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Childhood's End Childhood's End [School & Library Binding]

Arthur Charles Clarke
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1987 0881032646 978-0881032642
The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city - intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began. But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. As civilization approaches the crossroads, will the Overlords spell the end for humankind...or the beginning? "In Eric Summerer's capable hands, the plot of Childhood's End is smoothly presented and fully credible. ...Summerer excels at delivering the aliens' quiet and intensely engaging dialogue with people. His nuanced performance creates a growing feeling of uneasiness in the listener as the Overlords' insatiable curiosity and watchfulness begin to suggest something less than benign at work." (AudioFile)
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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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. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From the Publisher

CHILDHOOD'S END and 3001: FINAL ODYSSEY
A couple of years ago, at the national television syndication convention, I was chatting with Stan Lee (of Marvel Comics). He was asking me what was up at Del Rey, and I mentioned 3001: FINAL ODYSSEY, as well as the new mass market edition we'd just done of CHILDHOOD'S END. Stan stated enthusiastically that, if there was one thing he most wanted to do in this world, it was make a movie of CHILDHOOD'S END, one of his favorite novels. He apparently loves Clarke's work.

So when I got back to the office, I dropped a copy of the two books into the mail. About a week later I was listening to my lunchtime voice mail messages, and there were Stan's unmistakeable tones, sincerely thanking me for the books. This guy deals with the James Cameron's of the world, yet a gift of Arthur C. Clarke causes him to make the time to express his gratitude.

--Steve Saffel, Senior Editor --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


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BEFORE SHE FLEW to the launch site, Helena Lyakhov always went through the same ritual. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Classics March 19 2008
Format:Paperback
This book is one of the greatest classic and most influential works that I have ever read. Not only that, it is also the most prophetic novel as it seemed to reveal the culture to which we now live: a new generation being absorbed to a greatest extent in the worlds of cyberspace and mass media where we might as well be under the control of the extraterrestrial intelligence. This is certainly a book that cannot be put down, as I would surly recommend it.

I won't bring here a spoiler, but to say that this book will certainly leave you as uncertain as well wanting to know more and also not knowing what outcome will be. It is very easy to read and relatively a short book. I was quite amazed at the fact that this book was written over a half a century ago because I felt this book is very relevant today as it was then. It is both terrifying and most certainly an eye-opening read.

Recently, the author Arthur Clarke has passed away and he will greatly be missed. His works and legacy has the greatest impact on the modern culture. His classic works, especially "Childhood's End" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," are highly memorable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awkward structure, amazing book June 17 2014
By Piata
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first Arthur C. Clarke book I've read and I became an instant fan.

Clarke does an amazing job of building mystery and awe from the very start. Who are the visitors? Why won't they show themselves? Why won't they let us explore space? Why are they here? All these answers are given and each one is more interesting than the last.

If there is one flaw, it's that the book jumps around a lot as it details events that happen over generations but the final payoff is worth it. This is the kind of ending that makes you stop and think for days about it's ramifications.

A must read for anyone that even remotely likes sci-fi.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read! Jan. 15 2014
By John S.
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my teens I read this book and loved it then! Decades later I bought the book again and loved it even more! It's classic Clarke at his finest!
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5.0 out of 5 stars CRAZY BRILLIANT Dec 31 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tangibly connects the quantum entanglement concept into a logical progression of the human condition. We are simply a part of the cosmos and this story tells us of the consequential end of humanity. Scary genius stuff
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4.0 out of 5 stars Aliens here for unique purpose July 31 2013
By Rose TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Arthur C Clarke. Not for his characters but for his imagination regarding space, humanity's evolution, and alien planets and species. I don't necessarily love all of his books, but I know where he is coming from and I applaud the efforts he took to put his speculations into words in the form of stories. I love his use of the laws of the universe and quantum mechanics to create a plausible story.

** Spoiler Alert ** I don't know whether to be happy or sad about the ending of this one. Humanity moves on to a new stage in our evolution (good) but it is not the glorious transition you might imagine it to be (bad) and in the end they destroy the planet and everything on it in the process (very bad) to become one with the "Overmind" - a collective of minds from throughout the universe who had shed their physical selves long ago. This book ended reminding me very much of Olaf Stapledon's Starmaker
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Author Arthur Charles Clarke is renowned as one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. His "2001: A Space Odyssey", written with and filmed by Stanley Kubrick, is viewed as one of the seminal works in science fiction history. Obviously, Clarke didn't make his career out of one single book (and movie). He has been quite a prodigious, and proficient, writer. In addition to writing three sequels to the "2001" saga, he also wrote the best-selling "Rama" series, numerous single novels like "Hammer of God" and "Songs of Distant Earth", and untold numbers of short stories. His stories have won just about every conceivable award for this genre and have achieved the dual goal of garnering critical praise and popular approval. Of all his novels, though, it may be one of his earliest that still stands as his best.

"Childhood's End" was first published in 1953, a time when the cold war was in full form and people were beginning to truly look towards the stars for other life and possibilities for exploration. "Childhood's End" tapped into that fertile imagination to craft a story of profound scale and meaning. It begins one day when numerous spaceships suddenly appear in the sky above Earth. They are flown by an alien species referred to as the Overlords. The purpose of their journey to third planet of the Solar System is subject to much speculation and fear. These aliens seem to be a benevolent race that only wants to help humanity solve the problems that plague it. In fifty years, these Overlords will end ignorance, poverty, war, and disease. To what end do they do this, though? The absence of any obstacles and struggles renders humanity complacent and inert.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Study of Humanity May 30 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
No one person is the main character of this book. The main character is the Human race. Childhood's end challenges the typical views of humans and forces you to think thoughts that have never occured to you.
How would humanity act while facing a global crisis?
What if Earth's existance owed a "superior" civilization for even living?
What if Mankind could achieve what no other race could?
When will the time of humans come to an end?
These deep philisophical questions are what Childhood's End is all about. Highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars AC Clarke vs. PT Barnum....
Like most dystopic novel fans, I, too, became engrossed in the movie presentation of "2001, A Space Odyssey". Read more
Published on July 12 2011 by Ronald W. Maron
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Clarke's Best
Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008) is one of the masters of the genre of Science Fiction from its golden age. Read more
Published on May 16 2008 by Dave_42
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly diminished
Although I have enjoyed many of Arthur C. Clarke's books, this is one that made almost no impression upon me. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2006 by Krypter
5.0 out of 5 stars I continue to be a huge Arthur C Clarke fan!
Along with Asimov and other great science-fiction authors whose works have added themselves to other great works by other sci-fi masters: "Stranger in a Strange Land",... Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Christopher
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of the human race
This book is one of the most important books ever written. It's authored by a man whose statement: "The greatest human tragedy was the hijacking of morality by religion. Read more
Published on June 14 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Childhood's End
Being forced to read this book, I thought it stank. I mean, who wants to read a book about aliens, opps i mean Overlords, taking over the earth and turning the children into robots... Read more
Published on June 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars SUBLIME
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... Read more
Published on May 22 2004 by DAVID BRYSON
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