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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  117,285 ratings  ·  4,872 reviews
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 mala
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 12th 1987 by Del Rey Books (first published August 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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  117,285 ratings  ·  4,872 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Childhood's End
Jeffrey Keeten
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
“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 Uni
...more
Lyn
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Matt
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
...more
Petal X Planet
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/>"When
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
As a sci-fi fan, I've been trying to go back and read some of the classics and it's been... interesting.

The book manages to have some very captivating concepts while being quite tedious to read.

The book felt dated when mentioning POC and women which, while not surprising, did still take me out of the story at times.

Overall I'm glad I read it, at least I can consider that an achievement as I look at all the "top 100 sci-fi books to read in your lifetime" type o
...more
BlackOxford
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Theological Politics

For an avowed atheist, Arthur Clarke had a great deal to say about God, and not all of it negative. Childhood’s End is a tale of the theological roots of politics and how religious belief simultaneously stimulates and inhibits human society. Clarke’s view is subtle, complex, and appropriately ‘cosmic.’ As a commentary on the centrality of religion to human existence - for its opponents as well as its adherents - Childhood’s End is hard to beat.

If I read Clarke corre
...more
Manuel Antão
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1989
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


The Silent Ships: "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke


“No one of intelligence resents the inevitable.”

In “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke



One of my favourite long novel is `Childhoods End`, but commenting on it without revealing the ending is difficult. That is the whole point after all, but still, think the early 80`s TV mini series/series of `V` - with Jane Badler as
...more
Samadrita
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leonard Gaya
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange and beautiful novel. Written in the early 1950s (some 15 years before 2001: A Space Odyssey), it is, with Asimov’s (overrated) Foundation, Bradbury’s (superb) The Martian Chronicles and a few others, one of the significant works of sci-fi’s “Golden Age”. Oddly enough, apart from a few plot irregularities and the outlandish author’s naivety regarding the paranormal and the occult, Arthur C. Clarke’s story does not feel a day older.

The plot, based on a few episodes scattered in time (as in 2001), has some unexpect
...more
Megan Baxter
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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 time is s ...more
Matthew
As I read this book, there is a part that led me to believe that the picture that They Might Be Giants found to use for their album Apollo 18 had to have been inspired by this book:



Sadly, I was expecting more from this book. I had heard lots of good things and seen many positive reviews, but it didn’t strike as much of a key with me as other Clarke novels have. While there was some food for thought
...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 impac
...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.
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 a
...more
Zigger
Mar 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
...more
Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
I was mulling over this book again, and its grandiosity and existentialism hit me square in the face. If you're ever going to read a science fiction classic, pick this one - I implore you.

Image result for childhood's end

Courtesy of Jen's mini reviews.
Markus
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
”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 belief.
But I di
...more
Sanjay Gautam
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surreal, and epic in scope. Mind blowing stuff.
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.
Scott
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Childhood's End is a stone-cold Science Fiction classic.

Read it.

No seriously, Read it. if you're at all interested in SF you should read this, and read it soon. Don't leave it for decades like I did.

Oh, are you still here? Ok. If you still need convincing that Childhood's End is worth your time, read on.

Arthur C. Clarke's novel is a haunting, thoughtful story that betrays few of its many years (it was published in 1954!) and still reads like fresh SF. Sure, there are a few gl
...more
Manny
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
What a wonderful book, especially in its ending and there is nothing I can say to summarize or analyze this book better than this quote:

“So this, thought Jan, with a resignation that lay beyond all sadness, was the end of man. It was an end that no prophet had foreseen – an end that repudiated optimism and pessimism alike.

Yet it was fitting: it had the sublime inevitability of a great work of art. Jan had glimpsed the universe in all its immensity, and knew now that it was no place
...more
Michael Jandrok
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For some odd reason, “Childhood’s End” is one of those all time great science-fiction classics that I have never managed to make time to read. Now that I have more reading time on my hands, that situation has been rectified. And I will state right up front here that this book is INDEED one of the justifiably classic novels of speculative fiction. I have always been a fan of Arthur C. Clarke’s work, mostly because any shortcomings in his prose or character development are consistently overshadowe ...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
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.
Luffy
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • I, Robot (Robot, #0.1)
  • Foundation (Foundation #1)
  • The Forever War (The Forever War, #1)
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1)
  • Starship Troopers
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Contact
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)
  • Dune (Dune, #1)
  • The End of Eternity
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4)
  • The Caves of Steel (Robot #1)
  • Second Foundation (Foundation #3)
  • The Time Machine
See similar books…
7,452 followers
Arthur Charles 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
...more
“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.” 118 likes
“Science is the only religion of mankind.” 117 likes
More quotes…