Childhood’s End is a classic SciFi written by Arthur C. Clarke way back in 1953, around fifteen years before he penned 2001 – A Space Odyssey. This unabridged audiobook version is narrated by Eric Michael Summerer and Robert J. Sawyer, close to eight hours of listening, and published by Audible Studios in 2008.
Imagine a world with no internet, no cell phones … cars aren’t even air-conditioned! In 1953, when Childhood’s End is created, WWII ended less than ten years ago. Eisenhower is the President, and the Cold War is well underway. We’ve re-tooled to manufacture lipstick again rather than bullet casings – a prosperous time is underway. Most homes do not yet have a television set and news is via the daily paper or radio broadcasts.
In this 1950s world, Arthur C. Clark has positioned giant space ships over each major city across the world. Wait …. isn’t how the movie starts? Independence Day? Well … yeah, it is! That’s where the similarity ends, however. Childhood’s End ”Overlords”, the aliens, are not quite as bent on destroying man, they seem almost altruistic. For the next 100 years the aliens provide mankind with ‘peace on earth’ and poverty is eliminated. Utopia. The aliens, ‘overlords’, don’t have an agenda … or do they?
No spoiler, but … not an uplifting story.
Arthur C. Clark is a terrific SciFi author, so if you enjoy the genre you will likely enjoy this story. If you don’t .. skip it.