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Out of the Silent Planet explained Out of the Silent Planet, review Out of the Silent Planet, trailer Out of the Silent Planet, box office Out of the Silent Planet, analysis Out of the Silent Planet, Out of the Silent Planet 2864 In The First Novel Of CS Lewis S Classic Science Fiction Trilogy, Dr Ransom, A Cambridge Academic, Is Abducted And Taken On A Spaceship To The Red Planet Of Malacandra, Which He Knows As Mars His Captors Are Plotting To Plunder The Planet S Treasures And Plan To Offer Ransom As A Sacrifice To The Creatures Who Live There Ransom Discovers He Has Come From The Silent Planet Earth Whose Tragic Story Is Known Throughout The Universe

  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • Out of the Silent Planet
  • C.S. Lewis
  • English
  • 27 January 2019
  • 9780007157150

10 thoughts on “Out of the Silent Planet

  1. says:

    You don t review C.S Lewis He reviews you.

  2. says:

    It is strange to me how often Lewis is mentioned as a leading Christian apologist, since his views on Christianity tend to be neither conventional nor well constructed Of course, he s not taken seriously by Biblical scholars or theologians I suspect this is because his Jesus is a cartoon lion and his God is a space alien.As Michael Moorcock pointed out, the prominent tone in both Tolkien and Lewis is condescension, and I admit my general impression of Lewis is that he s talking down to the audience in a sing song voice as if we re disturbing his perusal of the morning paper Thus I was pleasantly surprised by the opening of this book, which looked to be a mature adventure with a or less neutral narration.It immediately reminded me of Burrough s John Carter books, an influential series of planetary adventures about a man marooned on an alien world Of course, Lewis take was much plodding Instead of jumping from action to action, nakedly slaying naked green giants with space swords, we wander around mostly in the main character s head as he ponders things The further along, the ponderous it got, until our climax , which was an extended conversation about the myriad flaws of man.Once again Lewis shows that the only villain he s capable of creating is one who is stupidly comical and malicious, undermining the whole conflict It s almost as if he s so incapable of comprehending the thoughts and actions of others that he can t write believable characters unless they think and act just like him.Actually, in this case, there are a few layers of complexity, but they serve to undermine Lewis overall message, so I m not putting that in the win column for the old boy Without giving too much away, he creates a situation where all humans are helplessly screwed by the galacto spiritual system, but then he manages to still blame them for being ignorant and desperate.Like in his other books, the climax is both caused and fixed by an infinitely wise spirit of goodness who carefully explains everything to us and who resolves the conflict by having everyone laugh at the villain s wretchedness for a chapter and then being so powerful that it turns out there was never any conflict in the first place.But yeah, the climax was extremely lame with Lewis just building up Straw Men and then knocking them down, one after the other, all the while ignoring the fact that the villain is the logical result of the supposedly beneficent system.There s also the odd issue of the alien languages as presented in the book They re all fairly straightforward, with verbs, suffixes, prefixes, compound words, and so at first I assumed we were just supposed to take them for granted, which I have no problem with Tell me a guy has a laser sword, and I m with you It gets tedious when the author keeps going on about the laser sword, trying to explain it and make it seem important.The linguistic structure we were given was not complex enough to be interesting or thought provoking, the plot didn t hinge on it, it didn t introduce any complexities into the philosophy of the story yet Lewis kept returning to it over and over Sure, he made the protagonist a linguist, but then he never took the opportunity to analyze the differences in thought and expression that a linguist would come across when learning a language except for the occasional eye rolling they have no word for hate tidbit There was nothing vital or interesting in it, but that didn t stop Lewis from devoting endless paragraphs to the subject.Then again, I suppose that aimless precision is Lewis general mode He goes on about theology despite the fact that he doesn t have much to say He has long scenes where he makes fun of his villains and presents them as idiots despite the fact that it renders the whole plot conflict pointless He endlessly paints his fellow humans as stupid and worthless, as if his faith had made him so blind that he is incapable of feeling sympathy for anyone with a different point of view Who knew that Christian sentiment could be turned so readily into misanthropy Also, his depiction of technology and sci fi elements was fairly silly I don t even mean that it didn t age well, because it compares poorly even to depictions of earlier writers like Verne then again, Verne somehow predicted weightlessness in space.I was hoping I d like this , but then I ve never really enjoyed anything by Lewis When it first began, I had a fleeting hope that he might have written a four star book, but by the time we got to the space angels and the exceedingly lengthy lecture about how terribly humans are, it was over.

