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Childhood's End (Classic Radio Sci-Fi) Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Aug 2007

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 2 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (6 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405677864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405677868
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 15.2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,513 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


"'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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 46 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caius Axim on 25 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Sir Arthur wrote Childhood's End in a simple style that was as easy and enjoyable for me to read at the age of ten as it has been throughout my adult life. The book overflows with exciting and inspiring ideas but they are always expressed clearly and concisely. There is no attempt to impress the reader with techno-babble or fantasy. The action ranges across the Earth from great cities to wilderness areas, from deep underground to underwater, and aboard alien starships that cross interstellar space to a home-world forty light-years distant. The book's ideas, the thoughts and words of its characters (human and alien) and action sequences drive the story forward logically towards a transcendental vision of our future that has been mediated by non-human beings.

The book seems directly relevant today, even though it was written sixty years before we discovered potentially-habitable exoplanets around other stars, and also before it was generally accepted by those who have researched or investigated the subject intensively, that what seem to be non-human beings actually visit or reside on our planet. The thoughts and discussions of the book's human characters about the nature and purpose of the aliens whom they call the Overlords seem uncomfortably prescient as we now struggle to understand the nature, purpose, and activities of the aliens that people have reported they observed or encountered. When the Overlords finally show themselves, their physical appearance seems to anticipate the research that was later carried out into folklore resources by Dr. Jacques Vallée and others.

The book's main protagonist identifies the parent star of the Overlords' home world by taking advantage of a social gathering around a high-tech version of an Ouija board.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on 27 Sept. 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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