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Childhood's End Audiobook

Childhood's End

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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?

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer, who explains why this novel, written in the 1950s, is still relevant today.

©2001 Arthur C. Clarke; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"In Eric Summerer's capable hands, the plot of Childhood's End is smoothly presented and fully credible. He highlights the patient nature of the Overlords, which has caused humans to become ever more complacent. Summerer excels at delivering the aliens' quiet and intensely engaging dialogue with people. His nuanced performance creates a growing feeling of uneasiness in the listener as the Overlords' insatiable curiosity and watchfulness begin to suggest something less than benign at work." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4883 )
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4.2 (3753 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rob Burgess 01-29-15
    Rob Burgess 01-29-15 Member Since 2007

    Burgi3

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    89
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It Will make you think"

    This book was recommended by a friend. I had no idea what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. This book deals with the end of the world from a totally different perspective and is an excellent sci-fi novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Collier 01-29-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thoughtful, Satisfying, Creative"

    This is a story that I'll certainly listen to again someday, and look forward to recommending it to others.

    It is well imagined, with thoughtful plot arcs that aren't common in much of today's science fiction.

    The ambitious exploration is toward the discovery and fulfillment of humanity's purpose. It has a satisfying conclusion that isn't a Hollywood ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter 01-28-15
    Peter 01-28-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    12
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    "This is a must read for Sci Fi fans"

    This is a short easy read. If you are looking for character development, that is not what this book is about. Clarks' gift is in articulating the wonder and majesty of the future. This he does in spades. You do not have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate "Childhood's End". Beware however, I expect that this work has the ability to turn you into one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Eugene Lehr Riverside, California USA 01-19-15
    Mark Eugene Lehr Riverside, California USA 01-19-15 Listener Since 2005

    Dr. Mark E. Lehr

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Story
    "Exceptional"

    Finally making a movie of it! Best A.C. Book. Maybe we will evolve instead of annihilating ourselves. Better sooner than later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Pang Earth 01-18-15
    J. Pang Earth 01-18-15 Member Since 2010

    Computational cognition, ethics, transhumanism, etc.

    ratings
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    119
    20
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    Story
    "Origin of great scifi over last 62+ years"

    So many things stem from this. Incredible how many have ripped off elements of this story. This is foundational fundamental reading. You're not in he scifi club unless you've read this

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane 12-28-14
    Shane 12-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    79
    4
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    Story
    "A book that should be read if you like scifi"

    Easy to listen too, the voice talents presented this book in such a way as to draw me in for hours at a time.

    Arthur C Clarke wrote this without the typical mistakes a lot of people make these days. Instead of focusing on trying to invent technology, or use flash phrases in over abundance from the period he lived in, the man told a wonderful story. He does have a lot of surprises for the reader in this book, and quite really? bravo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 11-27-14
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 11-27-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    129
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    224
    220
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    4
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    Story
    "Interesting View of the Future"

    This was an interesting story. I particularly enjoyed his ideas from the 1950s of what the 21st century and beyond would look like. I was amazed at his foresight when he was discussing how tv would take up the time of humans and make it hard for humans to keep up with the various programs; he then went on to discuss how humans would be more interested in watching real life events of other people - reality tv before it was invented!

    I knew I would like it when, at the outset, the overlord wiped out animal cruelty. Who wouldn't love that? It was interesting to see how he portrayed the overlords as benevolent people rather than these tyrants. I was definitely unprepared for the twist at the end.

