Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fangirl Summer Review:Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke








Fiction State of Mind-03





Del Rey/Bantam


This is my first Arthur C. Clarke novel. I know of Clark through the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey . Like many I was enthralled and also a bit confused by some of the imagery in the film but I was still immensely enthralled by it! Yet the thought of the Odyssey books really overwhelmed me. I think I tried once but it wasn't the right time. I really believe in the synergy of books. When the time is right books will present themselves to you in a variety of ways. My younger self could barely process the movies themes much less process Clarke’s prose.  


Now I’m ready, and this book was the perfect introduction to Clarke’s world. Published in August, 1953 Childhood’s End still resonates with relatable themes. As humans we have always pushed outside our limitations, but what happens to the human race when they are confronted by an alien force. A force that wants only the best for us: The end of war, hunger, and environmental destruction. A force that quickly becomes recognized as Overlords, though acceptance takes a lot longer for some of mankind.

Like Science Fiction at it’s best this book explores situations that would happen when humans meet an alien race that “comes in peace”. What would become of a mankind that never had to worry about finances?  A world sculpted to remove the discriminations of age, race and sex> A world were everyone was an equal, where you were free to explore you intellectual pursuits at your leisure and visit anyplace in the world in minutes? It would be Utopia right?

I was riveted by this book. Mostly due to Clarke’s amazing ability to shift the narratives between several characters while still managing to have the reader emotionally  invested in every characters story. Reading this book in the year 2013 really shows how on target Clarke was with his prediction of technology's advances and how it would change societies.

The Overlords themselves, or most notably Karellen who is the main supervisor for Earth, are the initial mystery of the story. Who and more importantly WHAT are they? Its the one question that fosters rebellious groups amongst society. The revelation of the Overlords is just a small part of this novel. The true purpose that brings the Overlords to Earth is a surprising plot development and an exploration of the lager mosaic of life and its many interconnections.


Such a great read! My one complaint is that I wish there was a more prominent female character. There are some women in this novel and they are handled beautifully but I would have loved to see a whole narrative focus through one of the female characters perspective I’m looking forward to reading more of Clarke’s work and plan on tackling his Odyssey books next.

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