Jul 17, 12
Read in July, 2012
This is the first Arthur C. Clarke SF novel I've read, and I only wished I'd spent time on his works earlier. Childhood's End is the story of Earth in the 1950's Cold War Era -- visited by spaceships run by the Overlords. No, this isn't some cheesy Independence Day-style story where all the cities get blown up. Rather, the Overlords are the appointed guardians of man, and they are charged with helping humans to create a better world. But just what is a better world? What happens when man becomes comfortable and loses his/her survival extincts? Is it truly good when we stop warring with each other? How does this effect creativity? What is the price of this peace that the Overlords bring and the golden era that follows?
The questions above came up in my mind during the first hundred pages, and I was still surprised when the story took a completely different roadmap to new territory. I have to admit, for something written over 50 years ago, I thought I could predict where Clarke was trying to lead the reader, but I was delightfully surprised when he took the story in a dark, yet new and exciting direction. I recommend this to any SF fan who enjoys works like those by Asimov, Herbert, and Card. This is also a great intro into the Clarke repertoire. I wish I'd discovered this earlier!