I read all the time, or nearly. I always have, I guess, since I was very young ... and now, getting older, more audio than any other medium.
What's really startling is how NOT dated the book is. Clarke was a visionary and a very accurate one. And of course, a very fine author. This is one of my top ten favorite science fiction books and one of the foundation books for all of science fiction. If you haven't read it, do it now ... and if you read it in print years ago, time to read it again. It's well narrated, too and will definitely keep your interest.
A sweet reminder of Old fashioned somewhat philosophical Sci-fi - men encountering superior outer space beings and questioning their own existance.
A bit simplistic, but considering the decade in which it was written, it's a real beauty.
This was the first Arthur C. Clark novel I have ever read. After watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't "get" what was going on in this novel. However, the book totally blew my mind and left me feeling awe and wonder in the concluding chapters. This is a must read!
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
I understand that 'Childhood's End' is deemed to be Arthur C. Clarke's best scifi novel. That I cannot confirm or deny, as this is the first book of him I listened to. I was pleasantly surprised. Clarke is able to make the human race and not a single person the real main character of the book.
When the 'Overlords' (an alien race) suddenly arrives on earth, they interfere with the politics of 20th century mankind. All this is to seemingly benefit the human race as nations have to turn from conspiracies and talk of war and actual war and fall in with the new 'government system' they brought with. But does this mean that the 'Overlords" intent are noble. At the end of the book this is the conundrum that you have to figure out for yourself.
In Clarke you discover a maestro has been at work. The story is easy to follow and feels realistic. While a bit old, it is still thought provoking.
The narrators did an exceptional good job in reading the book.
The book comes highly recommended.
I found this enjoyable as an audiobook - the production was good, and the narrator did a fine job.
I've been a Clarke fan since childhood, and I read this in print many years ago, but wasn't quite captivated by it then. I still found this to be the case now - it's a good book, probably quite visionary in its' day, but it just doesn't grab me in the way '2001' or 'Rendezvous With Rama' would. Some of the technology references seem rather quaint, but considering the original publishing date of 1953, this doesn't detract from the story too much.
Mommy of twins
All in all not a bad read, but not my favorite either. I am a fan of sci-fi fiction, but CHILDHOOD'S END, for me was a victim of a too chaotic plot. There is just so much going on. The idea behind the chaos was a decent one, but the story itself had just too much overall general information covering such a vast array of characters over a long span of time, making it very difficult to connect with any one protagonist or any of the many characters for that matter. I found CHILDHOOD's END to be a very grandiose idea that lacked depth and detail and even though the ending is quite strong, I can't say I didn't see it coming; nor was it the first sci-fi story to come to a similar end. Granted it very well may be The First (being that Clarke originally published CHILDHOOD'S END back in 1953), but it's far from the first of its likes to cross my path and unfortunately not the best executed/developed. Think Independence Day meets Twilight Zone.
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.
This avatar actually looks like me.
Atypical alien invasion
A classic sci- fi that stands the test of time. Reminds me of all the old sci-fi classics from the forties, fifties and sixties.... With a twist.
The ending is a surprise, this is not just another alien invasion story from the fifties.
Clark is not know for his character development, or classic story telling, but the originality of this story is perfect. If you want a quick read this one should be on your to do list.
"I'll be a story in your head, but that's OK. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? The Doctor
Why do you always ask this? Of course I do or I would have read it rather than listened. I can't read and drive or read and clean my house.
Karellen. He was like a wise old grandparent.
Karellen explaining how human history has always had the overlord image as evil because their image seeped backwards through time. I actually had to stop the book and ponder that for a bit.
"The stars, are not for man"
When I first read this it sounded incredulous. But of course it is for man! This is why we are in endless pursuit of the stars and space flight. It is in the nature of man to be curious, as inevitable as the fact that there maybe one day an end to earth. But you shall see, as the last man had did in this story, that it will all make sense in the end. It's as if you've gained enough experience to see, that the arrogant sense of entitlement that you once had as a fresh graduate who is ever so eager to conquer the world, your insignificance in the grander scheme of things. It is human to marvel at the grandness of the universe -- but even more so to fail to grasp our minuteness in the vast space. Reading childhood's end is a humbling experience, one where it might not have occurred to you while you are busy pursuing your greatest human achievement.
Surprisingly, for a science fiction novel published in the 1950's Childhood's end doesn't sound old at all. I admire Clarke's timeless writing and his gift of amazing imagery that his novel had painted in my mind. The writing is admirable, and the characters are binding. I probably wouldn't recommend this to non science fiction readers, but if you happen to like dystopia you just might want to give this one a try. Readers looking to explore the genre for the first time might also find this book a good introduction into the science fiction universe without being overwhelmed with futuristic words. Fear not, for even the great overlords speak plain english. Another good read :) This should be in the classics!