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.
"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)
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.
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Although in its time it may have been a great book, it is out of date and badly read.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.
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.
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.
My reaction to the ending was so strong that I immediately felt the need to add my voice to the other reviews, to let listeners know that "bittersweet" is just not a strong enough word for it. But instead I had to walk away to put the experience out of my mind. A week later, I can see some of the sweet, but at the time, all I could taste was the bitter. It could have been my tears though.
This was my first Arthur C. Clarke book, and my impression from reviews was that it would be a good place to start because it was so vital to the genre, being a bit of a basis for "2001". I can easily admit that this take on First Contact is mind blowing. There is so much here to chew on. And I agree that it is vital, a stunning alternative to the First Contact models shown by E.T. (aliens are cool and humans are mean), Star Trek (aliens are generally benevolent and interesting), Contact (aliens are benevolent and aloof - much like this book but without the Big Reveal ending), or Independence Day (aliens are evil warmongers who make us look good). Then again, I haven't read the book 2001, just seen the movie.
Still, I can't put behind me those tears as humanity finally learned the details of its impending future. The final chapters were just pouring salt on the wound after that. Keep in mind that when a book makes me cry, it's only ever because of a great character dying, never just because of plot development. Until now.
It's just going to sound like an afterthought after all that, but the other issues I had with the book were how dated it was. In technological examples, it was great, right up there with Heinlein. But where Heinlein's take on human sociology can be somewhat dated and with a bit too much testosterone, Clarke comes off as... naive. With some subtle racism to go with it.
Or at least I thought the racism was subtle. If you Google "Arthur C. Clarke racism", this book dominates the first page of results, with mentions of "Reunion" and "Cradle". You may or may not be aware of the race-relations concept of "colonialism", but if you read the paper titled "The Overlord's Burden", an excellent case is made about the book and the mindset of Clarke himself.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
This classic SF story avoids the trap of feeling dated by avoiding careful description of the technologies and wonders displayed in its imaginative future. Instead, the story sticks close to the personal impact of world-changing contact with alien species, told over decades. Written during the opening years of the Cold War, this story brings a swift solution to Mankind's dangerous new abilities by introducing an irresistible alien authority which bans such self-destructive behavior. Clarke then gradually reveals more of his hidden alien Overlords as the decades pass; first their long-concealed physical appearance, and finally their purpose for interference. With an ending neither optimistic nor pessimistic, the reader discovers the meaning of the promise in the story's title. The parade of human characters whose POV we experience the story from are largely forgettable here, instead eclipsed by the benevolent aliens who care for their charges with obvious patience and anguished, reluctant secrecy. The reader will ironically find themselves more closely identifying with the sparsely described aliens than with the story's humans, because their emotions and motivations at least are given. Another minor criticism with the narrative style is a tendency to "tell" rather than "show" with descriptive scenes, which comes to feel as a time-saving device, but impoverishes the story a bit.
I would have liked this better when I was 12-13 years old.
Science needed to be more in depth. Characters were superficial.
Yes/No. Not by voice inflection, but by identifying the character, such as, " (So and so) said,...".
Disappointment. I expected more from Clarke
I couldn't wait for the book to end. Stayed with it because of the author's reputation. A big mistake.
Time was well spent listening to this book, however, as far as classics go, listen to Heinlein... Starship Troopers and Moon is a Harsh Mistress are much better. However, this book was interesting. And the outcome was pretty unique. Probably just not my type of book.
Narration was good.
yes... like rather clark just not this one
slow read story line poor.
I'm an astronomer. Scifi is all I ever read/watch/listen to. (with the occasional epic fantasy here and there, for diversity :)
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.
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