Childhood's End

Arthur C Clark's 'Childhood's End' - audio version starring Steven Pacey

Review by Paul Beardsley, published in Interzone.

It is over two decades since I read Arthur C Clarke's 'Childhood's End'; I do not remember it being quite as downbeat as the dramatisation starring Steven Pacey (2 tapes, 1 hour 55 minutes, #8.99). The story is told as a series of flashbacks covering three generations as Jan Rodericks watches the destruction of the Earth (so no surprises there); this framing technique is a qualified success. more effective is the portrayal of the main players, which demonstrates the potential of audio adaptations - a mediocre story can be rescued by good actors, whereas a good story can be rendered great. Clarke's treatment of evolution as some sort of teleological 'higher power' is a tad cliched and unconvincing, but hey it was written in 1953. In any case the gradual build-up to a requiem for the human race is almost unbearably moving.

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Last updated on 03rd of October 1999.