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Childhood's End Mass Market Paperback – 29 Mar 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews

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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 1.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" A FIRST-RATE TOUR DE FORCE."
--The New York Times
" A FRIGHTENINGLY LOGICAL, BELIEVABLE, AND GRIMLY PROPHETIC TALE . . . CLARKE IS A MASTER."
--Los Angeles Times

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

"A FIRST-RATE TOUR DE FORCE."
--The New York Times
"A FRIGHTENINGLY LOGICAL, BELIEVABLE, AND GRIMLY PROPHETIC TALE . . . CLARKE IS A MASTER."
--Los Angeles Times

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

"A FIRST-RATE TOUR DE FORCE."
--The New York Times
"A FRIGHTENINGLY LOGICAL, BELIEVABLE, AND GRIMLY PROPHETIC TALE . . . CLARKE IS A MASTER."
--Los Angeles Times

"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"

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

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"

"From the Trade Paperback edition.""

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

From the Trade Paperback edition."

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first heard this serialised on Radio 4 back in the late 1990s and it always stuck in my mind as being absolutely spell-binding. Still, despite this, Childhood’s End never seemed to have reached quite the same amount of mass popular appeal compared to say, The Day of the Triffids and I never really heard much more about it, so I was delighted to spot a copy in my local library and now, at last, I have sat down and read this. It does feel like somewhat overdue. Written in the 1950s, this novel draws heavily on post-war themes to create a bewildering and un-nerving tale that questions what it means to exist. Clearly set in the close aftermath of World War II, Clarke describes how humanity came very close to its own destructions when all of a sudden, the huge mysterious ships arrived in the sky – the Overlords had arrived.

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.
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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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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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