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The Space Trilogy #1-3

Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet / Perelandra / That Hideous Strength

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The Cosmic Trilogy relates the interplanetary travels of Ransom, C.S. Lewis's ill-informed and terrified victim who leaves Earth much against his will and who, in the first book of the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, published by the Bodley Head in 1938, encounters the imaginary and delightful world of Macalandra. In the second book, Perelandra (1943), Ransom is transported to a world of sweet smells and delicious tastes, a new Garden of Eden in which is enacted, with a difference, the story of Temptation. That Hideous Strength (1945) completes the trilogy and finds Dr Ransom returned from his travels in space and living in an English university town - where the Senior Common Room is given a mysterious depth, a more than earthly dimension which such things, in the author's view, always have in life.

C.S. Lewis believed that popular science was the new mythology of his age, and in The Cosmic Trilogy he ransacks the uncharted territory of space and makes that mythology the medium of his spiritual imagination.

764 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1938

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About the author

C.S. Lewis

1,206 books40.9k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Lewis was married to poet Joy Davidman.
W.H. Lewis was his elder brother]

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 524 reviews
Profile Image for Bethany.
6 reviews2 followers
May 8, 2009
This space trilogy should not be "confused" as a normal sci fi. C.S. Lewis writes all his fiction with a purpose of philosophizing and helping the read see parallels to Christianity and really, just "real life".

I value this trilogy as one of my favorite reads of all time. If you decide to read it, you can't approach it like a normal "fiction" read. You have to really pay attention to C.S. Lewis's characters' thought processes because therein lies the secrets to the books.

I would dare say that even the most avid fiction readers will find this trilogy either 1: hard to read and hard to get into OR 2: slow to start but impossibly wonderful and fabulous in its artistic and philosophical creating. This trilogy will make you think. A LOT.

Also, not a good set of books to read when you are tired. Best to read when you are very alert and can take note of the little hints and connections and piece them together as you go.

LOVE THIS TRILOGY...it can be life-changing for some.
Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books376 followers
November 17, 2021
Given what Lewis is trying to do with this trilogy, it's important to know that Lewis knew absolutely nothing about science. And he was quite hostile to scientists, as comes out loud and clear in his Space Trilogy.

One of the evil scientists in the Trilogy is based on a distinguished British scientist, J. B. S. Haldane, who defeated Lewis in an Oxford Union debate. Lewis was quite the bully and didn't like losing. It seemed as if Lewis was out for petty revenge by portraying Haldane, and other scientists, as evil in his fiction. Below is a link to what Haldane wrote in response to the Trilogy. It's on a site that is pro-Lewis. After a tendentious introduction, the writing is all Haldane.

In the trilogy the hero, Ransom, is a professor of philology (an obvious nod to Tolkien). Whereas all but one of the scientists are possessed of the Devil. (Evil bastards!)

"Mr. Lewis’s idea is clear enough. The application of science to human affairs can only lead to hell. This world is largely run by the Devil," Haldane writes.

"Mr Lewis is often incorrect, as in his account of the gravitational field in the spaceship, of the atmosphere on Mars, the appearance of other planets from it, and so on. His accounts of supernatural intervention would have been more impressive had he known more of nature as it actually exists."

Profile Image for James.
Author 11 books92 followers
January 10, 2011
I would rank this with Tolkien's Middle Earth work for skill in creating imaginary realities (Lewis and Tolkien were close friends and often gave each other feedback on drafts of their work) and with Stephen King's The Stand for its power as a story of good and evil. Also like those other two stories, I would caution that some of this might be - no, is - too dark for children or young teens.

I especially like the portrayal of evil as stupid, blind, and shallow rather than being intriguing, romantic, or alluring. I actually liked this trilogy better than Lewis' other and better known Narnia series.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
Author 1 book252 followers
Want to read
April 28, 2022
Could also be called "The Cosmic Trilogy" or "The Ransom Trilogy."

