn...”

“...the road to the stars was a road that forked in two directions, and neither led to a goal that took any account of human hopes or fears.”

( )
  shum57 | Jul 22, 2019 |
Published in 1953 Chilhood's End is another from the SF Masterworks series. It is one that I have not read before and I was amazed at just how good it is. It seems to avoid many the tropes of 1950's fiction that might bother readers in the 21st century, for example excruciating sexism, nasty racism and problem solving by beating the crap out of your adversary. Instead it is a story that sets the imagination reeling in a quiet methodical way. An advanced alien race appear in huge space ships above earth, they are intellectually, technologically and militarily light years ahead of mankind. They are benevolent god like figures who remain hidden, but guide human beings towards a golden age. They are known as the overlords and communicate with one representative from the human race. They become accepted by the majority, but opposition grows because the questions of who are they and why are they here remain unanswered. From this scenario Clarke develops a story that is mysterious, shocking and full of wonder as events take an altogether unexpected turn.

The storytelling is straightforward and Clarke writes well enough, characterisation is adequate, it is the story, the plot, the science fiction that drives this book forward. It is the sort of book that as a teenager I would not have been able to put down and I read it over a couple of days this time round. Imaginative science fiction that you do not need a physics diploma to understand, what's not to like if you feel like giving yourself up to an entertaining read. I loved it and so 5 stars. ( )
3 vote baswood | Jul 2, 2019 |
Probably the most interesting and disturbing novel I have read. ( )
  rsb | Jun 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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 (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Arthur C.Authorprimary 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
Hollander-Lossow, Else vonTranslatorsecondary 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
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary 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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Fine del XX secolo: misteriosi alieni detti "i Superni" impongono la fine di ogni ostilità sulla Terra, che inizia una vera e propria Età dell'oro. Ma Ian Rodricks, inquieto astrofisico, riesce a giungere clandestinamente il pianeta di origine dei Superni e scopre un'amara verità sul loro mondo e sulla loro civiltà che coinvolge anche il destino della Terra...
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