Book Review: Childhood’s End

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Childhood’s End is considered by some to be a classic among the Science Fiction genre. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect out of this book when I bought it as an audiobook. I have wanted to explore some older Science Fiction books and this one seemed like the perfect place to start.

I thought that the story overall was an interesting one. The Overlords come to Earth and take control of everything, though not through violence, and it is their influence and control that eliminates things such as diseases, poverty and fear. Humanity seems to be for the better since the Overlords have come and yet know next to nothing about their alien rulers. It was an interesting concept to see how earth would react to not only the arrival of aliens but also ones who want to control us for the betterment of our species, even if in the end means the end of the human race as a whole.

The narration was good however there wasn’t a huge amount of distinction between the various characters voices, so I did find at times having to rewind a bit to listen to a bit of dialog a second time in order to see who was talking. I’m not sure if it was the story or the narration but I found my attention waning throughout, especially the first three quarters of the book and then I found it hard to remember what had happened and so it made the next section of the book a bit confusing. However in spite of this I did find the first six hours or so of the story fly by, even though I couldn’t remember details from it, yet the last two hours dragged on.

Sadly I can’t remember enough because of my tendency to get distracted and my mind wandering while listening to the book however I did enjoy it and glad to have added it to my pile of now read books. I would recommend this to those who enjoy Science Fiction and are looking for something different to read, though I’m not sure if I would recommend it as an audiobook or for them to go and buy the physical copy.

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16 thoughts on “Book Review: Childhood’s End

  1. I think a lot of its “classic” nature is derived from its influence on later novels — the evolution of the human race towards transcendence etc — these all became major themes, especially (as you can imagine) in the 60s.

    • I think I might have enjoyed and remembered the book better had I actually read it, and I may do just that in the future. I’m usually picky about my audio books since if the narrator isn’t top notch my attention wanders and I won’t remember the story or completely understand it.

  2. This is one of my top five science fiction novels of all time. I put it up there with The Forever War and Ender’s Game. If you read the book it goes very quick, as it is short itself. I don’t think it would work well as an audio book.
    The transcendence of humans was novel at the time, excuse the pun, which is why this is a classic, but also the writing is flawless. I put this up there with Rendezvous with Rama as one of Clarke’s finest.

    • Ender’s Game is a book I plan to read at some point, I haven’t heard of The Forever War before but I may need to add that one to my list of future reads. I definitely think Childhood’s End would be better read from a book, so at some point I will need to make time to actually read it. It was a good story but unfortunately the narration made me not absorb the story as much as I should have. I did enjoy the writing style of this book but once again it was essentially ruined by the narration. I may need to go ahead and read Rendezvous with Rama as well, as I would like to read some of Clarke’s other works.

      • Never heard of The Forever War? eek! hehe (new to the genre?). It’s always on best of lists for some rather mysterious reason…. (no fan of Ender’s Game either). A satirical and occasionally snarky retelling of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (which might be satire as well….). The Forever War is best read as satire…. for sure.

      • I’m not exactly new to the genre but my knowledge and previous reading in science fiction was very limited. I was a lot more picky about what I read years ago so I didn’t read or hear about a great many novels from all genres. Either way I’m glad you mentioned those books since I’m always on the lookout for something to read, especially those that I haven’t heard of before.

      • Ah well now I know something else about them. I’ll definitely take a look at that list. Nothing wrong with Fantasy winning the award, as I am a fan of the Fantasy genre.

      • Yeah I can see that, but most people and stores for that matter lump Fantasy and Science Fiction together, which I don’t entirely agree with since they are two very different genres.

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