  3. says:

    First of all, this book has a cool title I mean, seriously Out of the Silent Planet Say it to yourself a couple times It sounds pretty, almost spooky, sort of dramatic and enigmatic Ooh Man, I love a good title I also love a good allegory And it s my opinion that C.S Lewis pretty much wrote the best allegories Like, for real dude This is like The Chronicles of Narnia for big people I m still partial to the childlikeness of The Chronicles though So basically, this book is about a man named Ransom who is abducted by these two crazy professor dudes, and taken to a planet called Malacandra or, Mars Once they reach the planet, Ransom promptly runs away from the crazy professors, and does a little exploration of the planet Where Narnia was written in a very simplistic style which I personally preferred , Out of the Silent Planet goes heavy on the adjectives, and there were points when I was thinking, How many fancy words can you use to describe one thing Although Lewis descriptive passages are a bit heavy and at times dull, he makes up for it with a mastery of dialogue I have noticed that in all of the C.S Lewis fiction I have read, it is not his descriptions which he tends to over flowerify , but his conversations that make his novels what they are The book is short in number of pages, but it drags a little until about chapter seventeen or eighteen Once I got to that point, everything started making sense and the allegory came over loud and clear and sweet So anyway, I could have given it four stars and with my complaints about the adjectives, it probably would ve been a accurate rating but I gave it five because it turned out to be quite entertaining And yeah, it gains back the star it lost by having great dialogue through chapters 18, 19, and 20 if I m remembering correctly.

  4. says:

    Not C.S Lewis s best or most popular book for every person who reads this, there must be at least ten who read Narnia However, the exchange between the humans and the Oyarsa the angelic ruler of Malacandra Mars is extremely effective satire, and deserves to be better known Ransom is the only one in the party who has been able to acquire any fluency in Malacandran He is given the task of translating Weston s fascist rant, which he clearly rather enjoys Speak to Ransom and he shall turn it into our speech, said Oyarsa.Weston accepted the arrangement at once He believed that the hour of his death was come and he was determined to utter the thing almost the only thing outside his own science which he had to say He cleared his throat, almost he struck a gesture, and began Life is greater than any system of morality her claims are absolute It is not by tribal taboos and copy book maxims that she has pursued her relentless march from the amoeba to man and from man to civilization He says, began Ransom, that living creatures are stronger than the question whether an act is bent or good no, that cannot be right he says it is better to be alive and bent than to be dead no he says, he says I cannot say what he says, Oyarsa, in your language But he goes on to say that the only good thing is that there should be very many creatures alive He says there were many other animals before the first men and the later ones were better than the earlier ones but he says the animals were not born because of what is said to the young about bent and good action by their elders And he says these animals did not feel any pity She, began Weston I m sorry, interrupted Ransom, but I ve forgotten who She is Life, of course, snapped Weston She has ruthlessly broken down all obstacles and liquidated all failures and today in her highest form civilized man and in me as his representative, she presses forward to that interplanetary leap which will, perhaps, place her for ever beyond the reach of death He says, resumed Ransom, that these animals learned to do many difficult things, except those who could not and those ones died and the other animals did not pity them And he says the best animal now is the kind of man who makes the big huts and carries the heavy weights and does all the other things I told you about and he is one of these and he says that if the others all knew what he was doing they would be pleased He says that if he could kill you all and bring our people to live in Malacandra, then they might be able to go on living here after something had gone wrong with our world And then if something went wrong with Malacandra they might go and kill all the hnau in another world And then another and so they would never die out.Lewis does a good job here of exposing the absurdity of the argument which purports to show that evolution the survival of the fittest somehow justifies selfish behavior Of course, it does nothing of the kind, as Richard Dawkins has pointed out innumerable times The fittest are by definition those who survive, and, as Dawkins delights in showing you, there is no end to the ingenious survival strategies developed by different species, which involve apparently unselfish cooperation just as often as apparently aggressive competition Christian apologists would, however, be on firmer ground if Christians were not quite so keen on justifying aggression in terms of divine justice It seems to me that this is as much a perversion of true Christian principles as Weston s speech is a perversion of true evolutionary science If you accept the tenets of Christianity, it should follow that only God can administer justice He has no need of Man s help to do so, and, since God is omnipotent, justice is inevitable.What I find interesting here is that strict evolutionary principles and strict Christian principles end up with the same conclusion the world is, by definition, fairly organized, whether you call this survival of the fittest or Divine justice People are in neither case required to assist the process.

