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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke 
23rd-Mar-2016 05:11 pm
Read Irresponsibly
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke. Science Fiction. Paperback, 214 pages. Whether I keep it or not is not a question. It will live on in cyberspace due to the Gutenberg Project. [published in 1953]

I skipped a lot of the classics in both fantasy and science fiction when I first met the genres, and so find a lot of them too archaic now to read. But I picked this one up on a whim and found it quite accessible. I can't write anything more than has already been written about the content and analysis and impact of this classic book. I can only add my personal reactions.

I appreciated Clarke's sense of humor where it resonated with mine, in things like the space race between USA and the Soviet Union as well as the persecution of the white minority in South Africa. I was not so appreciative of how the main characters in the book were divided into "before" and "after" with no real bridge between them, but I understand that this was originally a short story, so some choppiness can be forgiven. I also didn't like the inclusion of the dog as a story focus, though I suppose she helped illustrate the utter desolation of abandonment when Jeffery stopped being proto-human.

I can see much more clearly now what Greg Bear was trying to do with Darwin's Radio, and how painfully he comes up short in comparison. While showing the evolution of humanity at large and George's family in particular, Clarke managed to change focus from macro to micro and back again multiple times.

I really liked the end. Energy has to go somewhere.

Books in 2016
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