Thursday, March 17, 2011

4. Childhood's End - One of those classics

To say that I loved Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke would be putting it a bit strongly. I liked the book. It was interesting, it was confusing and it has hovered in my mind since I first read it. I will certainly read it again one day.

But part of the reason that I'll read it again is because I don't remember it very well. Scenes - yes. I remember a few scenes particularly well and in a very positive light, but I feel like I'm missing part of the point of the book. Childhood's End contained within it a lot of complexities and I feel like only a year and a bit later, I don't quite have the grasp on them.

Why, then, am I recommending this as a SAFL title? If this isn't one of my all-time favorite sci-fi books, why place it on the list at all?

Because "literature" (that nasty word) often includes titles that may not be every reader's favorite. Literature takes into account a lot more than my own difficulties in understanding what is no doubt an excellent example of quality science fiction and storytelling. It takes into account the voices of many readers and critics. It looks at the history of the book, the overall reception and the impact it has had on the world - not just readers, but the books that may have followed it.

Childhood's End is a classic of sci-fi, a book that comes well-recommended (rightly so) and serves as a wonderful example of alien sci-fi. It's well-written, it's interesting and it isn't of the rambling school of science fiction. And I did really like it. It's a great book - a classic and is certainly worth reading.

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