Enormous silver spaceships suddenly appear over Earth’s largest cities. They are piloted by the Overlords, a technologically advanced alien race that has come to eliminate war, poverty, cruelty, disease—but at a price. Widely considered a classic of sci-fi literature, this novel is a winner of the Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel.

In the near future, enormous silver spaceships appear without warning over mankind’s largest cities. They belong to the Overlords, an alien race far superior to humanity in technological development—and their purpose is to dominate the Earth. Their demands, however, are surprisingly beneficial—end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of humanity, ushers in a golden age—or so it seems.

But it comes at a price. Without conflict, humanity ceases to work toward creative achievement, and culture stagnates. And as the years pass, it becomes more and more clear that the Overlords have a hidden agenda for the evolution of the human race—that may not be as beneficial as it seems.

Originally published in 1953, Childhood’s End is Clarke’s first successful novel and is considered a classic of science fiction literature. Its dominating theme of transcendent evolution appears in many of Clarke’s later works, including the Space Odyssey series. In 2004, the book won the Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel.


Author Description

One of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th and 21st century, Arthur C. Clarke is the author of over 100 novels, novellas, and short story collections that laid the groundwork for the science fiction genre. Combining scientific knowledge and visionary literary aptitude, Clarke's work explored the implications of major scientific discoveries in astonishingly inventive and mystical settings.

Clarke's short stories and novels have won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards, have been translated into more than 30 languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several of his books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey II, have been adapted into films that still stand as classic examples of the genre. Without a doubt, Arthur C. Clarke's is one of the most important voices in contemporary science fiction literature.


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ROSETTABOOKS BY ARTHUR C. CLARKE