See here for information about the "Lost Lewis Tapes."

See Plodcast, Episode #1. That Hideous Strength is objectively Wilson's favorite book, based on the number of times he's read it (~15); see some comments here about the kind of women that appear in it.

Lectures on Out of the Silent Planet (here), Perelandra (here), and That Hideous Strength (here). Introduction to the trilogy.

From WORLD: "Just as Leviticus is the graveyard of many a Bible reading plan, That Hideous Strength is the Waterloo of many a C.S. Lewis fan. 'I can’t get through it!' they say. I get it; the last volume of Lewis' space trilogy can be perplexing and frustrating. The trilogy began with a straightforward sci-fi tale of a university professor kidnapped and transported to Mars (Out of the Silent Planet). In Perelandra, the same professor is conveyed—voluntarily this time—to Venus, where he participates in a replay of the original temptation story. But That Hideous Strength begins with a dissatisfied graduate student and her social-climbing husband in a stuffy academic world resembling Oxford. Professor Ransom is nowhere in sight; petty professorial politics consume the opening chapters. What gives?"
Profile Image for Bart Breen.
209 reviews18 followers
May 25, 2012
Classic Science Fiction! Must read for many!

CS Lewis is best known for his Narnia Series for children and then as a Christian Apologist. An agnostic for many years, this English Don and Professor of Literature came to develop a friendship with JRR Tolkien (yes, THE JRR Tolkien)and over the course of that friendship, converted to Christianity and the Church of England, (despite the protestation of Tolkien to a small degree who was himself Roman Catholic.)

Lewis grew in fame throughout England in part due to his writing and in part due to his radio broadcasts known as "Fireside Chats" which became the basis of one of his more influential works, "Mere Christianity."

Why raise this in the context of a review on this Space Trilogy? Because it helps to explain the broad appeal of it to many different audiences.

Did you enjoy the Narnia Chronicles as a child (or an adult reading it to a child?) Here then is a new vista written more to an adult level with many of the same elements of genius in writing and allegory that you came to love. Dive in. Reorient yourself to the slightly different genre and prepare to be entertained.

Are you attracted to the Christian apologetics of Lewis and less inclined to read for entertainment? Well then, how about a rollicking good tale that weaves throughout the telling, major tenets and demonstrations of the heart of Christianity that will feed your mind even as you catch yourself enjoying the story.

Are you a Science Fiction fan? Does science fiction as it was written before the boom in the 1950's from authors such as Jules Verne and George Orwell appeal to you? Here is some writing in that vein and style that will entertain you. Yes there are decided Christian overtones in the work that will challenge you, but the story itself is so well written and the theological underpinning woven into the warp and woof of the tapestry that you will not feel preached at. You will enjoy the tale on it's own merits.

As to the components of the trilogy you will find that Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are similar in character. Ransom (think there may be an allegorical message there?) is interesting in his role as a Philologist. This was probably a tribute to Tolkien the philologist who remained Lewis' friend, colleague and a member of the literary circle, The Inkling's who read and critiqued each other's work.

That Hideous Strength switches gears a little bit which probably reflects Lewis' growing relationship with George MacDonald, also of the Inklings. The final book is a little darker and more Orwellian but still a very good and thought provoking read.

In short there is something for most people here. You do not have to be a Christian or even sympathetic to Christianity to read and appreciate these books. They stand on their own as classic, strong literature written by a master craftsman. If you are attracted to Lewis for his past works and want your literature to have redemptive value to it, then you are in the right neighborhood for that as well.

Of all of Lewis' works these are probably the least known. They are worth the read!
Profile Image for Dean.
441 reviews120 followers
May 20, 2018
What a festival of shapes, colors, alien and strange beings doing awesome deeds in odd and remote worlds….

The Space Trilogy is at the same time and adventure novel, plus a thriller saturated with fantasy and even horror elements!!

Only the legend called C. S. Lewis could be able to birth such a tale, and deliver it to the reader in this unique and magnificent literary way full of magic.

