Childhood’s End

Arthur C. Clarke

Illustrated by Grace Aldrich

Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke

Preface by the author

Arthur C. Clarke’s seminal sci-fi novel Childhood’s End charts a utopian alien invasion with a surprising twist. This beautiful new edition features the spectacular artwork of Grace Aldrich.

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‘Frighteningly logical, believable, and grimly prophetic ... Clarke is a master.’
  1. The Los Angeles Times

It is the late 1970s and the United States and Soviet Republic are on the cusp of entering outer space. However, just as space travel is within their grasp, alien spaceships descend over the earth’s major cities ... five years later, the Overlords have taken over the world. American illustrator Grace Aldrich elevates the tension and uneasiness in the narrative to present the strange new reality in six unnerving illustrations, while her striking binding design features the pivotal character, Jan Rodricks.

Bound in printed and blocked cloth 

Set in Berling with Helvetica as display


 5 full-page colour illustrations

Black & white illustrated title page spread

Slipcase printed and matt laminated

9½˝ x 6¾˝

Fascinated by the unknown, illustrator Grace Aldrich depicts otherworldly places that couldn’t exist outside of the imagination. Clarke’s seminal first-contact story hurtles towards a haunting realisation, and Aldrich embeds the uncertainty and escalation of impending doom into each striking artwork. This illustrated edition of Childhood’s End also features a space-themed binding with silver blocking and a striking portrait of scientist Jan Rodricks by Aldrich. In 1989, Arthur C. Clarke wrote a foreword to Childhood’s End; a retrospective piece in which he reflects on the world that existed when the book was first published in 1954. This is included in our edition and is a fascinating insight into shifting opinions about space and the paranormal.

‘Evil men could be destroyed, but nothing could be done with good men who were deluded.’

Led by Supervisor of the Earth, Karellen, the Overlords appear to have achieved the utopian dream of a world free from war, cruelty, poverty and racial inequality. But does this peaceful invasion of planet Earth really come with no hidden agenda? Human liaison Stormgren is Secretary-General of the United Nations and his weekly meetings with Karellen gradually reveal the ultimate aim of the occupiers; one that will ensure their supremacy over the human race and those beyond earth forever. Children begin to be born with supernatural abilities and the undoing of earth as we know it begins, as the sinister motives and dominance of the Overlords is revealed.

Arthur C. Clarke was born in 1917 in Minehead, Somerset. Volunteering for RAF service in 1941, Clarke worked on radar systems during the Second World War, and published an influential paper in 1945 which sketched the potential for orbital communication satellites. His passionate interest in science was allied with an early facility for fiction writing, and he went on to write more than 70 books, including Childhood’s End (1967; Folio Society 2023), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; Folio Society 2016), Rendezvous with Rama (1973; Folio Society 2020), Rama II (1989), The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1991) and The Garden of Rama (1991). He became the world’s foremost science-fiction writer and won numerous international awards including the Hugo and Nebula. In 1968 he shared an Academy Award nomination for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was awarded a knighthood in 1998 and died in 2008 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka.

Grace Aldrich is an award-winning illustrator and gallery artist from Kansas City. Her early art education was mostly self-taught, learning through online courses and books before finally attending The Illustration Academy. She specialises in acrylic and digital painting, using her traditional painting skills to emphasise colour and light in her illustrations. Her digital illustrations are hand-drawn, with an effort to produce a classical painting feel, utilising modern tools. Her work has been recognised by established annuals and exhibitions such as 3x3, American Illustration, Surreal Salon, and Communication Arts.


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