Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Childhood's End” as Want to Read:
Childhood's End
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Childhood's End

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  97,730 Ratings  ·  3,828 Reviews
In the near future, enormous silver spaceships appear without warning over mankind's largest cities. They belong to the Overlords, an alien race far superior to humanity in technological development-and their purpose is to dominate the Earth. Their demands, however, are surprisingly beneficial-end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published 1963 by Harcourt, Brace & World (first published August 1st 1953)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Childhood's End, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Rick Kastelein hmm, hope i am still in time to give you some advice. I really liked the book, but i think it may be a bit on the boring side for a read aloud book.…morehmm, hope i am still in time to give you some advice. I really liked the book, but i think it may be a bit on the boring side for a read aloud book. Not that much suspense in it or anything. and there are some long slow marts in the book about how ideal civilisations might look like, which i think grades 7/8 wont really like that much.
I could recomand HG wells war of the worlds. A great book to read out loud for that group :D(less)
Ann the sy fy channel just produced a three part mini series. definitely not as good as the book and did veer off on some romantic/stupid tangents...but…morethe sy fy channel just produced a three part mini series. definitely not as good as the book and did veer off on some romantic/stupid tangents...but still a magnificent production. enjoyed it. you can stream online.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Matt
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've done a lot of odd jobs over the years. At one point, back before I got my degree and I was still working to put my wife through school, I worked as a delivery driver for a company that sold construction supplies - 50 lb boxes of powdered Kool-Aid, portable generators, hammers, safety harnesses, 2x4's, circular saws. It was one of those barely above minimum wage jobs generally populated by people who for whatever reason find themselves unable to get anything else and competing against a larg ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
“No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart.”

 photo childhoods-end-cover_zpss9budhjv.jpg

The United States and the Soviet Union were in the midst of a military space race when large ships appeared in the skies over all t
...more
mark monday
you think you're so fucken smart, don't you mark? ha, think again. all your little plans and goals, your little community of friends and family and colleagues, your whole little life... what does it matter in the long run? not a whole fucken lot. grow up.

take this book for example. a classic of the genre, written by a classic author. you thought you knew what you were getting into; you've read countless examples of the type. you sure are a well-read little scifi nerd, aren't you? for the first h
...more
Lyn
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Vonnegut said of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End that it is one of the few masterpieces in the science fiction genre. Vonnegut went on to say that he, Vonnegut, had written all the others.

As humorous as that is, at least the first clause of that declaration I feel to be true. Written simply but with conviction and persuasion, with an almost fable-like narrative quality, Clarke has given to us that rarest of literary achievements: a science fiction masterpiece.

The genius of Clarke
...more
Petra Eggs
I read this long ago, just when I was becoming a teenager and my tastes were changing, you might say I read it at childhood's end.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11. But we cannot do this without the help of our parents and teachers (view spoiler). And so it is the Aliens come.

The story is ess
...more
Samadrita
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Baxter
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my vast expertise of having read all of two, count them, two, Arthur C. Clarke books, I am seeing a common theme. I don't know if it extends beyond that to his other books, but here it is: The universe is a very, very big place. And humans might just be irrelevant to it. What is going on out there is so vast that it's an immense piece of egotism to think of ourselves as central, or even incidental, to it.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodread
...more
Apatt
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I write the TV adaptation of Childhood's End is being promoted by the cable channel Syfy (goddam silly name). Given how much I like this book I will probably watch it but before I do I want to reread the source material first, as it’s been decades since I last read it. Childhood's End is — to my mind — Clarke's best novel. It is very unusual among his works in term of plot and setting. Most of the book is Earthbound and the story starts in the present day (year not specified). Very little tim ...more
David Sheppard
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
{Warning: lots of spoilers.}

I read Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End many years ago. I also read it to my son when he was eight. So why did I come back to a book that was originally published in 1953, read it yet again, and feel it necessary to write a review?

