- Publisher: Harcourt (Jun. 1963)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0151172056
- ISBN-13: 978-0151172054
- Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,493,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Childhood's End Hardcover – 1 Jun 1963
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"A first-rate tour de force."--"The New York Times"
"Frighteningly logical, believable, and grimly prophetic . . . [Arthur C.] Clarke is a master."--"Los Angeles Times"
"There has been nothing like it for years; partly for the actual invention, but partly because here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim on humanity than its own 'survival.' "--C. S. Lewis
"As a science fiction writer, Clarke has all the essentials."--Jeremy Bernstein, "The New Yorker"
A first-rate tour de force. "The New York Times"
Frighteningly logical, believable, and grimly prophetic . . . [Arthur C.] Clarke is a master. "Los Angeles Times"
There has been nothing like it for years; partly for the actual invention, but partly because here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim on humanity than its own survival. C. S. Lewis
As a science fiction writer, Clarke has all the essentials. Jeremy Bernstein, "The New Yorker"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Arthur C. Clarke's classic in which he ponders humanity's future and possible evolution. Now a major TV series from SKY! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Karellen is the Overlords’ apparent leader and it is he who first speaks to humanity, in perfect English and displaying an admirable knowledge of our ways – but it is just Karellen’s voice that we hear, his face remains a mystery, as is where he and his fellows may have come from. From there, Karellen communicates directly with the leader of the United Nations and even to Stormgren, always from behind a one-way pane of glass. Hysteria builds amongst radical groups and what exactly the Overlords truly are and what it is that they have to hide – the Freedom League proclaims that although Karellen’s plans for humanity appear to be to the good, his true agenda is unknown. The Overlords outlaw cruelty to animals, war, famine and racial segregation. They put down the building blocks for a one-world state. And at long last, they agree that they will show themselves. In fifty years.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic Clarke, would make a decent film (hint hint). Somewhat downbeat towards the end as the future of mankind becomes clear but all the better for that. Top notch.Published 11 days ago by Nigel Short
Great book. Last time I read Childhood's End, this revision hadn't been written. I need to find the 1953 edition to see the differences now...Published 13 days ago by confabulous
Saw film first. Read book later to see if it made things ay clearer. Although different from film, still in the dark.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
This was a story that captured my imagination, I read it in one long session unable to leave the words until the very last.Published 19 days ago by Teldel
When I read this when I was a teenager,it's impact was not so great,but after fifty years and thousands of sci fi novels,I am now able to embrace the huge concepts and enjoy... Read morePublished 27 days ago by George Phillips
The image of giant craft hanging over the cities of the world has such allure that many a Science fiction movie starts this way. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pchat
- I am sure as others have said the amazing thing about this book is when it was written and how relevant it is today to the problems of the world we live in, - it describes human... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ian916