Reminiscences of The Lord of The Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia will be purposefully aroused..

And if you are fond of J. R. R. Tolkiens writings, then you will indeed enjoy this epic adventure tale by Lewis!!!

*** Out Of The Silent Planet***
Dr. Ransom a philologist is kidnapped to Mars, there he shall be sacrificed to an alien and strange deity!!!
So that the kidnappers can exploit the planet and take with them so much gold as they wish….
needless to say that the story turn quite different...

This sequel takes place in Venus.....
A strange world awaits Dr. Ransom, populated with colorful and strange beings!!!
One of the most dramatic battles recorded in the literary history awaits Dr. Ransom against the incarnated terror..

The destiny of Perelandra is at stakes!!!!

***That Hideous Strength***
My favorite one....
Let me put it this way, the Loosers club against ( Nope, no Pennywise the Clown this time) unspeakable powers of evil!!!!

Character development and the craft of story telling excel each other in Brillanz, skill and wit!!!!
Five stars --not enough in my view--

Happy reading to all of you....

Profile Image for Chad Johnston.
Author 2 books8 followers
February 11, 2010
While Dad is my family's resident sci-fi connoisseur, this year Dad and I trekked into interstellar space together, reading C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. I had reservations about reading sci-fi novels, as I thought I might end up becoming fluent in Klingon as a result. Surprisingly, the genre ended up teaching me a thing or two about theology, and even more about the mechanics of the writing craft.

Written in the 40s, Lewis' Space Trilogy has little to do with the physical world of outer space as we presently know it. His writing is clearly informed by the scientific knowledge of his day, but for the most part, the physical world(s) he writes about serve his stories, which are obviously allegorical. Suspend your disbelief, Dear Readers. Suspend it in zero gravity.

Out of the Silent Planet (***1/2), the first book in the trilogy, features Lewis finding his voice in the genre, and while his first steps are elementary enough, they are also thought-provoking and worthwhile. While the first two-thirds of the book are standard sci-fi fare, sometime during the last third, Lewis' universe assumes a theological bent that casts life on planet Earth in an entirely different light. At the time of this reading, I also listened to N.T. Wright's lectures on the Veritas Forum. Lewis and Wright pushed outward in my skull, and my inner world expanded as a result. My perception of creativity was permanently altered. People talk about the narrow-mindedness of Christians, which saddens me. The imagination of God is clearly broad enough to include, as film director Kevin Smith put it in the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie Dogma, the platypus, among other things. If Christ is truly the Son of God, Christians should be the most imaginative lot on the planet.

Lewis certainly affirms this in the 2nd book in the series, Perelandra (*****). People most often associate Lewis with the Chronicles of Narnia, or with his more overt theologically-minded works like Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters. Little did I know, upon embarking into the world of Perelandra, that I was about to read my new favorite C.S. Lewis book, a work so colorful and imaginative and theologically charged that it would win me over completely. Lewis dramatizes theology in such a beautiful way in this book, making the abstract concrete, providing us with a new perspective on the human condition through comparison with the inhabitants of another world. Among other things, he aims to imagine what it would be like if man had never fallen from grace. Lewis works out this theological puzzle with panache in this book, and with remarkably powerful results.

The third and final installment in the trilogy, That Hideous Strength (****1/2), was a more than worthy conclusion to the series. It seamlessly integrates Lewis' love of myth with his experiences in the academy, resulting in a work that is highly cerebral, complex, and surreal. Structurally, it features Lewis at his most ambitious. He adeptly juggles parallel narratives, populates his world with a whole world of memorable characters, and finally interweaves elements of the first two books even as this book feels distinctly unlike them. Honestly, it is difficult for me to decide whether I like this or Perelandra better, but I think I like Perelandra better from a conceptual standpoint. They both stand tall in Lewis' oeuvre.

