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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 (3559 )
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4.1 (2518 )
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  •  
    Marie BILLINGS, MT, United States 06-02-11
    Marie BILLINGS, MT, United States 06-02-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Drones On"

    This book drones on. I thought it was me not paying enough attention, but I actually got lost with what was going on it was so boring. This is the same writer that wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey & had I thought about it, that movie was a story that could have been told in about 10 minutes, but was hours long. The book is very disconnected, the character development is poor & after I restarted it to try and get into it, I finally gave up after the 4th chapter.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Clinton, TN, United States 06-01-11
    Matt Clinton, TN, United States 06-01-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow Slow Slow"

    Had some interesting parts but jumped around a lot. Not one person except for the aliens lasted more than a few chapters. Not because of action or battles but because massive amount of time has past.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 04-24-11
    Ben BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 04-24-11 Member Since 2010

    Ben ji

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    "okay for what it is..."

    Considering that it was written in the '50's, it is quite good. But compared to some of the writing on even a mediocre sci fi television show, it just doesn't hold up. I understand that Clarke was a pioneer and I respect that, but the story doesn't hold up all that well.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graham Guelph, Ontario, Canada 04-18-11
    Graham Guelph, Ontario, Canada 04-18-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Not what I would call a classic"

    Maybe it has a place in SF history, but it has not aged well at all. Summerer tackles the narration well, though the story is not one that I would call decent SF. It didn't leave me feeling fulfilled, nor excited.

    Too many questions went unanswered. Why? Who? and Why? again. If you want to complete your SF library, or adore Clarke, then you may as well get this one, because there are better audio books on offer out there if you're looking for something meaty.

    If it wasn't a Clarke, I'd have said "meh"

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda B Northeast USA 03-19-11
    Linda B Northeast USA 03-19-11 Member Since 2013
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    "not really sci fi in my opinion"

    I know a lot of fans will protest any criticism of one of the greats, but I prefer my science fiction not to wander into the realm of fantasy and religion, which this one does. When the paranormal and God (or any unknowable and all powerful entity) is the driving force of the plot, it is fantasy and religion in my opinion. So I feel a bit mislead by the fact that this masquerades as sci fi. That is not to say that it won't have a great deal of appeal, and if you like fantasy and religion, it is well written and well done. However, if you do not like those things, and are hoping for a science fiction novel, though superficially this seems like one, by the end it has completely transformed into a fantasy story about religion. I suppose the warning should have been the introduction by Robert J Sawyer, who is endlessly preoccupied with religion, but I don't think it is clear enough

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Val IRONTON, OH, United States 04-04-12
    Val IRONTON, OH, United States 04-04-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "terrible"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I could not even make it through the first hour of this book, it was labeled as a classic and on sale, once again I see, you get what you pay for, except I did not even the sale price out of this one, my husband did tough it out and listen to it but he said it was horrible and the biggest waste of time do not be suckered into purchasing this book, even if it is on sale


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James West Hills, CA, United States 03-08-09
    James West Hills, CA, United States 03-08-09 Member Since 2013
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    "I was underwhelmed"

    Clarke is one of the giants, and this work was acclaimed as one of his best, which is why I was eager to listen. In short, two things bothered me: first the authors' political biases dominated the story, and second the disappointing outcome, which was not quite "he woke up and it was all a dream," but close. That's not to say that it had no redeeming qualities, and if you share his political views or don't care about those things, you'll enjoy Childhood's End.

    8 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 04-15-14
    Paul 04-15-14

    A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.

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    "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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dionne 12-11-13
    dionne 12-11-13 Member Since 2009
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    "This was really deep"
    What other book might you compare Childhood's End to and why?

    This book reminds me of "Spin" in that there's and alien presence and the purpose of said presence is unknown. This story, however, if fully contained in one book. Its revelation, at the story's end, is stunning and left me heavy of heart, but it took me to a place, emotionally, that I seldom go. This was an awesome ride and isn't for the faint of heart.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The revelation that the human species wouldn't evolve without ending, while the overlords could not evolve but could continue as- is. I can't decide which of the two species should be pitied more.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-27-14
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-27-14
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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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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