What got me thinking about Childhood’s End again is the emergence of the Internet as force for change within the Global Community. Also, my limited experience teaching university students impressed upon me the impact that the Internet is h
...more
Duane
At one point while reading this I was reminded of astronaut Dave Bowman from 2010: Odyssey Two, when he was telling everyone, "something is going to happen, something wonderful". Something does happen; whether it is wonderful or not is a matter of debate. In 2010 the message was of new beginnings, in Childhoods End it is something quite different. You can't go wrong reading Arthur C. Clarke, just a brilliant writer with a wonderful imagination.
Zigger
Mar 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I always feel so terrible when I read, or attempt to read, Arthur C. Clarke. But I also feel terrible when I don't. I like fantasy. I like science fiction. Arthur C. Clark is a genius, a pioneering, farsighted sci-fi icon. I should like reading his books. And so I try every once in a while, in the same spirit that I eat half a banana once or twice a year. I like fruit. Bananas are good for you. But I have yet to finish either a banana or an Arthur C. Clarke book.

It's me. It must be. So I'm givin
...more
Sanjay Gautam
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surreal, and epic in scope. Mind blowing stuff.
Brad
Old SF sometimes has a kick to it that nothing modern can quite manage. There's a speed and economy of words, of action progressing so quickly that I feel like I'm on a roller-coaster ride and it's all downhill.

This is what Childhood's End feels like.

It's hard not to write about this book without giving away spoilers, so I'll just warn you now and get right down to business.

It starts out with damn old tropes and bit of spunky adventure, but it quickly becomes obvious that all that was a lark. T
...more
Markus
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”He felt no regrets as the work of a lifetime was swept away. He had labored to take man to the stars, and now the stars — aloof, indifferent stars — had come to him.
The human race was no longer alone.”


Out of the authors emerging from the golden age of science fiction, Isaac Asimov is undoubtedly the greatest, but after reading this, I think Arthur C. Clarke might be my favourite.
Shelby
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I know I'm a little late on reading this (it was published in 1953), but as an avid lover of science fiction, in both the literary and cinematic sense, I am so happy that I did choose to pick up this timeless story. My initial motive for deciding to read Arthur C. Clarke's novel was the fact that in about a month, SyFy (I watch almost everything SyFy airs) will be premiering a mini-series based on the work bearing the same name, and I subscribe to the read-the-book-before-you-see-the-movie belie ...more
Manny
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
عنوان: پایان طفولیت؛ پایان کودکی؛ نویسنده: آرتور سی. کلارک؛ انتشاراتیها: سپهر، چکامه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: نوزدهم فوریه سال 1983 میلادی
عنوان: پایان طفولیت؛ نویسنده: آرتور سی. کلارک؛ مترجم: رسول وطن دوست؛ تهران، سپهر، 1362؛ در 285 ص؛ داستانهای خیال انگیز از نویسندگان انگلیسی - قرن 20 م
عنوان: پایان کودکی؛ نویسنده: آرتور سی. کلارک؛ مترجم: جهانگیر بیگلری؛ تهران، چکامه، 1363؛ در 336 ص؛
پایان طفولیت داستان به تکامل رسیدن معنوی انسانها، و در نهایت پیوستن آنها به ابرذهن ه
...more
Jackie
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Childhood's End has been sitting on my bookcase for quite a while. I made a promise to my friend Jason: we traded recommendations for our favorites; he fulfilled his end of the bargain by reading my favorite scifi novel (Dune), so I read his.

In recent times, I've shied away from scifi novels published 50+ years ago as I've been sucked into a good sounding stories only to be disappointed. I don't doubt that these novels were fantastic at the time they were written. It's hard to stand up to time i
...more
Elizabeth
Dec 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Penny
I don't know why I put off reading this for so long. If you've been putting it off, don't. Read it now. It's an easy read and you won't want to put it down.

This story spans a lot of time for such a small book, but it does so effortlessly and with such an eye for human nature and development. The ideas that hold this story up are brilliant and revealed at nice intervals throughout the book. For me the main protagonist was mankind and I felt a deep connection there even though I'd normally hold m
...more
Steve
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oddly, I finally got spurred into reading this great book while watching a documentary on UFOs, featuring Dan Aykroyd! Aykroyd is evidently quite a UFO buff, and during the documentary the discussion (What do UFOs want?) touched upon Clarke's book, Childhood's End. Well, I’m into UFOs. Saw one (at close range) when I was 13 or so. So I went and dug this puppy out of my large “To Read” box downstairs. (My wife says there’s more than one box.)

