Childhood's End

Reception

The novel was well received by most readers and critics.[14] Two months after publication, all 210,000 copies of the first printing had been sold.[15] The New York Times published two positive reviews of the book: Basil Davenport compared Clarke to Olaf Stapledon, C. S. Lewis, and H. G. Wells, a "very small group of writers who have used science fiction as the vehicle of philosophic ideas."[16] William DuBois called the book "a first rate tour de force that is well worth the attention of every thoughtful citizen in this age of anxiety."[17] Don Guzman of the Los Angeles Times admired the novel for its suspense, wisdom, and beauty. He compared Clarke's role as a writer to that of an artist, "a master of sonorous language, a painter of pictures in futuristic colors, a Chesley Bonestell with words".[18] Galaxy reviewer Groff Conklin called the novel "a formidably impressive job ... a continuous kaleidoscope of the unexpected."[19]

Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas were more sceptical, and faulted the novel's "curious imbalance between its large-scale history and a number of episodic small-scale stories." While praising Clarke's work as "Stapledonian [for] its historic concepts and also for the quality of its prose and thinking," they concluded that Childhood's End was "an awkward and imperfect book."[20] P. Schuyler Miller said the novel was "all imagination and poetry," but concluded it was "not up to some of Clarke's other writing" due to weakness in its "episodic structure."[21]

Brian W. Aldiss and David Wingrove wrote that Childhood's End rested on "a rather banal philosophical idea," but that Clarke "expressed [it] in simple but aspiring language that vaguely recalls the Psalms [and] combined [it] with a dramatized sense of loss [for] undeniable effect."[22]

In 2004 Childhood's End was nominated for a retroactive Hugo Award for Best Novel for 1954.[23]


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