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Childhood's End Mass Market Paperback – 29 Mar 1994


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Mass Market Paperback, 29 Mar 1994
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; Reprint edition (29 Mar 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345347951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345347954
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,049,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Somerset in 1917, Arthur C. Clarke has written over sixty books, among which are the science fiction classics 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars and Rendezvous With Rama. He has won all the most prestigious science fiction trophies, and shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of the film of 2001. He was knighted in 1998. He died in 2008 at his home in Sri Lanka.

Product Description

Review

"'There has been nothing like it for years' C. S. Lewis; 'The Colossus Of Science Fiction' New York Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Arthur C. Clarke's classic in which he ponders humanity's future and possible evolution. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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BEFORE SHE FLEW to the launch site, Helena Lyakhov always went through the same ritual. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Nov 1998
Format: Paperback
A brilliant book in which Clarke explores the theme of man's position within the universe. Unlike a lot of Clarke's work which draws heavily on scientific principles this is not a factually based novel.
A highly fantastic plot sees a race of aliens take control of earth and outlaw all immoral acts, instantly producing world peace, through use of their superior technology. Unlike many SF novels, however, they are here not to conquor the globe but to prepare humanity for the future. Some, of course are not willing to sit back and accept this life of blissful slavery from the moralistic aliens. They are determined to discover the truth behind the alien's plans, why noone has ever seen one an alien and precisely what this future holds. The nature of what is to come in the future may not be very believable but this is one of Clarke's space-fantasy novels not factual science-fiction. The end of the book will make you turn back to the front cover to double check it has Arthur C. Clarke's name on it.
The first few editions of the novel had the words "The views expressed in this book are not those of the author" printed on page 1. In the introduction to the later editions, Clarke explains why he insisted on those lines being included as the novel revolves around the idea that man's place is here on earth not in the stars.
This is a superb, thought provoking novel. While the plot may not be all that credible the themes discussed in this book: man's positition in the universe; whether enforced heaven is acceptable and whether man's place is on earth or in the stars are what makes it one of the best science-fiction novels ever written. It may have been written over thirty years ago but it is still relevant in today's world.
Not necessarily for all Arthur C.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ImmortalWind on 16 Feb 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read about 10 books by Clarke, and this one definetely goes up to my top three along with "2001" and "2010". If you're a Clarke fan, you have to buy it by any means. If you're thinking of going through Clarke's work for the first time, I would recommend to start from here.

What is this all about? Well, I don't want to spoil anything for you. Let's just say it's a story that unfolds throughout a 100 year period (!), and it concerns humankind's first encounter with superior alien forms, and the fate of the human race. While I loved the book, I believe that it has one mayor drawback. Clarke tries to describe a huge story (100 years that is), in less than 300 pages, and that doesn't always work good. I just wish that the book was a little longer, there are so many more things I would like to know about, but... anyway, a great novel nevertheless.

The bottom line is this: I honestly believe that the story of this book is a very realistic, probable, future scenario for humankind, and that says it all. But that's just me...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on 27 Sep 2007
Format: Paperback
I'd heard about this book while trawling the Internet a few times, but had never actually got around to buying it. I'm not a great fan of Arthur C. Clarke to be frank - although I have read the 20xx and Rama books and greatly enjoyed those.

Childhood's end is quite short and I'd describe the writing style as both simple and a little outdated. Perfectly reasonable when you understand it was written many years ago - a revamped beginning helps it along though. You don't really get time to build up a relationship with any of the main protaganists to be honest... they're almost always on the periphery as the story is, in reality, much bigger than any one person can ever be.

The ideas are grand as you'd expect... here we can see a potential end (or beginning) to Humankind both sad and awe-inspiring at the same time but, nevertheless, truly alien - it's the end for what we would all feel comfortable describing as a Human. The concept of an enforcement, shepherd race is almost reassuring in one way and, then again, despairing (if not at least for them!) and the idea in here of a genetic memory is probably the earliest I'd personally place it in any work of fiction.

Considering this is touted as a classic, it should be on most people's To-Read list I would suggest. It was on mine and now I have bought it and read it I am pleased I did so... it's not a book that you'd ever really need to go back to though - read it once and file it away somewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Of the golden age sci-fi writers generation, Clarke may be the only one who produced true literature. His books are so finely written, so superby researched, and so subtle and dramatic that he set the standard for the best who were to follow.

Childhood's end is probably the best of his earlier books. Clarke maintains a sense of mystery until the very end, titillating the reader with clues.

Without revealing the plot, humankind is visited by enigmatic space craft, perched over the major cities of the planet. The aliens will not allow themselves to be seen and they let mankind develop more or less as it pleases, though subtly guiding it and rarely overtly. While reading it, you feel the vastness of the universe and the wonder of existence, which sounds pretentious but Clarke pulls it off. He also weaves in certain grand themes, such as the unity of apocalyptic visions in the major religions, the complexity of time, and the destiny of the human mind, all of which are inter-linked. This creates a permanent space in the imagination of the reader, to be nutured for a lifetime.

Recommended as a great introduction to the world of sci-fi.
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