I watch a lot of movies, both artsy ones and the summer blockbusters, however I never managed to power through the 2001 Space Odyssey. I did not know who’s fault it is: Kubrick’s, Clark’s or mine. With that in mind I was cautious to start reading Childhood’s End even though it was a well though-through gift from a friend.
Science-fiction rarely crosses paths with me and when it does it is heavy on FICTION element with emphasis on robots and lasers. I am really tempted to write that Childhood’s End is just a first encounter story, but it would be a colossal understatement. For a story that doesn’t focus on depicting violence (actually quite the contrary is true), it is thrilling and addictive beyond like the best thriller. Its themes merge sociology and philosophy yet it is written in a soft and light language. The existential dread it evokes, does not in any way decrease its entertainment value. I have never experienced something like that while reading a book.
Childhood’s End has nothing to do with the space opera I expected it to be. It is more of a treaty on our future or a prophetic tale of a world that could have been, left behind a blind sage. I can see now that Clark is a master. The pitch black opening with classical music was Kubrick’s fault.
Five out of five explanations of how I feel about this book.