Childhood's End, Hardback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Arthur C. Clarke's classic in which he ponders humanity's future and possible evolutionWhen the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect.

But, although the Overlords kept themselves hidden from man, they had come to unite a warring world and to offer an end to poverty and crime.

When they finally showed themselves it was a shock, but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began.But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and begin to evolve into something incomprehensible to their parents, and soon they will be ready to join the Overmind ... and, in a grand and thrilling metaphysical climax, leave the Earth behind.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780575082359

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Arthur C. Clarke is one of the titans of sci-fi and with <i>Childhood's End</i>, he demonstrates why. In what starts out as a fairly regular sci-fi tale in which extremely advanced aliens descend on Earth and end all ills, ushering in a new golden age, soon becomes a grim requiem for all humanity as the children born during the golden age are preternaturally gifted. This leads to the end of all humanity since the children are no longer human, rather a new evolutionary path that has been chosen to join the Overmind while the remnants of humanity die and the aliens (or Overseers) leave, unable to join the Overmind themselves. <br/><br/>Clarke thus joins a select few sci-fi authors (such as Stapledon, Wells, and Lewis) who are able to infuse gripping sci-fi narratives with deep philosophical questions. Children naturally outlive their parents but in Clarke's story this is taken to its fullest extent: a dead-end passing to a life of possibility. The preternaturally-gifted children represent a new dawn for "humanity", while the parents and the rest of mankind are left behind. The threat is intrinsic to what they are, not what they can do. <br/><br/>Thus the climax of the novel, while perhaps somewhat predictable, remains with the reader since it is a macrocosm of humanity's own existence as each successive generation comes to pass. Clarke's book, though by now sixty years old, remains a staple of the genre and is rightly his most perfect novel.

Review by

A good story, but it's based on the idea that the paranormal is real. Hard for me to believe Clarke would be so gullible, and he sounds a little chagrined himself in the afterword.

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