Book Review: “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke

For a book with 87,000 ratings on Goodreads, you’d think I’d have heard of this already …

clarke.jpgGranted, I’m not a sci-fi star-treckin’ jedi mastermind, but I do enjoy good science fiction when it’s more than just space ships firing at each other and interplanetary weirdness. (I’m even okay with some interplanetary weirdness … just don’t tell my wife). When science fiction is done well, it weaves a tale that’s as allegoric as it is entertaining. Clarke definitely nails it with this one.

What I enjoyed most about Childhood’s End was the choices the author made with this story. And beware, there be spoilers ahead:

So sure, a fleet of spaceships arrives introducing mankind for the first time to life beyond Earth. We’re all pretty familiar with that story. But for 5 years there’s no contact? And for 50 years no ones sees the “aliens” or is able to meet them in person? And when they do see them, they look like … Oh, wait, I’m not going to spoil everything

This was smart science-fiction, with a cleverly told tale that’s as relevant today as when it was written (1953). With a dash of characters that you’re able to gravitate towards and the subtle feeling that things are not what they seem, it’s a great exercise in the subtleties of suspense. A definite recommend.


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