After reading these three books from January to March, I found myself appreciating sci-fi as a genre in a way I never had before. I cut my teeth on the Star Wars trilogy and grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my Dad, but I only saw them as stories set in space rather than intergalactic parables that had the ability to speak about life here on Earth. Not all works of science-fiction function this way, but Lewis' Space Trilogy certain does. Lewis travels into the black abyss of outer space only to turn his telescope back on us so we can see ourselves from a God's-eye view.
Profile Image for Justin Wiggins.
Author 23 books129 followers
February 1, 2022
It has been a great joy to re-read C.S.Lewis's cosmic trilogy again!
I found this version of the trilogy at a favorite used bookstore here in Asheville, North Carolina for quite cheap, which was incredibly exciting.
Out of The Silent Planet is such a fun adventure story of Ransom going to Mars and encountering the angelic Eldils and Oyarsa, the godlike ruler of Mars; Lewis's prose in Perelandra is just amazing, and I really like the Arthurian Legend influence on That Hideous Strength that Lewis's friend and fellow Inkling Charles Williams had an influence on the writing of.
Profile Image for A.K. Frailey.
Author 24 books71 followers
March 20, 2023
A truly original view of the universe and life on earth. I enjoyed the last book best because it tied so many points together and knit angelic/alien beings with demonic/alien beings. A very interesting thought process that I will continue to ponder for years to come. Authentic characters brought the story to life.
Profile Image for Vicky Hunt.
855 reviews58 followers
February 6, 2022
Taking the First Omnibus to Earth, Via Mars and Venus

The journeys by backyard rocket, coffin, and... erm... coffin, found in C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy is a dystopian space travel Fantasy/ Sci-fi classic all wrapped in one hardback omnibus edition. At first glance, it may look to the casual reader as if the monstrosity of the third book, called That Hideous Strength was wrestled by force and thrown tied into the collection with the other two otherworldly books. But, it becomes clear right away the last sequel came along for the ride willingly and the earlier two books are more like merely preludes setting the scene.

Lewis sets book one: Out of the Silent Planet on Mars, where we meet aliens who are all ruled very well by the chief angelic being of their planet. In this book we learn the structure of this arrangement, of each planet having their own Eldila (angel-like beings.) We learn also that one planet has gone silent to the rest of the Eldila since the chief being of Earth has been confined to the planet because of rebellion. With beautiful fantasy elements, the book gives glimpses of an early 20th Century (pre-space-flight) view of life on other planets. To me, that's a beautiful thing. In an age where man had no interplanetary glimpses of the barren worlds in our system, imagination ran wild.

Book two was set on Venus, called Perelandra, and presents the view of a would-be Eve of the planet, the first woman of Venus who lives alone with the King of the world on the oceans. Dr. Ransom, the main character of all three books, is transported there to try to stop the woman of Venus from giving into the temptation that would lead to the fall on her planet. It is a lovely mermaid-like tale with vivid mental images of a colorful sea world and epic one-on-one combat.

But, the space travel ends there. Book three, That Hideous Strength, brings the action to Earth, set in a rural English College town. Here the forces of Good and Evil prepare for a showdown by recruiting participants to both sides. Lewis considered it a fairytale for adults, and it is certainly not for children. It is full of realistic social climbing and power struggles, and ends with quite a showy finale.

But, Lewis brings in some rather fantastical elements, including Merlin of Arthurian legends. This creates an even more comical parody effect, as the book is every bit a book filled with symbols. The bit about Arthur reminded me of the humorous scene in Shakespeare's King Henry when Falstaff dies, and the tavern lady says that he's 'gone to Arthur's Bosom.' You can see the image Shakespeare was trying to paint of a lower class who often blurred the lines between legends and Bible stories. The lady mixed up her concept of the patriarch Abraham with that of King Arthur. Here in the final book of the trilogy it reminds the reader of how Christians often combine elements from different sources into their moral or religious beliefs, creating a 'Stone Soup' of beliefs. If you're having a good laugh at the ol' Brits for making a Christ figure of Merlin, notice that Lewis' contemporaries didn't seem too much offended. He had a lot of good reviews in his day, even though one of the characters was specifically mocking H. G. Wells' dreams of a Brave New World without Christianity.

