Book review - Childhood's end

  • Author      Arthur Charles Clarke
  • Subject     Science fiction
  • Year           1990
  • Publisher  New York: Del Rey
  • ISBN     0345347951
Written by one of the greatest sci-fi authors in the 20th century, Childhood's End describes some extra-terrestrial organisms, the Overlords, coming to Earth near the end of the century with the seeming intent to bring law and order to the human race.

However, as time moves on their ultimate agenda is revealed – they are helping human beings to transform from their materialistic existence to integrate with the omnipotent, spiritual Overmind of the universe. It touches on the ideas of extra-terrestrial organisms, interstellar travel, human psychic power and subconscious archetypes as well as apocalyptic revelation. 

Personally thought, the characters in the prologue and first part are not properly tied up to the rest of the story, rendering them rather redundant. The second part starts to pick up momentum and sets up the scene for the final part, which brings the whole story to the climax when all the myths are eventually revealed. The gradual detachment of the children from their parents is particularly heart-wrenching.

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