  5. says:

    I read this book and its companion volumes Perelandra and That Hideous Strength sometime after college, which must have been in the early eighties I have re read all three books numerous times since then.The books show Lewis deep love of and knowledge of European literature and languages I stand in awe of his ability to bring together elements of Scandinavian and Celtic and Greek and Roman and English literature to create a universe that can hold the galaxy spanning intellects of the eldila and the very physical, in the moment instincts of tame bears and all the people and creatures inbetween.Lewis obviously wrote out of a particular time and culture, and some aspects of his trilogy are dated But the books have held up for me over the years They are very familiar and yet new every time.Though it took me a long time to actually get into and through That Hideous Strength, I think it is my favorite of the trilogy I marvel each time I read it at his ability to create a well rounded and sympathetic character in Jane Studdock, and I cry every time I read about the eldila descending to Earth the passage evokes some pretty big, solemn, awe filled feelings.Some people don t like C S Lewis, his way of writing, or what he stands for Too sad for them What grandeur, what humor, and what good writing they are missing.

  6. says:

    WARNING This review contains some spoilers.How can I review a C.S Lewis book I feel completely inadequate To properly summarize his work, one feels that you would have to be Lewis himself In the end, I feel that I can do nothing better than to let him speak for himself and to include a few quotations But then I am left with the impossible task of choosing those quotations, for any writing by Lewis is a series of building blocks, one concept layered upon another And so, in the end, all my attempts will be insufficient, leaving me with the mighty exhortation that you really must read his work for yourself But, never mind onto my insufficient thoughts In a poem entitled An Expostulation Against Too Many Writers of Science Fiction Lewis complains that science fiction writers transport us light years away, only to give us the same old stuff we left behindstories of crooks, spies, conspirators, or love He then asks why he should leave the Earth unless outside its guarded gates, long, long desired, the Unearthly waits And, based on this frustration, Lewis must have taken his own advice If they won t write the kind of books we like to read, we shall have to write them ourselves and crafted this masterpiece For unearthly is the only world that properly describes Out of the Silent Planet This is exactly the sort of science fiction I like a quiet sort of adventure, a magnificent world, but ultimately, all of it mere trappings to discuss deeper ideas Lewis uses the fantastical setting of space and other planets to pose fundamental questions less than questions, but rather suggestions He truly sticks to his speculative genre and does exactly that he speculates Some might find this dark but it s certainly not any darker than something like, say, The Lord of the Rings Some might call it bizarre, but it s no bizarre than any other sci fi novel, and has the great benefit of Truth to bring clarity to its unusual world.The beginning of the novel is fascinatingly creepy and a prime example of the old fashioned shocker what we know today as a thriller as our hero, in typical shocker fashion, walks unwittingly into a frightening situation that has a quality of the hideous as some insidious plan begins to unfold and catches him in its web.This Gothic feeling lingers as Ransom is rocketed literally into space and lands on an alien world The suspense grows as Ransom is filled with both terror and entrancement, but then the fear gives away when he finally makes first contact with the peoples of this unknown world and we are plunged into something that is not a nightmare but like a dream, for there is a slow dreamy quality to this novel that never lets up The tone shifts gears into something fantastical and mythological in feel Most authors, while portraying something bizarre, cannot do so without making it grotesque but not C.S Lewis He makes the truly weird unsettling and irresistible, without ever being revolting And Lewis does what few other writers can do He makes PEACE exciting In a world where writers are enad with sensationalism and rely on violence and chaos to create conflict and excitement Lewis does what feels like the impossible We are explorers in a new world, we are in a science fiction novel, we are in conflict with evil men, and yet it is all as peaceful as a reverie A Random Collection of Loving Notes The world building is unique and, to my mind, left nothing to be desired it is truly awful and wonderful, bizarre