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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 (3210 )
5 star
 (1170)
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4.0 (2250 )
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Story
4.1 (2213 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (72)
1 star
 (31)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    djinx Central U.S. 09-04-11
    djinx Central U.S. 09-04-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dated!!!!"

    I think I would have enjoyed it more 20-30 years ago. The story probably deserves better than I am rating it but I just didn't enjoy it that much. Even the narration felt dated (maybe that was intentional).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    White Columbia City, IN, United States 09-03-11
    White Columbia City, IN, United States 09-03-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"

    Incredibly boring book. If I had been reading it, I would have skipped to the last page about half way through and tossed it aside. I was waiting for some glorious ending, but then the ending was just plain stupid - and boring.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 08-10-11
    Diane 08-10-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    170
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    153
    105
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    FOLLOWING
    16
    0
    Overall
    "Not for me"

    Well. I understand this is classic sci and fi and I am a sci fi fan but I found this long and sometimes boring and predictable. The narrator does a great job and it's imaginative for when it was written but I feel like I been there done that so honestly I didn't finish it which is unusual for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Lockport, NY, United States 07-11-11
    Richard Lockport, NY, United States 07-11-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
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    25
    22
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    2
    0
    Overall
    "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
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "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 04-15-14
    Paul 04-15-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    45
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    5
    0
    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
  •  
    Linda 03-30-14
    Linda 03-30-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "slow"
    What would have made Childhood's End better?

    I could not get through this book. The characters were boring. I do want to know how it ends, but I just couldn't stay with it to get there.


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

    Computer Tech

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    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 11-20-09
    hx 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
    27
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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
  • Showing: 131-140 of 141 results PREVIOUS1131415NEXT
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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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