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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 (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 935,628 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.

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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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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41 of 48 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 Mel Powell on 21 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked it because it kept me guessing, because I really wanted to know who or what the Overlords were; because I wanted to find out what happened to the children and because I wasn't prepared for the ending until reasonably close, to the ending. Which is generally how I like my endings to manifest.
I hated it at the same time because I loathed the characters. I don't mean, the characterisations weren't good or convincingly done but I thought pretty much all of them belonged on an isolated island from the start. I'm not missing them!
This isn't my favourite AC Clarke. Still good though and I feel bad only giving it 3 stars. I'd like to give it a 3.5 but we can't do half stars and on the ACC Scale, it isn't quite a 4, for me at any rate.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 July 2002
Format: Paperback
It will now be hard to film Childhood's End because the opening, with the great ships suspended over the cities of the earth, was cribbed, intentionally or by coincidence, for Independence Day. That's a pity because it would make a tremendous film being a shattering and most skilfully written story. Here the visitors have not come to despoil our planet, indeed so well put together is the plot that we may well forget to ask ourselves why they have bothered to come along and preside over a golden age of universal peace, prosperity and others of Clarke's (and my) liberal preoccupations such as no cruelty to animals. The book is not 200 pages long but it combines Clarke's special narrative gifts as a short-story writer with a vision of the whole nature and purpose of the universe that I find staggering and intolerably poignant to this day, 30 years after I first read it.
Brian Aldiss has perceptively said that if Stapledon has a successor it is Clarke, and Clarke himself has told us how deeply Stapledon has influenced him. However this book resembles Stapledon in nothing except the scale of the concept. Childhood's End is written by a recognisable human being with power over our emotions -- power indeed! When the overlord first shows himself, I wondered whether the story could ever recover from such a dramatic coup so early on. I need not have worried. The story has not even begun: the truth, when we finally get it not far from the end, wrenches my innards to this day, and between times the crux of the narrative (the seance) is as brilliant a false clue as was ever laid by Agatha Christie. Those of us who have been cursed or maybe blessed with a compulsion to worry about our world and our fate, and who cannot find any clue to it in bibles and such like, are bound to react emotionally to an effort like this. It is not 'tragic' in Aristotle's sense, but for a 'purging of pity and terror' I'm not sure I know anything like it.
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