While this was probably fresh and intrigueing in 1953 when it appeared, it reads now like a new author's first attempt at the genre. The human race is torn by senseless conflict but an alien civilization imposes peace. All the old unscientific beliefs are abandoned. The religious beliefs of mankind are exposed to be the result of ancient alien visitations.
This is replaced by another form of spirituality that feels contrived. It is an idealized form of Sci-Fi that definitely pre-dates The Neuromancer and other works that project the complexity of human existence into another reality.
That, together with the outdated vision of technological progress (there are flying cars, but computers and other electronics hardly appear), made listening to this book a bit like watching a 1950's Sci-Fi film in black and white.
A well written and narrated novel about the slow progression of humanity's end. This novel is rather unique in that sense since most novels tend to depict humanity soldiering on even after untold billions parish.
I suppose no one can really predict what the future truly holds for humanity's survival but, and I may be a bit biased here, I prefer novels that show us continuing ... if only so future generations can have the joy of reading new/exciting SciFi/Fantasy adventures.
Maybe even more than Arthur C. Clarke's own "2001: A Space Odyssey," this early novel goes to places that leave you fascinated beyond your imagination.
Clarke is known for being grounded in science and a realistic approach to his fiction. But, this novel famously led him to add a "The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author." And, especially as you reach the book's conclusion, you can see why!
This is a novel that gets very trippy! As I said, maybe more so than in "2001." I was truly fascinated by how transcendent the novel is. You really feel like you've been on a truly unique journey. And, you can see why this novel is Clarke's most famous. It challenges you in very special ways.
I listened to the audio version through Audible. The recording was by Brilliance Audio, who has done other works by Clarke. The performer was Eric Summerer, who does a beautiful job! Highly recommended.
But, in whatever way you decide to take on this classic, definitely do! It is most certainly worth your time.
I love books and love talking about books. Hope my reviews are helpful!
A quick listen and powerful message, this is a story that will leave you both emotionally shaken and intellectually awakened. An entertaining read that can only be compared to the Foundation series or Dune for the gravity with which it treats man's fate in the universe. A fine read for new and veteran Sci Fi fans alike.
If you are checking the reviews, then you probably already know how great this novel is, the audio book is just as great. Stop wasting time and get it.
Audible is better than TV
Most Clarke fans have read this at least once. I wanted to revisit it in audio format and quite happy that I did.
The 50's were a dichotomy of absolute fear of nuclear annihilation and hope of meeting others beyond our solar system. The thought was, "Yes mankind is totally screwed and we will all die, but in just a little time some nice all knowing alien race will save us from ourselves. This is 90% of Childhood's End.
The end of the story is a bit of a twist, but you have heard the first part often. This might sound like this book is nothing but 1950's drivel, but that would be incorrect. Mr. Clarke spins a futuristic yarn better than any other during his time. The characters and story come across as real and plausible despite their fantastic nature.
If you have never read this or have you should get this. It really is a treat.
Instead of just writing big words like "Amazing" or "Masterpiece" for my review, let me explain. The voice over work here is top notch, the narrator does a great job giving each character their own voice and personality, and is able to present the events as the unfold in the story with the appropriate tone. The story itself is excellent, Clarke's Masterpiece still holds up several decades later. Clarke's writing style allows the reader to easily visualize every event that's occurs, giving them the ability to understand the sheer epic scope of the story itself. No matter how strange scenario, nor complex the concepts, Clarke presents his narrative in a way that is approachable to anyone. The way he develops the Overlords is nothing short of brilliant, making the reader sympathize with, and understand the POV of, the Earth's Alien masters. And the tour-dé-force moments are really powerful, and hit the reader hard when they come. This is what Neon Genesis Evangelion wishes it could be. Overall, if you are a fan of science-fiction of any kind, pick up this Audio book.