Introduction to
Childhood’s End
Myth to Science Fiction
About Arthur C. Clarke
(Dec.16 1917-March 19, 2008)
 UK writer (sci-fi)
 Joined the British
Interplanetary Society.
 RAF officer during World
War II (inventor of
communication satellite)
 A member of several
scientific organizations
More about the author
 Eldest of 4 children
 Age 13 constructed his
first telescope.
 Age 14, father died.
 1948-King’s College,
London with honors.
 1956-stayed in Sri Lanka
 Won many awards for his
science fiction.
 Died of post-polio
syndrome.
About the novel
 Printed in over 30 languages
 Begins with the fear that the
Russians and the Americans
may use their atomic rockets
on each other.
 Central Themes:
-“Spiritual” rebirth and the
search for man’s place in the
universe.
-Question the meaning of life.
-Question religion and science
-Question about knowledge,
technology, and power.
-Utopian Society
The Culture of 1950’s
 Entertainment:
TV: 1956 studies show that kids ages 10-16 watched
television; average of 6 hours a day. “I Love Lucy,”
“Lassie,” “Mickey Mouse Club,” etc
Music: Rock and Roll. Young vs. Old. Elvis Presley
1950’s Technology
Television
First copy machine
1954 Bell Telephone produce solar battery
1957 Sputnik 1
4 months later U.S launch a smaller
satellite
Civil Rights
African Americans were not treated fairly
Schools were dirty and had little supplies.
1954- segregation was abolished.
The Cold War & Korean War
 The Cold War
After WWII: diplomatic
struggle and mutual
suspicion between the
U.S. and a group of
nations led by the
Soviet Union.
U.S fear of Communism
 The Korean War
By-product of the Cold
War
1950-Communist N.
Korea invaded S.
Korea; President
Truman sent the
American military into
action.
Quiz Time!
1. Who was the RAF officer during World War II?
2. How did the author died? And when?
3. Childhood’s End was printed over ___ languages.
4. Name at least 2 of the central themes in the novel.
5. During the 1950s, kids watched TV on an average of
how many hours a day?
6. When Sputnik was built, how much did it weigh?
7. True or False: Right after segregation was abolished,
everybody was treated fairly during the 1950s.
8. What is the Cold War?
9. Who was Joseph Stalin?
Answers
1. Arthur C. Clarke
2. Died of post-polio syndrome; March 19 2008.
3. Printed over 60 languages.
4. -Spiritual” rebirth
-meaning of life.
-religion and science
-knowledge, technology, and power.
-Utopian Society
5. They watched an average of 6 hours a day.
6. Sputnik weighed 184 pounds.
7. False
8. Cold War: state of conflict between the US and the USSR.
9. Ruler of the USSR.
References:
Liukkonen, Petri, and Ari Pesonen. “Arthur
Charles Clarke”. Books and Writers. 2003.
10 Nov. 2008
<http://kirjasto.sci.fi/aclarke.htm>.
“1950’s.” A Century in Review. Nov. 1999.
10 Nov. 2008.
<http://www.kidsnewsroom.org/elmer/info
Central/frameset/decade/1950.htm>.
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Introduction to Childhood’s End