I’m glad I did, though the book is one of the most prof
...more
Nancy
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I was expecting this book to bore me to tears. Since the book is a classic, I had to give it a try. Clarke's sophisticated, yet easy to read prose had me riveted! While lacking to some degree in human character development, the plot, descriptions and depth of the story more than compensated. I wish Clarke had expanded on the details about how crime, poverty, class consciousness, religion and menial labor were eradicated.

The book left me feeling moved, vaguely sad, yet hopeful about the future o
...more
Amar
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amar by: Krbo
Shelves: read-in-2015, kindle
Whoa... kakva knjiga . Just...wow !
Moja prva SF knjiga i pogodio sam sa kojom da počnem . Ne znam da li je ijedna knjiga ostavila ovakav utisak na mene . Mozak je radio čitavo vrijeme i evo ... i sad ...znam da ću imat narednih dana o nečemu razmišljat .

Sjajno ! ( trenutno sam nesposoban da više napišem osim ...wow )
Terence
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Clarke fans (of course), big-idea SF fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luffy
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Childhood's End proved to be a very readable book. I could assimilate the simply written ideas of the author. Through humanity's last creative gasp, then its last existential one, we see how the image of the Overlords shifts from Vassal to serf.

So the reason for the high score is that despite the rehashing of themes, this book still can provide fun to the purist, the hardened, the uninitiated, and the indifferent, the latter category to which I thought I belonged.

I can totally, however unders
...more
Stephen
5.0 Stars. One of Arthur C. Clarke's best novels and one of my personal favorites. This novel is one of the best ever written concerning the evolution of man into a higher order of being. Brilliantly conceived and poignantly executed, this is classic SF at its best.

Nominee: Retro Hugo Award for best SF Novel of 1953.
Stuart
Childhood’s End: The Overlords have a plan for us
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
There's something very comforting in the SF novels of Arthur C. Clarke, my favorite of the Big Three SF writers of the Golden Age (the other two being Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov). His stories are clearly-written, unembellished, precise, and focus on the science, ideas, and plot. Though some claim his characters are fairly wooden, I don’t see it that way. They tend to be fairly level-headed and logical,
...more
Frankeeೃ༄
My words in this review would continue to remain insufficient to fully describe the phenomena within the pages of this book, and the breadth of literary experiences that Arthur C. Clarke had given me when he wrote Childhood's End. This is a science fiction novel that explored the complex relationship between beginnings and endings, and the unfathomable scale of the evolution process. Clarke, however, tried to capture the essence of such bold concepts in his story, and so I feel that I also have ...more
Nihan
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ÇOK GÜZELDİ.
bengü
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jorge Luis Borges, Morel’in Buluşu romanının önsözünde “serüven romanı” ve “karakter romanı” olarak sınıflandırdığı iki türden şöyle bahsediyor;

"José Ortega y Gasset -Sanatın İnsansızlaştırılması, 1925 - “bugün yüksek duyarlılığımızı ilgilendirebilecek bir serüven bulmanın çok güç olduğunu” ve böyle bir buluşun “uygulamada olanaksız olduğunu” kabul eder. Diğer sayfalarda, aşağı yukarı diğer bütün sayfalarda, “psikolojik” romanı savunur ve serüvenlerin verdiği zevkin var olmadığını ya da çocukça
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke is their any new vol? 3 13 Sep 17, 2017 11:21PM  
Ideal childhood 1 1 Sep 17, 2017 04:47PM  
SyFy Miniseries 13 75 Jul 06, 2017 05:00AM  
Arters AP Literat...: . 6 2 May 17, 2017 05:53AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke 16 47 Dec 10, 2016 08:12PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Childhood's End, 3001 to get a TV miniseries 22 103 Oct 26, 2016 12:48PM  
Literally Geeky: Share Your Thoughts 11 14 Aug 30, 2016 10:47AM  
  • Last and First Men
  • Non-Stop
  • The End of Eternity
  • The Mote in God's Eye
  • Mission of Gravity
  • Babel-17
  • Dragon's Egg
  • More Than Human
  • Way Station
  • Methuselah's Children
  • Camp Concentration
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Mockingbird
  • The Inverted World
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz
  • Man Plus (Man Plus #1)
7779
Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co
...more
More about Arthur C. Clarke...

Share This Book

“Science is the only religion of mankind.” 96 likes
“No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart.” 80 likes
More quotes…