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Childhood's End Audiobook
Childhood's End
Written by: 
Arthur C. Clarke
Narrated by: 
Eric Michael Summerer, Robert J. Sawyer
Childhood's End Audiobook

Childhood's End

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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

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  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-07-15
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-07-15 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

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    "THE STARS ARE NOT FOR MAN"

    LESS ZEST FOR THE FEW, BUT MORE TRANQUILITY FOR THE MANY
    This book like many of Clarke's is a political statement or conversation. If an alien race came to our world and ended our ability to make war, what would be the result? Of course things are slanted in Clarke's favor as would be expected since he wrote the book. Clarke has always been anti-war and anti-religion. If you are strongly sensitive about religion, you might take offense to this book and many of Clarke's writings. I find it interesting that he seems to believe in a soul. The simple act of taking away man's ability to make war, seems to take away some of his rights. It could be compared to the gun control debate of today. In this book he says in the future we will not care about the difference in skin color. He paints a picture of a future South Africa, where the blacks are in controll and the minority whites are discriminated against. The overlords give the whites equal rights, but not control. This was written in 1953. He talks about the abundance of entertainment, especially TV, that will be available in the future. He is astonished that in the future man will spend an average of 3 hours a day watching TV. He talks about soap operas, but they way he says it, it sounds similar to Reality TV. We have the Federation and the word Futile is mentioned. I wonder if Gene Roddenberry was a fan?

    WOMEN HAVE BEEN FAINTING THROUGHOUT TIME
    One of my favorite parts was when ten thousand people felt the wound given to a bull in a bull fight. The Overlords, said that we could kill each other, but not animals, except for food or self-defense. Once everybody felt the pain a bull goes through in a bull fight, that was the end of that. As liberating as Clarke was and all of the things this brilliant man saw, he did not see women as equals. He does not consciously put them down, he just refers to them as weak stay at home types and they never have leadership roles. It often depresses me, in how he looks at man and he often reminds us on how small we are in comparison to the universe. He might be right, but it is not anything I liked rammed down my throat. There are no character development in any of Clarke's books, they are usually thought driven. They are often on an epic scale. The second half of this book goes into a sort of metaphysical stage and honestly kind of weird. I was not crazy about the ending.

    If you are a Clarke fan, or big into Science Fiction, than this is a must read. This is a good look into the mind of a genius. Being a genius he is still not correct in all things, but it is amazing the amount of things he got right and may still get right in the even more distant future.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tandgn Apache Junctionaz, United States 02-15-12
    Tandgn Apache Junctionaz, United States 02-15-12 Member Since 2012

    My Opinion's for your review, Thank You!

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    "Childhood's End"

    It was a good book up until the end for me. I did enjoy the story and the narrators reading the story but I did not like the final twist. But I like Arthur C. Clarke's ability to tell/write a good story in general.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn 07-14-11
    Marilyn 07-14-11

    I read all the time, or nearly. I always have, I guess, since I was very young ... and now, getting older, more audio than any other medium.

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    "Still a great book: a must read for sci-fi readers"

    What's really startling is how NOT dated the book is. Clarke was a visionary and a very accurate one. And of course, a very fine author. This is one of my top ten favorite science fiction books and one of the foundation books for all of science fiction. If you haven't read it, do it now ... and if you read it in print years ago, time to read it again. It's well narrated, too and will definitely keep your interest.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vered 11-05-08
    Vered 11-05-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable, Classic, old fashioned Eutopia Sci-fi"

    A sweet reminder of Old fashioned somewhat philosophical Sci-fi - men encountering superior outer space beings and questioning their own existance.

    A bit simplistic, but considering the decade in which it was written, it's a real beauty.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna K PUEBLO, COLORADO, United States 04-21-11
    Anna K PUEBLO, COLORADO, United States 04-21-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Absolutely breathtaking..."

    This was the first Arthur C. Clark novel I have ever read. After watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't "get" what was going on in this novel. However, the book totally blew my mind and left me feeling awe and wonder in the concluding chapters. This is a must read!

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrea 07-08-15
    andrea 07-08-15
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    "Wow! Couldn't stop listening."

    Couldn't stop listening. Best SciFi I've listened to. Highly recommend it. The end will blow your mind and have you thinking for days.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Cotacachi, Ecuador 12-24-14
    Rick Cotacachi, Ecuador 12-24-14 Member Since 2013

    In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.

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    "When story trumps style"

    “I have a 4 millimeter camera and thousands of meters of film,” remarks one character. Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction masterpiece doesn’t predict everything with accuracy, whether it’s the evolution of digital cameras or the failed dream of worldwide adoption of the metric system. But it does paint a fascinating future in which the malaise of prosperity and unlimited leisure time leads in an unexpected way to the complete disappearance of professional sports, for example, and most scientific research.

    I must admit that I’m not a serious science fiction fan, though I do appreciate a good story. And my conclusion is that this is a better story than it is spellbinding prose. The plot, despite those occasional holes, is inventive and often surprising. It covers a lot of territory, sometimes in dramatic leaps, after a bit of a slow start. The writing, however, is stilted and formal in style, and so is the narration. But the story carries the day, as it must, and the result is a good listen to a seminal work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 09-14-12
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 09-14-12 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "An Apocalypse with a para-human twist"

    I understand that 'Childhood's End' is deemed to be Arthur C. Clarke's best scifi novel. That I cannot confirm or deny, as this is the first book of him I listened to. I was pleasantly surprised. Clarke is able to make the human race and not a single person the real main character of the book.

    When the 'Overlords' (an alien race) suddenly arrives on earth, they interfere with the politics of 20th century mankind. All this is to seemingly benefit the human race as nations have to turn from conspiracies and talk of war and actual war and fall in with the new 'government system' they brought with. But does this mean that the 'Overlords" intent are noble. At the end of the book this is the conundrum that you have to figure out for yourself.

    In Clarke you discover a maestro has been at work. The story is easy to follow and feels realistic. While a bit old, it is still thought provoking.

    The narrators did an exceptional good job in reading the book.

    The book comes highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Newcastle, Australia 04-05-11
    Ian Newcastle, Australia 04-05-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Not Clarke's best, but still worth the listen"

    I found this enjoyable as an audiobook - the production was good, and the narrator did a fine job.
    I've been a Clarke fan since childhood, and I read this in print many years ago, but wasn't quite captivated by it then. I still found this to be the case now - it's a good book, probably quite visionary in its' day, but it just doesn't grab me in the way '2001' or 'Rendezvous With Rama' would. Some of the technology references seem rather quaint, but considering the original publishing date of 1953, this doesn't detract from the story too much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Bluffton, SC, United States 08-18-11
    Kindle Customer Bluffton, SC, United States 08-18-11

    Mommy of twins

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    "Science is the only religion of mankind." -Clarke"

    All in all not a bad read, but not my favorite either. I am a fan of sci-fi fiction, but CHILDHOOD'S END, for me was a victim of a too chaotic plot. There is just so much going on. The idea behind the chaos was a decent one, but the story itself had just too much overall general information covering such a vast array of characters over a long span of time, making it very difficult to connect with any one protagonist or any of the many characters for that matter. I found CHILDHOOD's END to be a very grandiose idea that lacked depth and detail and even though the ending is quite strong, I can't say I didn't see it coming; nor was it the first sci-fi story to come to a similar end. Granted it very well may be The First (being that Clarke originally published CHILDHOOD'S END back in 1953), but it's far from the first of its likes to cross my path and unfortunately not the best executed/developed. Think Independence Day meets Twilight Zone.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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