Childhood’s End is a book that provokes thought and wonder in me. I love the dichotomy between the Overlords appearance and actions. I am fascinated by Clarke’s ability to portray them as simultaneously everything humanity strives to be and potential harbingers of doom at the same time.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. The reason for this comparison is in the way both authors are able to examine humanity and provide their ideas as to how an outside perspective would view our cultures and traditions.
There a quite a few intriguing scenes in this book but I would have to say that Jan Rodricks’ return trip to Earth. Clarke’s description of humanity’s ultimate destiny is captivating, strangely beautiful and ultimately heartbreaking.
The themes explored in Childhood’s End allow for reflection and create many moving moments. There are a few that stand out to me. First, when the Overlords assume supervision of the planet and provide their instructions as to how we should treat each other. The second standout moment is when Stormgren gets a glimpse of Karellen and how he decides to handle that information. The final standout moment is Rodrick’s return trip to Earth and how Clarke imagines the ultimate fate of humanity in this narrative.
I find Childhood’s end poignant and timeless. This is a great example as to why Arthur C. Clarke is one of my favorite authors. The narration can be a little robotic at times but it does not detract from the superb story that Clarke has told. I recommend this book to anyone with a love for science fiction.
I don't think I will listen to Indian Hill again because it lacks the depth required for me to go back. This is an easy read that does not require much thought or contemplation.
I find alien invasion stories endlessly entertaining. The mass abduction storyline was an interesting idea and the idea of having the abductees compete in gladiator style games was entertaining. I enjoyed Tufo’s description of the combat scenes and his ideas regarding the darker side of humanity displayed in the arena were interesting. I am not sure Tufo did a good job of selling me on the motivations for abducting people and having them fight for their amusement (and research). I found the description of the alien race to be a bit uninspired and I don’t feel though they displayed the appropriate intelligence to have accomplished what they were said to have. Their motivations seemed contrived to write about gladiator games with a science fiction twist.
The only character of consequence in this book is Michael Talbot. I found the character's early years to be very relatable and likeable. His development throughout the gladiatorial games was kind of off putting for me but overall not entirely unbelievable, given the circumstances the character was put in. I am not sure if Tufo was unable to come up with more meaningful character interactions for Michael or if he felt his self imposed isolation was a realistic reaction to the stresses he was under. Either way, I would have preferred more interactions with other characters.
Fight for Humanity!
I would only recommend it to males in their young adulthood looking for insert themselves into a male power fantasy. The lack of a strong (or even likeable) female character would likely preclude this from being enjoyed by almost any other demographic.
Rob Inglis does an incredible job narrating Tolkien’s work. His voice work and inflection perfectly match the tone and sentiment throughout the book. The melodies he used in the songs allow your mind to insert yourself into the scene. Truly remarkable.
Gandalf is my favorite character through the entirety of Tolkien's work but it is hard not to fall in love with Bilbo. He is such a genuine character with a good heart. His actions and decisions are endearing and will win you over.
Bilbo and the dwarves journey through Mirkwood is enjoyable for its tension, action and strong character moments. Though longer than a single scene, this section of the book is where I feel Bilbo really comes into his own.
This is a hard book to turn off. Tolkien sets each scene so wonderfully, you simple cannot wait to see what happens next.
This is a classic made even better by the wonderful narration of Rob Inglis. I highly recommend this to any fans of Tolkien or the fantasy genre. You owe it to yourself to listen even if you have read the book before.
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