Customer Reviews for

Childhood's End

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
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(29)

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(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Satisfying for Clarke readers

Childhood's End is my third favorite of Clarke's fiction books behind Rama and 2001. What I think makes Childhood's End and the rest of Clarke's books so great is not only the picture he paints in the reader's head, but also how he can make the reader think deeply about...
Childhood's End is my third favorite of Clarke's fiction books behind Rama and 2001. What I think makes Childhood's End and the rest of Clarke's books so great is not only the picture he paints in the reader's head, but also how he can make the reader think deeply about the role of humanity in the Universe. I actually do not like most science fiction because many have no themes or messages behind them, making the book simply an imaginative image with no purpose, but Clarke's books are an exception.
The Overlord ships may remind you of the ships from Independence Day or a few other movies that consist of aliens coming to Earth and stationing themselves over the major cities. But keep in mind, at the time it was written, none of these movies existed, making this book entirely original.
The book is split into three parts, the first and the last seem more exciting. It spans over a long period of time, more than 50 years, making character development a little rushed in its 240 pages. I like the quote on the back of the book, "will the Overlords spell the end of humankind...or the beginning." because that is really what Clarke tries to get readers to think about.
The book is a must-read for anyone who has enjoyed any of Clarke's other works, and hopefully a mind-expanding read for people who have not yet been exposed to any of Clarke's work.

posted by Stevey on October 24, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not much there

I decided to read this book based on positive reviews. Within itself it was an OK read, much like hundreds of other books. But in the end I found it unremarkable and a bit disappointing. I was discouraged to see Clarke use parapsychological phenomena the way he did. ...
I decided to read this book based on positive reviews. Within itself it was an OK read, much like hundreds of other books. But in the end I found it unremarkable and a bit disappointing. I was discouraged to see Clarke use parapsychological phenomena the way he did. His usage didn't make me think 'Hmm, maybe that could work' but instead I thought 'Gee, that's pretty lame.' There was really nothing thought-provoking in this book.

posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2004

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  • Posted October 24, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Satisfying for Clarke readers

    Childhood's End is my third favorite of Clarke's fiction books behind Rama and 2001. What I think makes Childhood's End and the rest of Clarke's books so great is not only the picture he paints in the reader's head, but also how he can make the reader think deeply about the role of humanity in the Universe. I actually do not like most science fiction because many have no themes or messages behind them, making the book simply an imaginative image with no purpose, but Clarke's books are an exception.<BR/>The Overlord ships may remind you of the ships from Independence Day or a few other movies that consist of aliens coming to Earth and stationing themselves over the major cities. But keep in mind, at the time it was written, none of these movies existed, making this book entirely original. <BR/>The book is split into three parts, the first and the last seem more exciting. It spans over a long period of time, more than 50 years, making character development a little rushed in its 240 pages. I like the quote on the back of the book, "will the Overlords spell the end of humankind...or the beginning." because that is really what Clarke tries to get readers to think about. <BR/>The book is a must-read for anyone who has enjoyed any of Clarke's other works, and hopefully a mind-expanding read for people who have not yet been exposed to any of Clarke's work.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    A satisfying read

    This is one of the best science fiction stories I have ever read. The story is told as a mystery, which slowly unravels as it progresses. I couldn't stop reading it once I had started. The story offers an alternate view on the progression of mankind. The style is similar to the movie 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' in that the characters are trying to find out what's going on, and with an ending which satisfies the wait.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Another Hollywood Theft

    If you have seen the movie Armagedon you will recognize the beginning of this book and the short story that preceeded it, are almost identical to the beginning of the movie. As I sat in the movie theater I was shocked, and asked myself if Arthur C. Clarke got any credit for the inspiration of the movie. It is a good book, and it will make you think, 'What would I do?'.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    a perenial sci-fi classic

    Set in the not so distant future a large reptilian creature that has an unfortunate (from its viewpoint) resemblance to mankind's traditional symbols for for the devil is the guest of honor at a suburban cocktail party. This is a strictly A-list affair and the host family is thrilled to be hosting such a celebrity but mom is not so sure why she has been chosen for such a singular honor. The creature and the family's oldest son become the main protagonist in this story about the end of time as we know it. It is a spiritual gem and a real page turner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    great book.

    a must read for any science fiction fan.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    My Favorite Novel

    This is Arthur C Clarke's first published novel, and, according to many (including myself), his best. Like most Clarke novels, it focuses on the "big picture." Like the characters? Too bad: they're not important. Clarke doesn't want you to care about the characters; he wants you to care about the message. The message in this story is that our time on this planet is short, we are destined for great things, and we need to stay calm and level headed even in the most extreme of circumstances. This story is more relevant now then when it was written more than 50 years ago, and always makes a good gift to someone on the verge of adulthood.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    Childhood's End got a little lengthy and drawn out toward the middle. Clarke proposes some interesting ideas on what the earth's role might be in the universal context. But this is, afterall, a work of fiction. The first third of the book as well as the last few chapters were the most enjoyable.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    'It's was a barbed tail!'

