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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke, Eric Michael Summerer, Robert J. Sawyer

Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years, they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty. Then this golden age ends—and then the age of Mankind begins....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781423395041
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 11/15/2009
Edition description: Library Edition
Product dimensions: 6.76(w) x 7.39(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

Arthur C. Clarke has long been considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time and was an international treasure in many other ways, including the fact that an article by him in 1945 led to the invention of satellite technology. Books by Mr. Clarke—both fiction and nonfiction—have more than one hundred million copies in print worldwide. He died in 2008.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1917

Date of Death:

March 19, 2008

Place of Birth:

Minehead, Somerset, England

Place of Death:

Sri Lanka


1948, King's College, London, first-class honors in Physics and Mathematics

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Childhood's End 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Stevey More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?'.
review4U More than 1 year ago
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.
psychonaut More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 8hours. That's how good it is, I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is not one of those that are all played out boring about aliens, and thier invasion but this book is actually worth reading and it will lure you in as you go along!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book and it so logically brings to a close the questions about our origins and about God and the universe. I read it at least once a year and pick up something new. I highly recommend the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been lucky enough to enjoy the very best of science fiction since I was a third grader in 1966. Of all the novels in this genre, 'Childhood's End' has been my favorite, so much so that I've lent out at least five copies to share my wonder, and never gotten a one of them back. If you enjoy allegorical prediction, and have ever wanted to read a sci-fi novel that addressed the schism between science and religion, then this is the novel you want to read. Clarke's '2001' series is remarkable, but this early Clarke novel serves as the diaspora of so many modern sci-fi threads that it stands alone as a modern classic. If you enjoy this genre, you will laugh, you will cry a bit, but you will end this read feeling good about the future of mankind. #1 on my list of the Best of the Best. crcox
catburglar More than 1 year ago
Genre: science fiction. Begins with a prologue. A unique and fascinating story; well-written; full of surprises; Mr. Clarke has a great writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Erin_Denk More than 1 year ago
My favorite of Clarke's novels aside from 2001, and one of my favorite sci-fi books ever (full disclosure: I'm not a big sci-fi fan.)  Clarke painted some wonderful images in my head with this book, and often, when I'm looking at images coming back from the Hubble Space Telescope, I think, "wow, this looks like Clarke's descriptions."  Except he wrote that stuff long before Hubble was launched.  'A true visionary!
marsshine29 More than 1 year ago
I'm 51 years old now, and I read this book when I was about 12. I think it is one of the all time best science fiction stories ever written...although there have been many.It's a great read...amazing. Even Mr. Clarke thought it was one of his best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book! Beautifully written. A fantastic description of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the blessings or courses that go along with such incredible thinking. 
lizasarusrex More than 1 year ago
This novel tells the tale of the last generation of mankind on Earth. All man's development in space and travel are stopped by alien "overlords" who take over Earth, establishing a benevolent dictatorship which eliminates poverty, ignorance and disease. This golden age ends abruptly as the overlords bend to the will of a superior intelligence which demands Earth's destruction. This may seem like a nerdy book but I read it in school and fell in love. I normally don't like "alien" books but this one was just so different then the typical scifi books you imagine. Why can't the overlords show themselves when they first come to earth? Well that's the whole point of the book. You have to read this book! It's a classic Read it and tell me what you think! I would love to discuss this book with you!