LOOK TO THE SKY FOR THE CHILDHOOD'S END MINISERIES
30 March 2016
By Phoebe Taylor
Arthur C Clarke's classic novel Childhood's End has been turned into a stunning three-part mini series! Originally airing on the SyFy channel in December 2015, the series has now graced UK shores courtesy of Sky, with the third and final episode airing at 9pm on Thursday 31st March. You can also rewatch the series online. And, of course, this is the perfect time to read the book! We just happen to have a paperback edition right here.
Earth has become a Utopia, guided by a strange unseen people from outer space whose staggering powers have eradicated war, cruelty, poverty and racial inequality. When the 'Overlords' finally reveal themselves, their horrific form makes little impression.
Then comes the sign that the Overlords have been waiting for. A child begins to dream strangely - and develops remarkable powers. Soon this happens to every child - and the truth of the Overlords' mission is finally revealed to the human race. . .
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For the trivia geeks amongst you, here are five interesting facts about Childhood's End*
1) Childhood's End was first published in 1953, and was Arthur C Clarke's first successful novel. And no wonder - correctly predicting a space race between the USA and the Soviet Union, it's a great example of the prescience of science fiction.
2) The novel actually began life even earlier, in 1946, as a short story entitled 'Guardian Angel'. This eventually became Part One of Childhood's End - after being rejected by several editors, and finally published in New Worlds magazine with the ending rewritten (unbeknownst to Clarke!) by fellow sci fi author James Blish.
3) The original dedication in the novel was as follows: "To Marilyn, For letting me read the proofs on our honeymoon." Clarke and Marilyn Mayfield separated a few months later. (NB. Tor and Pan Macmillan will not be liable if this book destroys your relationship.)
4) In much later editions of the novel, when real life technology had already overtaken some of the tech posited in the book. Clarke revised the first chapter - he changed the venue for the space race from the Moon to Mars.
5) There are no fewer than three prog rock songs inspired by the book - Childhood's End by Pink Floyd and Watcher of the Skies by Genesis were both, coincidentally, released in 1972. Van der Graaf Generator included the song Childlike Faith in Childhood's End in 1976. Forget 2001: A Space Odyssey - clearly THIS is the most culturally significant of Clarke's works.
*Yes, I did get these all from Wikipedia. Don't judge me. I know you do it too.