This one is actually book versus miniseries, but for the sake of continuity, I left the title alone.
So… Childhood’s End.
This story is amazing in both formats, and I highly recommend both.
Arthur C. Clarke is, I say it for the billionth (probably) time, one of my very favorite authors. I love his descriptive style, his attention to detail, how easily his scientific knowledge blends with his creativity, and his original storylines. I decided to read this book because I knew that Syfy was making a miniseries for it. I’ll hopefully read all of his books one day, but who knows what order?
One of the things I love about Clarke are his dramatic first chapters. He presents a character like you already know them and then jumps straight into action. The first chapter always ends how authors normally end one book in a series; there is a dramatic cliffhanger leaving you dying to read more and boom! You can because it’s right there, and that is only the beginning.
Clarke has amazing descriptive power that makes your brain work to solve the book’s mysteries at the same time it is trying to devour the exciting plot as quickly as possible. A lot of his text focuses on action and characters, but you don’t feel a lack of world building. His world building has power in its simplicity, and it doesn’t have superfluous detail (unlike this review).
Now I’ll talk about the actual book, even though I could probably go on about Clarke forever. Childhood’s End shows mankind encountering their first invaders and two subsequent stages of man. *SPOILERS AHEAD. YE HAVE BEEN WARNED* This books asks some very interesting questions about society. One concept in particular has stuck with me; Clarke presents society with a 20 hour work week, unlimited food, travel, and wealth for all, and the ability to live literally anywhere on the planet, yet people still ask “where do we go from here?” It seems that progress is an innate part of humanity that we will always strive for. The end was amazing! It was completely unexpected; I went through a lot of theories while I read, but none of them were close. Everything tied together really well and tidily, even though there were a lot of characters. I love this book because it makes you contemplate the end of the world with perspective rather than fear.
Syfy did a fantastic job with this adaptation! I texted my friend to tell him Syfy surprises me all the time because sometimes they give me boner zombies and then turn around and deliver a series that explodes my brain with awesome. Syfy is a strange place.
The show is an adaptation in its truest sense. The story is different while staying true to the sense and ideas of the original work. I think the changes made sense for the type of audience Syfy has, and it made the show fresh for someone who read the original novel. One of my favorite changes is that they opened the first episode with the end of the book. It started with an ominous tone, and it made the viewer wonder how exactly the end would come. I think this method of story telling works especially well for a miniseries because it bookends the entire series and ties all the parts together.
I need to say that this show was shot amazingly well. Holy bananas, that cinematography was awesome. The opening scenes are so suspenseful! I knew exactly what was happening, and I was still on edge. The look of the show matched the tone too well for words. The show was beautifully written, shot, and acted throughout.
So who takes the title?
I’m a huge fan of both, and I’ll delve into both many times. The race is pretty close on this book versus movie, but I have to say I liked the book better with this one. I may just be biased in favor of Clarke’s words because I can’t really think of a fault with either. Still, the book wins this round, but film lives to fight another day.