and enchanting Admittedly, I have not read a lot of science fiction not for lack of desire, let me assure you, but because of the lack of quality in the genre and, to my mind, it felt different from anything I ve read before I utterly adored the creatures of this world especially the otter like hross The focus on language and Ransom s attempt to learn the unique speech of this world was fascinating I loved the angelic leader of the planet, Oyarsa, the concept of angels overseeing over planets was a fascinating one and Lewis s vision of what angels might be like Powerful, but not omnipresent Holy, but not divine Good, but not God A Just leader, but not the Ultimate Judge or leader Entrancing, but merely a kind of servant I loved how Oyarsa ends up asking Ransom for his knowledge of the Silent Planet and the great thing that happened there The scenes where Ransom is describing the coming of Christ the Angel are reminiscent to me of the Scripture Even the angels long to look into these matters An Aside This novel should not, in any way, lead us to the idea that C.S Lewis believed in alien life This is not history, this is not even hypothesis, this is science fiction To assume upon reading this novel that C.S Lewis believed in alien life demands the further assumption that Lewis must have believed in talking lions and magical wardrobes We all write about things we don t believe in to better describe the things we DO believe in But, really, even if he did believe in aliens or evolution, this just goes to show that all humans even brilliant ones can err That doesn t make this novel any less good or powerful let us not throw out the baby with the bath water If he got one truth wrong, there are still plenty of other fulfilling truths to be gleaned from this novel for the discerning reader What IS clear in this novel is the anti humanist, anti facist themes that are explored through the stories principal villain As well as the decrying the debasement of selfishness and cruelty that are represented in the animal like Devine and the exhortation for a holier, spiritual transformation for all mankind A Conclusion As always there is a true sense of love in Lewis s work that is often absent from other novelists Not only an invitation to love Malacandra and its creatures, but to adore Love itself the source of love There is a great deal of philosophical and theological depth that it is sometimes hard to take in all at once It is the sort of book to be nibbled and slowly digested and gradually invited into the subconscious to be pondered on again and again Like a set of Russian dolls, there are layers in this book are well worth opening More than anything, and than any over science fiction novel, this book made me think of what lays beyond for ME There is a strange, new world to be explored in my future, full of things the mind cannot even conceive The fuzzy concepts of this future world produces both fear and expectation The feeling that I will one day be meeting the thing I have both longed for and avoided all my life In this Malacandra, Lewis expostulates on what is in store for all who believe but it is from another one of his works that he truly captures our feelings on the subject Suppose you were told there was a tiger in the next room you would know that you were in danger and would probably feel fear But if you were told There is a ghost in the next room, and believed it, you would feel, indeed, what is often called fear, but of a different kind It would not be based on the knowledge of danger, for no one is primarily afraid of what a ghost may do to him, but of the mere fact that it is a ghost It is uncanny rather than dangerous, and the special kind of fear it excites may be called Dread With the Uncanny one has reached the fringes of the Numinous Now suppose that you were told simply There is a mighty spirit in the room, and believed it Your feelings would then be even less like the mere fear of danger but the disturbance would be profound You would feel wonder and a certain shrinking a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant and of prostration before it an emotion which might be expressed in Shakespeare s words Under it my genius is rebuked This feeling may be described as awe, and the object which excites it as the Numinous The Problem of Pain Out of the Silent Planet raises the hair on the back of one s neck, for it is a reflection, an echo, of that Numinous I do, indeed, feel rebuked upon reading it, but also enad Fearful, but excited Uncertain, yet longing for Lewis can ignite the spiritual core of a reader like no other I have ever read Out of the Silent was truly a journey to another world and, also, to a deep corner of myself As another reviewer said so adroitly You don t review C.S Lewis he reviews you.

  7. says:

