Arthur C. Clarke
August 24th, 1953
Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Transhumanism, Catastrophic Literature
Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia. Many questions are asked about the origins and mission of the aliens, but they avoid answering, preferring to remain in their spacecraft, governing through indirect rule. Decades later, the Overlords show themselves, and their impact on human culture leads to a final utopic Golden Age, but at the cost of humanity's identity and eventually the planet itself. Clarke's idea for the book began with his short story "Guardian Angel", which he expanded into a novel in 1952, incorporating it as the first part of the book, "Earth and the Overlords". Completed and published in 1953, Childhood's End sold out its first printing, received good reviews, and became Clarke's first successful novel. The book is often regarded by both readers and critics as Clarke's best novel, and is described as "a classic of alien literature". Along with The Songs of Distant Earth, Clarke considered Childhood's End one of his favourite novels.