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Childhood's End | [Arthur C. Clarke]

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

4.0 (3086 )
5 star
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4.0 (2141 )
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Story
4.1 (2109 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard Lockport, NY, United States 07-11-11
    Richard Lockport, NY, United States 07-11-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
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    "Quaint but severely out of date"

    I am sure when this book was new, it was exciting and thought provoking. However in the light of history and where we are today, it is mearly quaint and naieve. The book now appears simplistic and it is read by a simplistic and uninspired reader.
    Although in its time it may have been a great book, it is out of date and badly read. I cannot recommend.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samir Sanghani Boston, MA 05-03-11
    Samir Sanghani Boston, MA 05-03-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    49
    7
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    0
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    "Great potential - unsatisfying ending"

    The forward was a glowing review about how this book is Clarke's best. The story starts strong, draws you in with mysterious but benevolent alien visitors, foreshadows some deep comment about the human race, our history, our self-imposed fate, and something bigger than our world. But the end of the story did not deliver, except for on the last one. There was no deep meaning here that I could appreciate... just a whiz-bang sci fi ending. Oh well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Sease Pembroke Pines, FL, United States 04-23-11
    T. Sease Pembroke Pines, FL, United States 04-23-11

    Tom

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    "Interesting, vivid & depressing vision of future"

    Very interesting and detailed vision of humanity's future but with an apocalyptic ending. As a lifelong Science Fiction fan, I still love Arthur C. Clark's writing but this one was a little hard to take.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Helotes, TX, United States 04-15-14
    Paul Helotes, TX, United States 04-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    35
    31
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    4
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor plot, dialogue, and narration."
    Any additional comments?

    I did not enjoy this story. Never connected with it. The plot and events seemed preposterous. The dialogue was terrible. Tons of preachy comments that will keep this book stuck in the 1950s. Eric Michael Summerer's narration does not help the book any. In fact, I'm wondering if I would have rated the book two stars with a good narrator.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Burke, VA, United States 04-26-12
    Alexander Burke, VA, United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2012

    Computer Tech

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    5
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    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disapointing"
    Would you try another book from Arthur C. Clarke and/or Eric Michael Summerer and Robert J. Sawyer (Introduction) ?

    yes... like rather clark just not this one


    Has Childhood's End turned you off from other books in this genre?

    yesno


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?


    Could you see Childhood's End being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    slow read story line poor.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hx uppsala, Sweden 11-20-09
    hx uppsala, Sweden 11-20-09 Member Since 2010

    I'm an astronomer. Scifi is all I ever read/watch/listen to. (with the occasional epic fantasy here and there, for diversity :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Oh, no."

    Oh wow, I really didn't like this. What a depressing and pointless book. Not that sci-fi books are obliged to be hilariously entertaining at all times but pointlessness is inexcusable. There was no character development. Even if I strongly disliked the main idea of the book (the end of days of mankind is boring, I think) I would still have been interested in seeing the emotional turmoil of the Overlords explored. Their's must be a loneliness worth a thousand books, and all they got were a few hurried sentences.

    5 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Puckapunyal, Australia 11-10-08
    John Puckapunyal, Australia 11-10-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    0
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    Overall
    "Showing its age"

    I wish I'd checked the original date of publication before downloading---its more than 50 years since this book first appeared! It might have been ground-breaking in the 1950's but it is creaking with age now. Computers are "electric brains" and fax machines are the absolute cuttng edge in technolgy. The story has some resonance still, but it's hard to overlook the archaic technology references and the simplistic narrative at times. Clarke has much better to offer, with less of the musty smell of a museum.

    5 of 24 people found this review helpful
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