View Full Version : Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke

08-02-2006, 08:39 PM
This was probably the first novel I read that had me in awe, and made me a Clarke fan for life. I think I was in my teens when I first read it, and its impact on me was profound. It had everything: the sweeping big ideas coupled with the intimate personal drama of the lives of the characters, great moments of suspense and surprising revelations. All in all, one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, in my humble opinion.

What think thee?

08-25-2006, 11:05 AM
I haven't read it (yet) but I commend its ability to inspire so much other art, spanning from Pink Floyd songs to anime series.

08-25-2006, 07:08 PM
Hiya, TS. Anime? *adopts Johnny Carson voice* I did not know that. I think I would be quite flattered if anything I ever published inspired someone to create a derivative work.

If you do read it, I hope you enjoy it. :)

08-31-2006, 12:12 AM
Childhood's End is an SF masterpiece, by any standard. The City and the Stars is a near-equal. Clarke isn't great shakes as a stylist, preferring to write serviceable prose and let his ideas carry the weight. But they are great ideas, and carry a lot of weight, and in being so efficiently pedestrian in his prose style, he doesn't drift into whaley verbal obesity as a fair number of other SF authors have been known to do.


09-15-2006, 10:32 PM
I read it as a young teen and it impacted me deeply. I am not much of a sci-fi reader, so I can't analyze it that way, but it really affected me. The thing is, it wasn't until I was older that I realized I probably totally misinterpreted it, and the message I took away from it was probably the complete opposite of what the author intended. But still, it gripped me. I did read The City and the Stars years later and liked that too, although I did not find it nearly as powerful.

09-15-2006, 10:58 PM
I think you hit it dead on about his style, blacbird. It's probably why he is/was so accessible to the younger reader.

I discovered Clarke and Childhood's End as a teen as well. A book like that when you're at an age where you are beginning to look at the world around you with a neo-adult eye ... well, I was floored. It was probably the first novel I'd read that put forth the idea that a more civilized society could be forced upon us by aliens. That got me wondering if we could achieve a more mature society without some outside force making us do it.

I still hope so, but the older I get and the greater the nastiness I see all around us, I find myself looking skyward more often, hoping for one of those great shapes to drift into view.

PS -- I wonder how many fans of Independence Day realize the arrival of those city spanning ships was so derivative of the alien's arrival in Childhood's End?

07-04-2008, 02:56 PM
I just recently read it. And yes, Chunky when the ships arrived I thought of Independence Day (how ironic...today's date!).

I loved it. I kept having to go back and check when it was written. He got so much right...a few things he was a bit off about (film for cameras and how deragatory racial slurs loose their bite after so many years). But overall a masterpiece. I just love where his mind goes.