Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke

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I can’t believe I’ve never got around to reading this book, one of Clarke’s most famous! But that is now rectified. I tend to struggle with reading older classic SF but not this one and that alone has impressed me!

Childhood’s End is a first contact by a benevolent advanced alien but manages to be so much more than that with a couple of very interesting twists in it. Though I did find the first one a bit contrived, I certainly didn’t find the second one to be so. I was a little disappointed by the paranormal stuff, especially coming from the man who presented the TV show Clarke’s World of Strange Powers in which he mostly debunked various paranormal claims. But, to be fair, this book was written a long time before the TV series and in an afterword Clarke does confess to a little embarrassment about that aspect of the book, but does go on to say that at the time (1953) so little was known about what the rapid advances of post-war science might reveal that almost anything was consider possible.

Regardless he presents an excellent well-paced and intriguing story of first contact and its consequences for all humanity. It does feel a little serialised as it has to cover a long period of a hundred years. But he manages to keep the pace and suspense going despite a couple of long gaps in the narrative.

A very good book that is really quite remarkable for when it was written, though Clarke did update the first chapter decades later with some of the real events which he naturally missed in the first edition.


4/5 stars
 
I think it's worth sticking with. It does ramble a bit in the middle but it all comes together and makes sense at the end.
 
I haven’t read this yet, but it’s on my list now.

I did watch the T.V. Mini series last year and found it to be very good.
 
Interestingly I'd tried to read this in 2011 and failed. My review ok Goodreads:

January 27, 2011 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
I didnt finish this book, maybe it was a bad time for me (hectic christmas after a bout of flu) but I got bored with it so gave up. Just found it rather dull and longwinded
 
Interestingly I'd tried to read this in 2011 and failed. My review ok Goodreads:

January 27, 2011 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
I didnt finish this book, maybe it was a bad time for me (hectic christmas after a bout of flu) but I got bored with it so gave up. Just found it rather dull and longwinded
I think there is an element of truth to that; it has often struck me that writing in the early fifties tended to be either pure pulp or a little highbrow and sometimes even a little pretentious (by today's standards). I wouldn't call Childhood's End that but there is a certain slightly pompous style that is very much of its time. I think a similar criticism could be levelled at authors like Wyndham and Wells. Although criticism is probably the wrong word as they certainly wouldn't have been criticised for that in their time, and possibly, though I can't claim to have read nearly enough of that era to speak in any way authoritatively, this was a rather British style. I think it was far less common with American authors of the time and once we'd got well into the '60s and '70s I think it had largely disappeared.
 
I think there have been a few attempts adapting it for large and small screen.

At one point , Stanley Kubrick wanted to do an adaptation of it , but that never went anywhere.

The 2015 Miniseries was quite good.
 
I can’t believe I’ve never got around to reading this book, one of Clarke’s most famous! But that is now rectified. I tend to struggle with reading older classic SF but not this one and that alone has impressed me!

Childhood’s End is a first contact by a benevolent advanced alien but manages to be so much more than that with a couple of very interesting twists in it. Though I did find the first one a bit contrived, I certainly didn’t find the second one to be so. I was a little disappointed by the paranormal stuff, especially coming from the man who presented the TV show Clarke’s World of Strange Powers in which he mostly debunked various paranormal claims. But, to be fair, this book was written a long time before the TV series and in an afterword Clarke does confess to a little embarrassment about that aspect of the book, but does go on to say that at the time (1953) so little was known about what the rapid advances of post-war science might reveal that almost anything was consider possible.

Regardless he presents an excellent well-paced and intriguing story of first contact and its consequences for all humanity. It does feel a little serialised as it has to cover a long period of a hundred years. But he manages to keep the pace and suspense going despite a couple of long gaps in the narrative.

A very good book that is really quite remarkable for when it was written, though Clarke did update the first chapter decades later with some of the real events which he naturally missed in the first edition.


4/5 stars

I originally found this book iwhen I was Junior High School . The book was in the school school Library . The edition hard covered had a picture of giant Spaceship over city (New York) The ship appeared to have a pilot , I started to read it but at that time , couldn't get into it . Then about a few years ago , I picked paperback edition, the one Clarke Updated and I read the whole book and enjoyed it .:cool:

I also recall seeing a different shorter version of this story, I think was originally a novella or short story ? :unsure::(
 
I originally found this book iwhen I was Junior High School . The book was in the school school Library . The edition hard covered had a picture of giant Spaceship over city (New York) The ship appeared to have a pilot , I started to read it but at that time , couldn't get into it . Then about a few years ago , I picked paperback edition, the one Clarke Updated and I read the whole book and enjoyed it .:cool:

I also recall seeing a different shorter version of this story, I think was originally a novella or short story ? :unsure::(
Yes it was originally a short story called Guardian Angel.
 
I think there is an element of truth to that; it has often struck me that writing in the early fifties tended to be either pure pulp or a little highbrow and sometimes even a little pretentious (by today's standards). I wouldn't call Childhood's End that but there is a certain slightly pompous style that is very much of its time. I think a similar criticism could be levelled at authors like Wyndham and Wells. Although criticism is probably the wrong word as they certainly wouldn't have been criticised for that in their time, and possibly, though I can't claim to have read nearly enough of that era to speak in any way authoritatively, this was a rather British style. I think it was far less common with American authors of the time and once we'd got well into the '60s and '70s I think it had largely disappeared.
Sometimes its just a case of, I'm not in the mood for this, or not in the right frame of mind to read. And so I'm put in a negative mood to begin with. And at the time I was ill, near Christmas, not in a good place.
 
Its weird. First time I read Greybeard by Aldiss, back in the 90s I just didn't get it. Then I re read it around 2010 and loved it. Maybe I'll feel the same if I were to try Dune again, or Left Hand of Darkness
 
Sad thing is I got rid of a lot of books via bookmooch because I didn't enjoy them. Having said that I recently tried a book a second time (non SF). Same outcome, didn't enjoy it
 
There's always a few of those. There are quite a few books people have loved on Chrons that I just couldn't get on with. Horse for courses!
 

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