|Full title||Childhood's End [permalink]|
|Author||Arthur C. Clarke (author)|
|Categories||Novel and science fiction|
|Original publication year||1954|
|ISBN||978-0-330-51401-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
The novel starts abruptly with two scenes of American and Russian astronauts preparing to embark on their different (irrelevant) missions, only to be halted by the sudden appearance of starships above major cities of the Earth. It's explained in short order how these benevolent aliens manage, in only a few years, to clean up our mess. War, disease, and want are all things of the past, and humanity now lives in peace with itself. Eventually the aliens make themselves and their plans known...
This novel is considered by many Clarke fans to be his best (even Clarke himself considered it that, along with The Songs of Distant Earth), and I'll have to tentatively agree (the final verdict will have to wait until I've read more of Clarke's work). The story is engaging and spans many decades, the characters are interesting, the aliens' motives understandable (and even sympathetic), the pacing is good... The only complaint I have is that I wished it was longer. It feels like there should be more to this story!
Definitely go pick this up!