Start reading Childhood's End (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
OR
Read for Free
with Kindle Unlimited

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Childhood's End (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) [Kindle Edition]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (723 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $8.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $7.94
You Save: $0.05 (1%)
 
Kindle Unlimited Read this title for free and get unlimited access to over 700,000 titles. Learn More

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 62%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $1.99 after you buy the Kindle book.

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Book Description

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 humanity, ushers in a golden age-or so it seems.

But it comes at a price. Without conflict, humanity ceases to work toward creative achievement, and culture stagnates. And as the years pass, it becomes more and more clear that the Overlords have a hidden agenda for the evolution of the human race-that may not be as beneficial as it seems.

Originally published in 1953, Childhood's End is Clarke's first successful novel-and is considered a classic of science fiction literature. Its dominating theme of transcendent evolution appears in many of Clarke's later works, including the Space Odyssey series. In 2004, the book was nominated for the Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel.


Editorial Reviews

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.

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


Product Details

  • File Size: 446 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345347951
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (November 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AHGSVKS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,062 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
212 of 226 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound statement on humanity's role in the Universe December 30, 2003
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.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
206 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed SF classic January 17, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It sounds like a story you've heard before: great alien masters descend on Earth and take control of the world, ushering in a golden age that may be cleverly disguised creative slavery. But Clarke's legendary novel (equal to _Rendezvous with Rama_ and _2001: A Space Odyssey_ in fame) isn't about a human rebellion against alien overlords, but the evolution of humanity into its next stage, and the ultimate dwarfing power of the unknowable order of the cosmos. The narrative glides between different characters and different eons, occasionally with a seeming clumsiness that turns out to be purposeful plotting devices. The pay-off is sublime science-fiction poetry that shows the genre's power to transcend human drama and fly into the infinite. The sheer scope of its conclusions leaves the reader wiser and sadder, the sign of a superb novel.
Was this review helpful to you?
163 of 184 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story. Grossly spoiled by the introduction. September 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to give this edition one star. The story itself is magnificent, as you'll read in other reviews.

However, the introduction, by Adam Roberts, utterly ruined it for me. It gave away the physical appearance of the Overlords (saying that we learn this 'fairly early' in the book. By my estimate we actually learn this about a third of the way through - NOT early at all, and all the suspense leading up to this revelation is ruined).

The introduction also tells us pretty much exactly how the story ends! I mean what the hell! A book whose overarching theme is the question of what the Overlords are here for and what mystery awaits humanity, and the conclusion of the plot is spoiled before I even got a chance to start reading!

Utterly unforgivable. I feel cheated.

You only get to read a book for the first time once, and this one was ruined before I started. Thanks a lot, Adam Roberts.
Was this review helpful to you?
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great science fiction November 4, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was strictly a dabbler in science fiction, until this book grabbed me and pulled me in. To this day, it ranks as my favourite in the genre.
The Overlords appear one day over every city on Earth, and with little resistance, mankind submits to the technologically superior race. After all, their demands are entirely benevolent; they seem to want no more than to end war, poverty, and the other evils that have always plagued the Earth. But why? Through three generations, a few people endeavour to find out.
What they finally learn is something they never imagined: mankind's terrible and wonderful final destiny, and the part the mysterious Overlords are fated to play in achieving it.
Many of Clarke's novels are somewhat lacking in character development, and though Childhood's End is not an extreme example of this tendency, some fairly important characters are only half-formed. In some books, this is a flaw, but when Clarke is truly in his element, the vagueness of the characters seems to work in the story's favour. Here, particularly, I found myself getting quite attached to characters it seemed I barely knew (including some of the enigmatic aliens).
One feature I particularly liked in this book was the glimpse of the Overlords' home world, a tour of wonders that Clarke knows better than to try and explain in terms of known science, at least not with any detail. If anything, the mystery of it all makes the story-- and the Overlords-- seem more real.
The ending, though inspiring from a certain angle, can be a downer in terms of the characters you come to know and like, no matter where your sympthies end up lying. Mine, in the end, fall with Karellen, the Overlord supervisor, who, like the other Overlord characters, manages to be thoroughly believable despite the fact that his background and motivations remain more or less a mystery.
Science fiction is often infused with philosophy; this book pulls off the mixture better than any other I've read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Explorer's Sci-Fi
Although written over half a century ago, Clarke was way ahead of his time in some of his ideas. I found his "Overlords" familiar after reading Icke's and Sitchin's works... Read more
Published 1 day ago by M SASSMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic scifi
great easy to read science fiction
Published 1 day ago by Zach Casper
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic. Unbelievable that he could foresee so much of ...
Classic. Unbelievable that he could foresee so much of the science that was yet to be proven!
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing 'classic'
There's been quite a bit of talk lately about this story, including an upcoming movie. I've read many of Clarke's short stories and novels, but felt I was missing out without one... Read more
Published 2 days ago by JHIII
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tale of a race's destiny
Childhood's End is a good, quick read. It features all the great tropes of sci-fi - speculation about future societies, biting social commentary, and purposeful, if short-lived... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Steven Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars frustrating
This book is frustrating. The story has several great twists, even brilliant, but it's sloppily executed and the ending veers into paranormal mysticism rather than science fiction. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Enjolras
1.0 out of 5 stars at least it's short...
Another sci-fi failure do to lack of character development and untestable utopic ideals, which, as you may guess, necessarily contain more plot holes than the first tee at your... Read more
Published 10 days ago by TH
5.0 out of 5 stars the meaning of happiness, and the value of struggle
First Clarke novel I had read in many years - had a taste for classic Sci-Fi with a true sense of wonder. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Donald A. Pflaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still great science fiction 60 years later.
Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars "Childhood's End" is very good book. While it does not have the blood...
"Childhood's End" is very good book. While it does not have the blood drenched action of many newer scifi books, it carefully explores a First Contact and the ongoing... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Jwelniak
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

"SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE (1917-2008) wrote the novel and co-authored the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and he is the only science-fiction writer to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. His fiction and nonfiction have sold more than one hundred million copies in print worldwide.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category