    The narration was good, and the story moved along at a nice pace.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-27-14
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty boring"

    I thought this was pretty boring. I got through about an hour of it. Then I got restless waiting for something interesting to happen, and went and looked at the synopsis of the book online to see if I had anything to look forward to, and it looked pretty bizarre and didn't seem like it would get much better, so I gave up on it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meghan Greenbelt, MD, United States 09-22-14
    Meghan Greenbelt, MD, United States 09-22-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
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    75
    60
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    11
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    "amazingly thought provoking after 50+ years"

    I don't normally read classic science fiction, but this is a classic and I needed something different. Boy did I get something different. This is essentially the story of the end of the world. But it's not all sad. I highly recommend this classic sci-fi novel to anyone who's ever watched 2001 a Space Odyssey and gotten it. Or even sort of got it. The narration I thought was very well done. As for the story itself those who like character driven stories will be a little disappointed. But those who love plot twists are in for a treat.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. D Idaho, United States 03-09-14
    Mr. D Idaho, United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Should you listen to this book?"
    Any additional comments?

    No spoilers ahead.

    This was a hard novel to review. I read it in my teens when all I read then was Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I loved it then. This was at a time when nuclear war was in the front of our minds and nuclear winter was being learned about. This novel provided wonderful optimism for the human race (kinda, you have to read it to understand what I mean). All these years later I had the chance to get this audiobook as a daily deal. Couldn’t pass it up even though Sci-Fi is rarely a genre I read anymore.

    I have read a few other classic sci-fi books in the last few years and I am always judging whether the story feels dated. To this question the answer is: somewhat. Not enough to spoil the story though.

    The biggest issue I have with the story now, all these years later and much reading under my belt, the author is more a scientist and less a writer. His prose leaves a bit to be desired. Arthur C Clark was a genius. He first conceptualized artificial communication satellites. It was this very technology that made the following possible. From the book “Soon people won’t be living their lives any more. It will be a full-time job keeping up with the various family serials on TV!” As far as I am concerned, he predicted reality TV as well. He missed on this one though. In regards to religion at the end the 20th century, “You (mankind) had put superstition behind you: Science was the only real religion of mankind.” He had no idea of the power of the religious right I guess.

    The plot of this novel is ingenious. One of the better sci-fi plots. Would I recommend it? If you enjoy sci-fi, then most definitely. If you like to sometimes dabble in it, or more specifically classic sci-fi, then yes, it is a must read. I give the story 4 stars, and the prose 3 stars, overall 3 ½ stars.

    The narrator. At best his performance was neutral. He didn’t take away from the story but he didn’t add to it either. In some part, that is because of the writing. The writing doesn’t lend itself well to good narration. I pulled my old paper copy out and read part of the story to see how I felt about book form verses audio. I would lean toward book form in this case. I give narration 2 ½ stars.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • David
    Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
    3/31/10
    Overall
    "Thoughtful"

    I guess the true beauty of this book is not so much the journey but the thoughtfulness it provokes when finished. It made me want to join a book appreciation society that i might find someone to discuss it with. In the end i annoyed my friends on facebook until they read it too. i'm pleased to see that everyone has a different stance on it and everyone had their own person/race to empathise with. The book can be heart-breaking but only if you are the sort of person who dwells on a book on completion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sara
    Llanwrtyd wells, United Kingdom
    6/9/09
    Overall
    "Good but depressing"

    I enjoyed this book. It was well written and thought-provoking, but the ending seemed somewhat empty and hopeless, although I expect other listeners will interpret it differently. It is certainly worth listening to and is well narrated, and I can understand why it is regarded as a classic, although some of the plot-lines seem a bit higgledy-piggledy and unsuccessfully shaped to fit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    12/29/12
    Overall
    "A Classic well worth the listen"

    Not the greatest narration, and written some time ago so some technological references were a little dated.



    But none the less it is a classic with some great twists and real impact.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, United Kingdom
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "An engrossing performance; vintage Sci-Fi"

    A great audiobook performance means you don't notice the narrator. Eric Michael Summer puts in a clear well-voiced performance. Like all the best performers, Summer's range persuades you to forget only one man is doing the voices; you soon get immersed in the story.

    Childhood's End is a mini-epic of a novel, written with Clarke's usual clarity and poignancy. For those of us who have been downloading his five volumes of Collected Short Stories from Audible, Childhood's End is a MUST. And certainly my book of choice for my desert island disc selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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