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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Beautiful, elegiac.

This is a beautiful gift from Arthur C. Clarke. What a vision. Beautifully written and beautifully read by Summerer. Sci-fi at its best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Should have been followed verbatim in Tv movie

Better than SyFy movie. Really enjoyed Audible book.
The movie did not give justice to the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • 12-22-15

unexpectedly weird

Very good performance and engaging story. The mystical element, which i see now is a theme for Clarke, is curious and important to understand many subsequent sci-fi works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mind-Bending Science-Fiction Classic

Maybe even more than Arthur C. Clarke's own "2001: A Space Odyssey," this early novel goes to places that leave you fascinated beyond your imagination.

(Thematic SPOILERS)

Clarke is known for being grounded in science and a realistic approach to his fiction. But, this novel famously led him to add a "The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author." And, especially as you reach the book's conclusion, you can see why!

This is a novel that gets very trippy! As I said, maybe more so than in "2001." I was truly fascinated by how transcendent the novel is. You really feel like you've been on a truly unique journey. And, you can see why this novel is Clarke's most famous. It challenges you in very special ways.

I listened to the audio version through Audible. The recording was by Brilliance Audio, who has done other works by Clarke. The performer was Eric Summerer, who does a beautiful job! Highly recommended.

But, in whatever way you decide to take on this classic, definitely do! It is most certainly worth your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sci Fi Tale Where Humanity Meets the Sublime

A quick listen and powerful message, this is a story that will leave you both emotionally shaken and intellectually awakened. An entertaining read that can only be compared to the Foundation series or Dune for the gravity with which it treats man's fate in the universe. A fine read for new and veteran Sci Fi fans alike.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow, I now see why it is widely consider a classic

Would you consider the audio edition of Childhood's End to be better than the print version?

If you are checking the reviews, then you probably already know how great this novel is, the audio book is just as great. Stop wasting time and get it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Saint Charles, MO, United States
  • 09-29-15

Childhood's End to 1950's Optimisim

Most Clarke fans have read this at least once. I wanted to revisit it in audio format and quite happy that I did.

The 50's were a dichotomy of absolute fear of nuclear annihilation and hope of meeting others beyond our solar system. The thought was, "Yes mankind is totally screwed and we will all die, but in just a little time some nice all knowing alien race will save us from ourselves. This is 90% of Childhood's End.

The end of the story is a bit of a twist, but you have heard the first part often. This might sound like this book is nothing but 1950's drivel, but that would be incorrect. Mr. Clarke spins a futuristic yarn better than any other during his time. The characters and story come across as real and plausible despite their fantastic nature.

If you have never read this or have you should get this. It really is a treat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant Performance, Masterpiece Storytelling

Instead of just writing big words like "Amazing" or "Masterpiece" for my review, let me explain. The voice over work here is top notch, the narrator does a great job giving each character their own voice and personality, and is able to present the events as the unfold in the story with the appropriate tone. The story itself is excellent, Clarke's Masterpiece still holds up several decades later. Clarke's writing style allows the reader to easily visualize every event that's occurs, giving them the ability to understand the sheer epic scope of the story itself. No matter how strange scenario, nor complex the concepts, Clarke presents his narrative in a way that is approachable to anyone. The way he develops the Overlords is nothing short of brilliant, making the reader sympathize with, and understand the POV of, the Earth's Alien masters. And the tour-dé-force moments are really powerful, and hit the reader hard when they come. This is what Neon Genesis Evangelion wishes it could be. Overall, if you are a fan of science-fiction of any kind, pick up this Audio book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

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Amazing poetic rendition of men's next frontier!

Philosophical yet scientifically possible, the words of Arthur C Clarke in this novel have stretched the imagination of many who want to seek for more meaning of what lies ahead. After reading this book I thought that Space is the final frontier. This book has shown a different dimension of men's next journey. It's hard to describe without giving too much information however this book has impressed me so much that it is impossible to forget. Arthur C Clarke did a good job describing a nearly impossible scenario. The story is mind-boggling and overwhelmingly exciting. I love it and I can't wait to read his other books - my adventure just got started!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful