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Publisher's Summary

When the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect. When the Overlords finally showed themselves it was a shock but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began. But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and soon they will be ready to join the Overmind...and, in a grand and thrilling metaphysical climax, leave Earth behind.

©1954, 1990 Arthur C. Clarke (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"There has been nothing like it for years." (C. S. Lewis)
"The Colossus of Science Fiction." ( New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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No Reviews are Available
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darren
  • 08-05-16

Brilliant Story

This is my first Arthur C. Clarke book, I became interested after watching the mini series on Sky as with the book it was brilliant, and for one that normally believes the book is better I downloaded this one and wasn't disappointed.

The old references to technology are funny in this day and age but the fact it was written in the 50s I glossed over these details.

I would recommend this book to every Si-Fi fan I know.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 07-11-16

incredible classic sci fi - brilliantly read!

fantastic story which will keep you guessing until the very end.

somewhere between HP Lovecraft in story and content, more like Asimov in terms of epic Sci Fi...

highly recommended!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Basho
  • 04-20-16

Masterpiece

I have read so many books. So many. That such a book evaded me all these years is a great pleasure.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Al
  • 02-17-17

Amazing story. Respect for the mind behind this.

What a great story. amazed at the scale. when I thought I understood the direction it surprised me again.
astounded that this was written over 60 years ago and apart from a few tell tale signs (camera .. ), this could have been written today
what an amazing mind Arthur C Clarke has. Big respect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Jeremy J Osborn
  • 09-18-16

What a film this would make!

Combining the physical wonder of aliens and technology with the physycological mystery of the mind, where do we come from and where will we go this book hits the spot. A blockbuster in waiting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • spencerhudson
  • 04-05-16

Amazing ...

For saying this book was written at almost the beginning of science fiction it is a ultimately a chilling tail. It provides a new insight into one scenario , taking use thought c. 100 years ... And leaves so many open questions ...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Edward Scott-Clarke
  • 07-13-18

Perfect example of how a bad narrator can ruin a great book.

The story is great; it’s one of the sci-fi classics. However Greg Wagland is awful. His narration sounds very similar to computer dictation software and his attempts at an American accent fall well short of the mark. In fact any differentiation between characters’ voices is slight, at best, and regularly makes it difficult to know who is talking. I’d recommend buying the audio book of Childhood’s End with another narrator.

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  • M. Lindley-Thompson
  • 06-30-18

Astonishing

Listening to this novel written in the middle of the last century, apart from science fiction based on the old Westerns, I can’t think of a modern Sci Fi film (and some horror films), book or video game that doesn’t seem to reference bits of story line that crop up in this old book - it is jam packed with original ideas. Because of the time in which it was written, it isn’t trying to accommodate mainstream readers with familiar and comfortable notions. It‘s a book about concepts rather than characters but for all that I found it completely engrossing and couldn’t stop listening.

Every now and then one comes across a book that is truly groundbreaking and this is one - still.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Azriel Abramovich
  • 04-19-18

A bit too mystical for me

Good story and very good narration.
However the mystical / semi religious elements are not for me.
Still enjoyed it

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Shi Shu Li
  • 04-18-18

Worst narrator I've come across

What did you like best about Childhood's End? What did you like least?

Don't know yet, I came to warn people about the soul crushing narration.

How could the performance have been better?

Everything about the performance could have been better, Greg Wagland speaks like a robot, over-annunciating everything to such a degree that my toenails curled up and died. I'm not sure what went wrong, but he speaks like an OK, google with aspergers. Weird, hurried, emotionless pro-nun-ci-a-tion of words.

Any additional comments?

I went out and bought the book, because this reading was murder.

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  • Patrick
  • 02-24-17

one hell of a good listen

To all who care about science fiction and world's beyond our dreams, I promise that this book is worth every second of your time.

the story will blow you away and stay with you long after the Audible man hopes that you've enjoyed this programme. And Greg Wagland (who also did a HG Wells title or two, look it up) is just perfect at describing the contemplative nature of the aliens, and at capturing the emotion in each scene.

Absolutely loved this book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-07-17

Absolutely breathtaking

Occasionally , not very often, a book comes along which just floors you completely. This is without a doubt one of the very best of that flavour of story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Katie
  • 10-08-18

Good idea, but wishy washy

I liked the idea of this book. And for the most part I found it "enjoyable".
But it wasn't exciting. It didn't make me want to listen to it again.
And it felt like a few different books - you get invested in one set of characters and then it's a new time frame and new characters, with just bland endings for each of them.
overall, good storyline, but very boring execution