Arthur C. Clarke - Childhood's End

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Posted by Sulkyblue (21st Oct 2004, 15:09)

Just finished reading this at lunch time and decided to get some of my thoughts down before they evaporated and I forgot what I was thinking! This book is extremely powerful and one of Clarke's best. He uses 200 pages to describe a 100 years of human 'history' in a beautifully succinct way, telling a story about mankind using a handful of individuals, perfectly balancing the emotional and historical impact of events. The snapshots into this 100 years are nicely paced to build tension and give a tremendous sense of the frustrations and concerns that spread decades of the story while only taking up a few pages. Clarke knows exactly how much he has to tell to get a story across without force-feeding the reader.

My only disappointment was the ending. Not the actual end of the story which is very powerful and quite mindblowing, however the tools he uses to tell this ending I thought suffered a little. The story seemed to continue about 20 pages too long in my opinion. Returning to the story of Jan and introducing the Overlords' planet caused the story to peeter out and distracted away from the impact of the revelation and it's consequences. I'm not sure we really needed to see the final conclussion of the children's journey, leaving some things to wonder is a good thing.

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