    This is how the author of the original story ended 'The Guardian Angels'(original name).Who ever assumed the right to cut this story up and give it a new ending and another half book - quite frankly did not know what he was doing. Childhood's End is awful - the second part of the book has no resemblance to Arthur Clarke and his style. 'The Guardian Angels' was a wonderful tale and should not have been tampered with. I am surprised that Mr. Clarke has let this stand for so many years. For the sake of selling a few more books the original story was damaged beyond repair and the second half was worse than awful - it is dark and not at all hopeful and one feels betrayed by Mr. Clarke. Read this book - NO - don't waste your time. Read 'The Guardian Angels' YES - it is delightful and very well written.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    The aliens are coming!

    Childhood's End is one of Arthur C. Clarke's longest enduring and most well-known works. The story, about mankind's first encounter with extra-terrestrial visitors, has set the stage for many stories and movies since it was first published over fifty years ago (although I think the previous reviewer was referring to the movie Independence Day, and not Armageddon). Of course, this being a Clarke tale, the aliens are benevolent, and mankind advances into an age of unparalleled peace and prosperity. But hey, what is it those aliens really want anyway? Unfortunately, this not being the Twilight Zone, no cookbook ever surfaces. The answer, however, surprised me, and gave new meaning(s) to the title. Clarke's novels, especially the early ones, are not particularly well-written -- the characters are shallow and underdeveloped, the plot lurches around like a drunken sailor on shore leave, and there are long boring stretches where the narrative drones on and on about nothing in particular. Still, for classic sci-fi, this is a decent read, and it's not too long. If you don't like classic sci-fi, or you are looking for 'literature' subtract two stars from the rating and try something else.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2004

    Not much there

    I decided to read this book based on positive reviews. Within itself it was an OK read, much like hundreds of other books. But in the end I found it unremarkable and a bit disappointing. I was discouraged to see Clarke use parapsychological phenomena the way he did. His usage didn't make me think 'Hmm, maybe that could work' but instead I thought 'Gee, that's pretty lame.' There was really nothing thought-provoking in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2003

    Not what I expected

    All the illustrations and book covers that I've seen about this book, have made it appear like a Human Race versus Alien Invaders type of story. It is not this kind of story, but for lovers of Authur C. Clarke's work such as 2001, there will be little disappointment. The Overlords are treated as a source of distrust in the first 2/3rds of the book, but then their role in the story is altered greatly in the last 1/3rd of the book. It is - quite frankly - a surprising ending that keeps the reader going, but for me it was a bit of a letdown. A good read, but not a great one for this Sci-Fi buff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2003

    Highly reccomended sci-fi book

    For all of you sci-fi lovers out there, this book will not disappoint you. The book is seperated into three parts, each in which new characters are introduced. The ending is great and it is something you never would have thought of.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2003

    Pre Civil War Sectionalism

    Some books make a lifetime impact on the reader. Some books are so proufoundly inspiring that they alter the course of the evolution of society. This is not one of those books. In fact, it seems like this book has degraded our society rather than imroved it. I liked it, though. It started out slow, but had a surprise ending, which i liked. :). I read it in 4 days!!!1 non stop.!!@ You should read this book, because it will change your life!!34

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    Review

    This was a very entertaining book. It is hard to believe that somebody that long ago was able to think up a story that was so futaristic. I also liked it because of its surprise ending. The only downside this book had was that it was somewhat confusing. Characters would always be coming in and out of the storyline for no reason sometimes. I do, however, recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    It was a great book!

    This was a great easy read book that i had to read for my 8th grade book report. The beginning was boring, but i eventually got into the book and couldn't put it down. I would love to read other books by Arthur C. Clarke!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2002

    Worth your Time

    A wonderful book, that I read 2yrs ago in 8th grade and loved. It will be above most people under 16 but if you enjoy surprise endings and the freedom to use your imagination then this is a great choice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2002

    Excellent Book

    I read this book in 8hours. That's how good it is, I couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2002

    A Good Book to Read

    This is a wonderful example of a sci-fi writer who did his work. However, this book is much bigger than just a sci-fi work. This book is the frightenly educated prediction of the future. Who might the over-lords be? After having read this book alongside many others by authors who had the same agenda, I realize that Clarke is not just trying to write a piece of compelling science-fiction; he is trying to send a message to the world about societies structure and about our belief systems.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2001

    makes you wonder!!

    At first i thought, how boring. I'm really not a fan of sci-fi but as i continued reading it, my attention was grasped.After reading this book, it made me wonder about the possibilities. It combined fact and fiction which i thought was great.It's a bit sad but i recommend this story to those who like to wonder and think.It takes your imagination to further depths.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2001

    One of the Ten Best I've Ever Read

    I've read this book three times over the last 20 years. The best science fiction book I've ever read. Lots going on, twists and turns, unexpected situations, surprise ending, very sad if you are a parent. My 14-year-old read it and loved it. So much more than a book about aliens!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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