Childhood's End

Childhood's End

eBook - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
18
2
2
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....
Publisher: 2012
ISBN: 9780795324963
9780795324970
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
caleherreman May 13, 2019

I reread this, after thirty years or so. This book is often considered a classic of Science Fiction, for the weighty themes it presents: what if there were a truly benevolent colonizing power? What if humans produce a generation with which they truly have nothing in common?

I'm sure you've heard this one: aliens invade Earth and take over, without showing themselves. They turn out to be benevolent, and usher in a Golden Age, before revealing themselves as lookalikes for The Devil.

Really, as with so much of Clarke's work, amazing ideas are being pondered, but by characters who often seem like dull stand-ins for the author himself. He tells, rather than shows, his way through a century of Man's future ("Man," as in "humankind," being likely the most-used word in this story), to get to a few interesting scenes, such as the Ouija board at a party, and a human character stowing away on an alien vessel. But conflicts are understated and muted, lest they get in the way of the Big Ideas.

That said, I found this short book worth a reread, and the aspects that make it a dated product of the 50's no longer matter by the end.

SurreyLibrarian Jan 24, 2019

-Submitted by Mandi-
Imagine overnight, dozens of huge alien ships hover above the major cities of earth. They remain in their ships, appointing a human liaison to hear their instructions and relay the message to the people of earth. It is useless to resist: they’re impervious to all man made weapons (including nuclear powers), and they have a power to block out all sunlight over an area of their choosing- from one house on a city block to entire countries. Despite their awesome power, it seems the aliens come in peace: over a period of 50 years, they solve all the world’s problems without even leaving their ships. There is no more inequality, no wars, no crime, and a world-wide one government system that sees incredible developments in technology, medicine, and architecture. Suddenly people have the ability to travel across the world for lunch, can go to university indefinitely to study all manner of topics, and form self-sufficient colonies following common interests. No one knows why the “Overlords” came, nor what they want: a common theory is that the Overlords are lost in the universe and simply bored. One day, one of the Overlords comes out of the ship, and their intentions become clear (I won’t spoil it, but their long game isn’t exactly friendly). I found this book, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, to be really thought provoking and amazingly prescient: it was originally published in 1953, but could have been written last year. It was a very quick and incredibly engaging read – only about 200 pages, and a nice introduction to sci-fi, coming from someone who almost never reads it!

t
tc123bd
Nov 12, 2018

dvd =- rendezvous with rama

4
4536o
Aug 06, 2018

Have been overwhelmed by Childhood's End since grade school--that's a very long time ago. This current version is slightly changed from the original, but without injury to the main theme. Clarke is well-known for his prophetic scientific speculations, but his lasting legacy--as also with 2001 and The City And the Stars--is the author's astonishing explorations into the ultimate destiny of humanity. In this respect, Childhood's End is about as far-out as is possible.

b
brontoceratops
Sep 02, 2017

My most-enjoyed book by Clarke. It's a shame that he didn't like it at the end of his life.

w
wildct2003
Apr 17, 2017

Interesting read. Had hoped for a better ending. Worth a look.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

JohnK_KCMO Sep 30, 2016

If you can find the original 1953 version, it's preferable to the revised versions he published in the 1990s. The original may be dated (it was based on Red Scare politics) but the revised versions are a bit too self-conscious.

t
TechWriter1
Aug 12, 2016

I first read Childhood’s End about 50 years ago. I was a teenager and in the midst of devouring any Science Fiction available. Arthur C. Clarke was a favorite author and still is. His stories contain an interesting blend of science, technology, and fantasy that appealed then and now. I was prompted to reread the novel after watching the SyFy Channel mini-series based on the book. I enjoyed the series and immediately wanted to go back to the novel to see how faithfully it had been followed. It held together well, given some changes Clarke himself made to the book during the course of his life and changes made by the screenwriter.

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability
BostonPL_JordanD Oct 07, 2014

BostonPL_JordanD thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

r
RichardPaul
Jan 19, 2011

RichardPaul thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Quotes

Add a Quote
g
Gandalf_IRL
Oct 29, 2013

"There was no mistake. The leathery wings, the little horns, the barbed tail - all were there. The most terrible of all legends had come to life, out of the unknown past. Yet now it stood smiling, in ebon majesty with the sunlight gleaming upon its tremendous body, and with a human child resting trustfully on either arm."

l
LazyNeko
Mar 22, 2012

"It is a bitter thought, but you must face it. The planets you may one day possess. But the stars are not for man."

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at CHPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top