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Childhood's End

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
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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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  • 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 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.

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  • 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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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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