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Publisher's Summary

When the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect. When the Overlords finally showed themselves it was a shock but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began. But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and soon they will be ready to join the Overmind...and, in a grand and thrilling metaphysical climax, leave Earth behind.

©1954, 1990 Arthur C. Clarke (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"There has been nothing like it for years." (C. S. Lewis)
"The Colossus of Science Fiction." ( New York Times)

What listeners say about Childhood's End

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    5 out of 5 stars

Start of adulthood ... or is it?

This was a very thought provoking story! Touches on so many aspects such as first contact, purpose of higher intelligence, what is our own end purpose etc.

I am sure I can read this again and understand the philosophical aspects better now that I know the story. Would definitely recommend to everyone who loves sci fi with a dash of philosphy.

Once you get dazzled by the story, remember that this was written way back in 1950s. mind=blown!!!

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Amazing story and performance

The story gripped me from chapter one and didn't let go till the end. perfect.

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  • Joao Reis
  • 23-10-19

Best Sci Fi Ever

I really enjoyed this masterpiece! The deep reflections following a curious enough storytelling were mind blowing.

I will not reveal the story itself, but for me it was all about life purpose, and how small we are.

I will now read all Clarke’s books until the last word!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ed Scott
  • 13-07-18

Perfect example of how a bad narrator can ruin a great book.

The story is great; it’s one of the sci-fi classics. However Greg Wagland is awful. His narration sounds very similar to computer dictation software and his attempts at an American accent fall well short of the mark. In fact any differentiation between characters’ voices is slight, at best, and regularly makes it difficult to know who is talking. I’d recommend buying the audio book of Childhood’s End with another narrator.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Darren
  • 05-08-16

Brilliant Story

This is my first Arthur C. Clarke book, I became interested after watching the mini series on Sky as with the book it was brilliant, and for one that normally believes the book is better I downloaded this one and wasn't disappointed.

The old references to technology are funny in this day and age but the fact it was written in the 50s I glossed over these details.

I would recommend this book to every Si-Fi fan I know.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Del
  • 30-03-20

Gave up - The narration is terrible

I have always been interested in Arthur C Clarke's science fiction. However, I have had to give up on listening to this
audiobook, the narration is so bad I just can't follow the story. His voice just sounds like a droning, monotone of robotic software.

The story may well be great, but it is no good if the narration destroys being able to listen. I guess I will read the book instead.
This is the first time I have been unable to finish an audiobook.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-07-20

Childhood's end

Wonderful story from Arthur C Clarke, really drives home the term "clarke-tech" (technology so advanced it might as well be magic), with his wonderfully crafted endings which is neither good or bad. The only mediocre thing in this book is the naration, it's not so bad as to be distracting, you can go through the book and Greg portrays the overseers decently but sometimes his monotone speech seems like he's reading a script for the role of an accountant. Overall the story is a solod 5/5 with a 2/5 naration. Recomended.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 11-07-16

incredible classic sci fi - brilliantly read!

fantastic story which will keep you guessing until the very end.

somewhere between HP Lovecraft in story and content, more like Asimov in terms of epic Sci Fi...

highly recommended!

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Jeremy J Osborn
  • 18-09-16

What a film this would make!

Combining the physical wonder of aliens and technology with the physycological mystery of the mind, where do we come from and where will we go this book hits the spot. A blockbuster in waiting.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 17-02-17

Amazing story. Respect for the mind behind this.

What a great story. amazed at the scale. when I thought I understood the direction it surprised me again.
astounded that this was written over 60 years ago and apart from a few tell tale signs (camera .. ), this could have been written today
what an amazing mind Arthur C Clarke has. Big respect.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 22-10-18

Great story ruined by awful narration.

This is a great book. I've read it before, listened to the radio play, and now the audiobook. It will always remain one of my favourites.

However (and isn't there always a 'however'?), the narration is terrible. The reader has no story telling ability whatsoever. There were moments when two or more people are speaking and you can't tell when one is finished and another ends. There's no real drama in his voice and his pronunciation is difficult to behold. He seems to be trying to come over all RP (Queen's English) but that's not what is called for here.

By all means, listen to this because the book is outstanding. Just don't judge it based on the reader.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Basho
  • 20-04-16

Masterpiece

I have read so many books. So many. That such a book evaded me all these years is a great pleasure.

14 people found this helpful

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  • spencerhudson
  • 05-04-16

Amazing ...

For saying this book was written at almost the beginning of science fiction it is a ultimately a chilling tail. It provides a new insight into one scenario , taking use thought c. 100 years ... And leaves so many open questions ...

6 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 24-02-17

one hell of a good listen

To all who care about science fiction and world's beyond our dreams, I promise that this book is worth every second of your time.

the story will blow you away and stay with you long after the Audible man hopes that you've enjoyed this programme. And Greg Wagland (who also did a HG Wells title or two, look it up) is just perfect at describing the contemplative nature of the aliens, and at capturing the emotion in each scene.

Absolutely loved this book

3 people found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 08-10-18

Good idea, but wishy washy

I liked the idea of this book. And for the most part I found it "enjoyable".
But it wasn't exciting. It didn't make me want to listen to it again.
And it felt like a few different books - you get invested in one set of characters and then it's a new time frame and new characters, with just bland endings for each of them.
overall, good storyline, but very boring execution

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-17

Absolutely breathtaking

Occasionally , not very often, a book comes along which just floors you completely. This is without a doubt one of the very best of that flavour of story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-11-21

Wow

I "couldn't put this down" if it werent for my children I would of binged the whole book in one go! i have never really heard a story like this before it was refreshing and interesting hopeful and sad i really loved it.

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  • Daylan
  • 16-10-20

Fantastic

Man, Arthur C Clarke has a mind beyond most storytellers. I think this is my fav sci fi book. So clever and vivid. Big ideas that are both really human but, beyond human equally.
Wonderful storytelling.