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Childhood's End

Written By:Authur C. Clarke - 1953

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Del Rey - December 1982 - 47th Printing

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Ballantine - September 1970 - 15th Printing

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Ballantine - Jan 1964 - 6th Printing

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Ballantine - 1953

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Ballantine - June 1974 - 28th Printing

  • Childhood's End - Authur C. Clarke cover

    Del Rey - 1995?


Synopsis

Del Rey - December 1982 - 47th Printing

The Last Generation Of Mankind On Earth

Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. They are manned by the Overlords... mysterious creatures from an alien race who soon take over control of the world.

Within fifty years, these brilliant masters have all but eliminated ignorance, disease, poverty and fear. Then suddenly the golden age ends... and the end of Mankind begins!

The coming of the Overlords was the most important and impressive event in Earth's history. These visitors from outer space brought peace and prosperity with them.

What moe could the human race want?

But soon the change began...

The aliens started by subverting the children, pulling them away from their human heritage.

And that was only the beginning...

When the Overlords made their announcement, they had taken the first step in the elimination of the human race!

Ballantine - September 1970 - 15th Printing

Childhood's End is a novel of the next step in the evolution of Man. It is compounded of intellectual daring and vaulting imagination—a book in the great tradition of the novel of ideas. It tells of a world made perfect and a race transformed—and of the unexpected tragedy of perfection.

Ballantine - Jan 1964 - 6th Printing

Childhood's End is a novel of the next step in the evolution of Man. It is compounded of intellectual daring and vaulting imagination—a book in the great tradition of the novel of ideas. It tells of a world made perfect and a race transformed—and of the unexpected tragedy of perfection.

Ballantine - 1953

Men called the the Overlords.

They had come from outer space—they had brought peace and prosperity to Earth. But then the change began. It appeared first in the children—frightening, incomprehensible. Now the Overlords made their announcement: This was to be the first step in the elimination of the human race and the beginning of—What?

Del Rey - 1995?

The Overlords appeared suddenly over ever city—intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to human kind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminated poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, mankind agreed, and a golden age began.

But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceased to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settled over the human race. To those who resisted, it became evident that the Overlords had an agenda of their own.

As civilization approached the crossroads, would the Overlords spell the end for mankind... or the beginning?

Excerpt

Ballantine - 1953

There had been no warning.

The space ships of the Overlords had appeared suddenly above every major city of the earth.

It was only a very small operation from their point of view, but to Earth it was the biggest thing that had ever happened...

... The international armaments race stopped immediately.

... Within fifty years, ignorance, disease, poverty, and fear were to be virtually eliminated.

... It was to be One World.

But how could the men and women of Earth have foreseen that theirs was the last generation of mankind?

Del Rey - 1995?

Might Makes Right

Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world beyond recognition and its people almost beyond recognition. The only things required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal—and power.

These things the Overlords possessed. Through their goal was hidden, their knowledge was obvious—and so was their power.

That power took many forms, few of them realized by the peoples whose destinies the Overlords now ruled. The might enshrined in their great ships had been clear enough for every eye to see. But behind that display of sleeping force were other and much subtler weapons...

Blurb

Del Rey - December 1982 - 47th Printing

"A first-rate tour de force that is well worth the attention of every thoughtful citizen in this age of anxiety..." The New York Times

"A real staggerer by a man who is both a poetic dreamer and a competent scientist." —Gilbert Highet

Ballantine - September 1970 - 15th Printing

"A real staggerer by a man who is both a poetic dreamer and a competent scientist." —Gilbert Highet

"A first-rate tour de force that is well worth the attention of every thoughtful citizen in this age of anxiety... mixed by a master's hand... This review can only hint at the stimulation Mr. Clarke's novel offers." —William DuBois, The New York Times

"It is certainly a mature and superior work." —Elmer Davis

"In Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke joins Olaf Stapledon, C. S. Lewis, and probably one should add H. G. Wells, in the very small group of writers who have used science fiction as the vehicle of philosophic ideas. Having said that, one must hastily add that it is a readable a book, from the point of view of pure narrative, as you are likely to find among today's straight novels." —The New York Times Book Review

Ballantine - Jan 1964 - 6th Printing

"... a real staggerer by a man who is both a poetic dreamer and a competent scientist." —Gilbert Highet

If you never read any other science fiction, don't miss Childhood's End

"... wonderfully imaginative novel of the transformation of Man... hailed as a landmark by aficionadoes of the genre." —N.Y. Times

"... an amazing tour-de-force and a frightening logical, believable and prohetic tale." —L.A. Times

"Arthur Clarke is proof that science fiction can be adult, full of craftsmanship and provocative." —Salt Lake Tribune

"... demonstrates superlative ability in this fascinating kind of literature." —Indianapolis Times

"... a highly stimulating novel, wildly fantastic but far from frivolous." —Charles Rolo, Atlantic Monthly Reader's Choice

"... a wealth of provocative ideas and well-realized individuals scenes." —N.Y. Herald Tribune

"With this novel, Clarke establishes himself as a craftsman of stories that are more real than acutality... and as a spinner of fiction that is more strange than truth." —San Francisco Chronicle

"On its best level, as in... 'Childhood's End', science fiction is at once a literature of escape and one deeply and earnestly concerned with mankind's present plight and its problematical future." —J. Donald Adams

"A first-rate tour de force that is well worth the attention of every thoughtful citizen in this age of anxiety... mixed by a master's hand... This review can only hint at the stimulation Mr. Clarke's novel offers." —William DuBois, The New York Times

"It is certainly a mature and superior work." —Elmer Davis

"In Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke joins Olaf Stapledon, C. S. Lewis, and probably one should add H. G. Wells, in the very small group of writers who have used science fiction as the vehicle of philosophic ideas. Having said that, one must hastily add that it is as readable a book, from the point of view of pure narrative, as you are likely to find among today's straight novels." —Basil Davenport, The New York Times Book Review

Ballantine - 1953

A breath-taking novel about the future evolution of man

In a novel alive with ideas, Arthur C. Clarke offers a startling hypothesis about the next evolution of Man.

Del Rey - 1995?

"A frighteningly logical, believable, and grimly prophetic tale... Clarke is a master." —Los Angeles Times

"There has been nothing like it for years; partly for the actual invention, but partly because here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim on humanity than its own 'survival.'" —C.S. Lewis

"As a science-fiction writer, Clarke has all of the essentials." —Jeremy Bernstein The New Yorker

Catastrophe:

extraterrestrial

Type:

fantastical