This month’s book comes to us from Arthur C. Clark, well known for 2001: A Space Odyssey and the previously read The Sands of Mars. Clark is a staple in science fiction and one of his most famous books bridges two themes that we are interested in right now: the end of the world and space.
Childhood’s End is a sweeping narrative that begins when an alien race arrives on Earth. Without saying too much, it takes a good look at how humanity can come together, or not, in the face of a new power. For a few of us, it will be our second time reading this novel and I can honestly say that I can’t wait to get back to it. It was also a pretty good three-part SyFy series that came out 2015 (currently available on Apple TV)
One of the really interesting historical notes about this book is that there are two different versions of Chapter 1.
The version included in the initial publication starts with an introduction of sorts to the geopolitical climate and situation surrounding an impending war. Then suddenly the ships arrive. Clark later went back and revised his initial first chapter stating that he felt the original one seemed reactionary to the time in which he wrote it and that it didn’t set the reader in the direction that he wanted. Instead in the newer version, we start on the dawn of man’s newest achievement. It hints at the political climate but focuses more on a “Where were you when it happened?” moment on a grand scale. Personally, I think it was a great rewrite and I highly recommend it. The audiobook version is the original text. The cover included here has the newer Chapter 1. I should add that Chapter 2 and beyond remained unchanged.