    3.5 stars _Out of the Silent Planet_ is the start of C S Lewis Space Trilogy a series that, for me at least, comprises his best works of fiction I ve never been much of a fan of the Narnia books and Till We Have Faces fell totally flat for me so aside from his purely academic texts this is generally the series I go to when I want to read Lewis In a nutshell the Space Trilogy documents the adventures of academic and philologist Elwin Ransom as he finds himself embroiled in events of cosmic significance There is definitely a heavy influence from some of Lewis fellow Inklings in these works specifically Tolkien and Charles Williams The former is not surprising given the story that these books came about from a discussion Tolkien and Lewis had about the need to write the kind of stories they liked in which they would describe a world in which what we view as fanciful myth actually has objective reality it was agreed that they would each take a different perspective from which to view this the former would tackle time travel and the latter space travel In the end Tolkien never produced his story or not in full anyway, a fragment of the story can be found in The Lost Road and Other Writings , but Lewis produced first _Out of the Silent Planet_ and then the rest of the trilogy as a result The character of Ransom himself esp as a philologist also seems like it may have been based on Tolkien to some extent certainly that appears to have been Tolkien s suspicion As to William s influence, that is much obvious in the later volumes so doesn t bear much discussion here, but the fact that as these grew they became and like the spiritual thrillers that Williams was famous for and also ended up drawing heavily on the Arthurian mythos of which Williams was enamoured makes the link obvious enough.Given the publication date this could be considered classic SF , though I have to admit that there are ways in which this novel seems to contravene many of the assumptions of sci fi as a genre, and often the series veers much into territory most would consider related to fantasy than SF though I d be the first to admit that any clear cut distinctions between the two genres are always a topic of hot debate When it comes to old school sci fi I often find myself completely thrown out of the book when I come across scientific or engineering ideas that even I in my relative ignorance know to be dated or silly, but I never had the same feeling with this book despite its significant departure from real science Instead I was further engaged since the very cosmology of the tale is based on a self conscious conceit of the author s that I find intriguing what if the classical medieval model of the universe were true instead of the one that modern science had posited What if instead of the dead, dark vacuum of empty space we instead had the Heavens populated by numerous non physical entities which swam in a stellar light of incomparable beauty and perfection What if some of these intelligences further had authority over the planets in the solar system and were themselves the seed for the ancient myths that humanity invented when they talked about gods and angels See Lewis excellent overview of ancient and medieval cosmology in The Discarded Image An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature for a fuller picture of the kind of universe he is positing and we thus end up with something that is as much alternate history as it is sci fi Given certain thematic elements of the story some might even view it as something akin to anti sci fi, for while the journey through space and meeting with extra terrestrial intelligences are no less thrilling or composed of sensawunda than might be expected of any other sci fi tale, the message is pretty much the opposite to what we would normally expect space travel and other worlds are not for us, due not only to physical, but moral restrictions This interest in not only positing an alternate cosmology for the universe, but in the ethical considerations of space travel and their relations to an underlying moral framework in creation points out another primary aspect of the story while there are certainly moments of action and real or perceived danger in the tale, it is primarily a story of philosophical, rather than physical, adventure It is about discovering a whole new or wholly different worldview from what one had assumed was the truth Ransom s adventures on Malacandra the inhabitants name for Mars all lead him to the final show down which proves to be an audience with the angelic patron of the planet where Ransom s linguistic abilities allow him to stand in as translator for the other humans who see Malacandra as merely a stepping stone in man s continued greatness and evolution into the stars It sounds boring, but actually provides a fair bit of humour as we see Ransom struggling with the challenge of expressing some of the outr elements of his companion s philosophy in a way that will make sense to the Malacandrians Overall I think that Lewis really shines in building an intriguing vision of Mars and the strange creatures that inhabit it and tying it to a fast moving and interesting story His cosmic history of the solar system that draws on human beliefs both pagan and Christian meshes well with his medieval classical cosmology and enough details are drawn into the story to flesh things out with colour, but are few enough to not bog things down in irrelevant or excessive details You might not agree with all of the ideas that Lewis presents here as regards the underpinnings of the universe, but he definitely presents them in an intriguing and entertaining way Not the best in the series, but a good introduction nonetheless.

  8. says:

    CS Lewis once wrote a poem entitled An Expostulation Against Too Many Writers of Science Fiction In it, he complains that science fiction writers transport us light years away, only to give us the same old stuff we left behindstories of crooks, spies, conspirators, or love He then asks why he should leave the Earth unless outside its guarded gates, long, long desired, the Unearthly waits It s easy to see his point Most of the science fiction written during his lifetime were twice told tales set on rocket ships with ray guns instead of revolvers Lewis was looking for something that was truly unique, something never before captured in a work of science fiction the genuinely alien Though I have no proof of this, it strikes me that, since he could not find anything that fit the bill, he decided to go ahead and write it himself Out of the Silent Planet is the result Though not science fiction in the strictest sense there is no hard science to be found in Lewis Space Trilogy , Out of the Silent Planet certainly qualifies as science fantasy, and is one of the best examples of the genre Its protagonist is Dr Elwin Ransom, a philologist and Cambridge professor While alone on a hiking tour through England, Ransom is kidnapped by two men, Richard Devine and Professor Edward Weston Weston, a physicist, has invented and built a spaceship, and together with Devine they force Ransom to join them on a trip through space to a planet they call Malacandra During the long voyage, Ransom deduces from the conversations of the other two men that the planet to which they travel is inhabited, and that he is being taken there to be offered up as a sacrifice of some sort Though not the typical SF hero, Ransom has no intention of being offered up without some sort of resistance, and shortly after touching down on the new planet s surface he is able to evade his captors and effect an escape This is where Lewis imagination takes flight Ransom encounters flora and fauna that bear no relationship whatsoever to anything Earthly At first it is a tremendous shock the world is so alien that Ransom literally does not know what he is looking at He is like an infant, newborn from the womb of space He possesses all of the faculties of a grown man, but like a baby he has no vocabulary for what he sees around him The world is new There is vegetation, he sees creatures that move on four legs, others that swim in the waters, but has no categories in his mind in which to hold any of them In spite of his peril, all that he beholds is beautiful and wondrous Lewis does an amazing job of capturing the sense of awe that Ransom feels as he learns about the new world he has crossed space to enter.Eventually, and quite by accident, Ransom stumbles upon an intelligent alien Though surprised by each others appearance, they do not fly, and Ransom s contact with sentient life on Malacandra begins It is a meeting like few in science fiction The two beings recognize each other as alien, but intelligent, and proceed from there There is no malice, no suspicion, no hostility, only curiosity and hospitality Ransom is taken in by the alien, a Hross named Hyoi, and, given that Weston and Devine are not likely to take him back to Earth, settles in for what appears to be a long stay.His training as a philologist serves him well and it is not long before he is able to converse with the Hrossa, a water loving race who bear a faint resemblance to giant otters As he learns about them, he discovers that their society is completely unlike any on Earth, which of course addresses the complaint of Lewis about SF authors The Hrossa, and the other sentient races on Malacandra, live in a state of innocence, untouched by the fall of man Evil does not exist there There is no crime, no war, no injustice The three sentient races who populate Malacandra live in peaceful, amicable co existence At the same time, it is not some dry, sterile, idyllic utopia Malacandra is a rich world with a complex past and an unsettling future that its inhabitants seem to accept without fear The Ransom discovers about Malacandra, the we discover how thoughtful an author Lewis was He never violates the internal logic of his setting The whole hangs together as neatly as if the place were real and the reader is drawn in and invited to love Malacandra as much as any reader loved Narnia or Middle Earth But Out of the Silent Planet is far than an alien travelogue Sadly, Weston and Devine do not give up on finding Ransom He is found, blood is spilled, and the innocence of Malacandra, though not spoiled, is deeply shaken When this happens, it begins to look like Lewis will fail to achieve his goal after all and the book will turn out to be nothing than a sermon on how civilized man corrupts the noble savage Nothing could be further from the truth The end of Out of the Silent Planet is as surprising as everything that has gone before and sets the stage for even greater delights to be found in the second book of the trilogy, Perelandra Out of the Silent Planet is easily one of the most beautiful books I have ever read Lewis successfully creates the appearance of a world that is not fallen In it, he explores numerous themes that only another book could analyze fully It is a meditation on what alien intelligences might truly be like, particularly if they are not affected by the fall of man It is an homage to and working out of medieval cosmology and natural philosophy It is an exploration of language and its original source It is a critique of modern science divorced from a moral compass And yes, given that Lewis was a devout Christian, it is a deeply spiritual work Hopefully, that last point will not discourage any from reading Out of the Silent Planet It contributes to the excellence of the whole than can be imagined One could no remove Lewis Christianity from his work and retain its genius than Bunyan s from Pilgrim s Progress or Milton s from Paradise Lost I highly recommend it to all.

  9. says:

