We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
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.
Regular Price:$24.25
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (3783 )
5 star
 (1439)
4 star
 (1371)
3 star
 (703)
2 star
 (170)
1 star
 (100)
Overall
4.1 (2765 )
5 star
 (1177)
4 star
 (908)
3 star
 (470)
2 star
 (137)
1 star
 (73)
Story
4.1 (2720 )
5 star
 (1069)
4 star
 (1085)
3 star
 (454)
2 star
 (79)
1 star
 (33)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    150
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    93
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    "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
    142
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    213
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    11
    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Dylan PUEBLO, COLORADO, United States 04-21-11
    Dylan PUEBLO, COLORADO, United States 04-21-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    871
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    223
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    114
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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
  •  
    CRISTY Bluffton, SC, United States 08-18-11
    CRISTY Bluffton, SC, United States 08-18-11

    Mommy of twins

    HELPFUL VOTES
    168
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    37
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 03-19-12
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 03-19-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dated and tired"

    While this was probably fresh and intrigueing in 1953 when it appeared, it reads now like a new author's first attempt at the genre. The human race is torn by senseless conflict but an alien civilization imposes peace. All the old unscientific beliefs are abandoned. The religious beliefs of mankind are exposed to be the result of ancient alien visitations.

    This is replaced by another form of spirituality that feels contrived. It is an idealized form of Sci-Fi that definitely pre-dates The Neuromancer and other works that project the complexity of human existence into another reality.

    That, together with the outdated vision of technological progress (there are flying cars, but computers and other electronics hardly appear), made listening to this book a bit like watching a 1950's Sci-Fi film in black and white.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The human 08-06-15
    The human 08-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    The way in which the story was told - over several generations - was very interesting. Glad I read it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.