    Around the turn of the last century and a little before, a number of 19th century writers turned their hand to a brand new genre Nowadays we call it Steampunk, which is just a hipster name for Science Fiction written during the late Victorian and pre WWI years.Most of them painted a bleakish picture of our future Maybe they were afraid of change or had a pessimistic view of man s ability to rein in the technological age the industrial age was ushering in There were many unknown factors Would the power received from all sorts of wonderful inventions make life easier for the general populace Or would it make it easier for power mongers to destroy the world as it was known and create an enslaved class of proportions never before seen in the history of mankind H.G Wells is our best known Science Fiction writer of the time and he certainly expressed in stark descriptions the sort of world we would all be living in if man learned how to become invisible or create giants or time travel.Even E.M Forster provides a provocative possibility in his short story The Machine Stops of how alienated humans could become to each other thanks to modern inventions taking care of our every need.As much as I enjoy Wells, Forster, and as well as any number of Steampunk authors, the fact is none of them inspire hope The landscape is gray, desolate and godless.Which brings me to why I love C.S Lewis s Science Fiction trilogy so, so much.Lewis has the ability to give the reader a clear sighted view of man s heart which is desperately wicked while showing that there is a Power higher than that desperate wickedness that is ultimately going to triumph.As a result, one finishes Lewis Science Fiction heartened, encouraged, and ironically feeling greater love for humankind and hope for the future and the human race, at least a portion of us Some of Lewis characters willfully rush towards eternal destruction.Out of the Silent Planet is the first book in a trilogy I have read the first and last and will soon start on the middle There is a reason I read it out of order that I won t get in here, but this is the third time reading it so it doesn t really matter.Our hero is Dr Elwin Ransom, and the inset of the dustcover informs us that Lewis based this memorable character after his dear friend J.R.R Tolkien.Ransom is a philologist Like Lewis and Tolkien were fond of doing, Ransom is on a walking tour through the countryside Soon he is tired, hungry, and hopelessly lost He approaches a house where he hopes for a little hospitality.What he finds there, to his surprise, is an old schoolmate named Devine, the least favorite of his old schoolmates and with good reason as we ll see, and another man, Weston, who turns out to be a megalomaniac scientist Of course Ransom doesn t initially know Weston is megalomaniac but he soon discovers it as he realizes the two man have nefarious plans for him.Those plans consist of kidnapping him and taking him to another planet The planet is called Malacandra and I won t tell you which planet that is so as not to ruin the surprise.I also won t tell you too much of Ransom s adventures there for the same reason However, being Lewis, the creatures are of such a sort as to inspire awe, fear, dread and respect and also love.There are certain beings that exist there that are unknown to humans but actually exist on Earth as well Because of humankind s fallen nature and the bent Oyarsa that rules the planet, these beings are invisible to the human eye Man s corrupted eye cannot see them although originally they were supposed to.Ransom learns all of this while he is on Malacandra after talking with the Oyarsa of the planet, but we meet him only later in the novel We first meet the physical beings that Ransom can see and gets to know.Eventually, Ransom discovers why Devine and Weston have brought him to Malacandra But even they do not realize that they are merely tools unwittingly carrying out the evil intent of Earth s bent Oyarsa This final revelation is a prelude to the second and third novels in the trilogy.This story is adventurous and suspenseful but most of all, it inspires the reader to care about all of the characters, even the bent humans, because Lewis is able to project his own unconditional love onto each person, terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and in turn make them lovable to us.

  10. says:

    I read this first about 7 or 8 years ago, but found it difficult to get through This time it was over too soon I felt like I was on Malacandra myself and feel like I experienced everything that went on as much as Ransom, the main character in the book Lewis explores philosophical questions that if not discussed in the context of another species existence would strike me as really basic by discussing these questions in the setting of another world, he refreshes them and has insights that we often miss I really enjoyed it and think it will become part of my book consciousness one of the books I often re read throughout the year A discussion between Ransom and a creature of Malacandra by the name of Hyoi, that began with Ransom asking if the three main races of Malacandra ever fight, then Ransom must explain about warring peoples of the Earth and how they fight over resources If both wanted one thing and neither would give it, said Ransom, would the other at last come with force Would they say, five it or we kill you Ransom What sort of thing Hyoi Well foor, perhaps Ransom If the other hnau wanted food, why should we not give it to them We often do Hyoi But how if we had not enough for ourselves Ransom But Maleldil will not stop the plants growing Hyoi Hyoi, if you had and young, would Maleldil broaden the handramit and make enough plants for them all Ransom But why should we have young, Ren soom Hyoi Is the begetting of young not a pleasure among the hrossa Ransom A very great one, Hman This is what we call love Hyoi If a thing is a pleasure, a hman wants it again He might want the pleasure often than the number of young that could be fed Ransom You mean, said Hyoi slowly, that he might do it not only in one or two years of his life but again Yes Ransom But why Would he want his dinner all day or want to sleep after he had slept I do not understand And so the dialogue goes It s so great

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