I read this set along with the audio editions that are free for members on Audible. The narration was excellent quality and a delight to read along with. I find myself loving this omnibus hardback edition as well, even though the binding seems quite flimsy. I thought it might break in actual use, but it has held together just fine. And the text is a good size. I had read the first book about five years ago, but the rest was all new. I really enjoyed reading all three back to back like this in my "Loving Lewis" February Valentine book selection. I hope you find an author you enjoy this month and browse some of their better works. Following are a few quotes from the trilogy.

"The swiftest thing that touches our senses is light. We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by it, so that for us light is on the edge —the last thing we know before things become too swift for us."

"It seems to me , Thick One, that what you really love is no completed creature but the very seed itself: for that is all that is left."

"When the Bible used that very expression about fighting with principalities and powers and depraved hypersomatic beings at Great heights (our translation is very misleading at that point, by the way) it meant that quite ordinary people were to do the fighting."

"A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged."

"I suppose everyone knows this fear of getting 'drawn in' the moment at which a man realizes that what had seemed mere speculations are on the point of landing him in the Communist Party or the Christian church— the sense that a door has just slammed and left him on the inside."

"... ready, if ever the power is put into its hands, to open a new chapter of misery for the universe. It is the idea that humanity, having now sufficiently corrupted the planet where it arose, must at all costs contrive to seed itself over a larger area : that the vast astronomical distances which are God's quarantine regulations, must somehow be overcome."

"Though he was theoretically a materialist, he had all his life believed quite inconsistently, and even carelessly, in the freedom of his own will."

"The man who had been dug up out of the earth and the man who had been in outer space."

"For the Hideous Strength confronts us, and it is as in the days when Nimrod built a tower to reach heaven."

Profile Image for Skrivena stranica.
392 reviews70 followers
September 5, 2021
This last part of the three was quite a let down. First two were more of a fantasy, even though the plot was in space, than a SF, but the last part went more into distopian genre and I really didn't like it much. Yeah, it is happening on Earth, but it all moved away from the past two books and this Merlin stuff actually annoyed me. England being somehow special didn't make me very happy with the whole book either. Only in this book could I see where all those criticism of Lewis came from, and I must say that in this book I quite agree with them. I still don't believe we should search in minor things of other books the "problems" that we find in this one. I hate that word "problems" because it usually just indicates something a person using it doesn't like and not real problem with the book. In the book all those "problems" actually work, but I don't like it in relation with past two books in the series nor do I actually like this book. If I was rating these books one by one, my rating would be 4-4-2. And that 2 would be generous because I didn't like the last book. Ransom was also brought to some high level in this book which also annoyed me. He was a normal human being in the last two who went through cleansing of his own, but here he was saintly figure throwing wisdom left and right. And also, the bad side was on the verge of worst caricature. In the first two books, I could see why evil side could be seductive and in that way hide behind goodness and how it actually managed to trick anyone. Here, in this book, evil side was pure evil but it was almost laughable how stupid Mark had to be to agree to their idiotic and crazy plans. Like, Lewis, you could do without this last book from the three.

And I still don't understand why Tolkien hated Narnia so much which was way better and loved this series. Like, really, Tolkien?
Profile Image for friend of aslan.
278 reviews
Want to read
September 29, 2021
For some reason my dad made me read the first two books when I was 12... he must have severely overestimated my intellect at that age because I was so bored with the story and I’m sure most of it went right over my head.

This is nothing like your typical sci-fi story, and Lewis never meant it to be. It has some really interesting topics.

Now that I’m older, I feel like I’ll enjoy it a lot more (for its themes and philosophy). I definitely want to read it before I start college 😊

(What was my dad thinking??!????)
Profile Image for David Haines.
Author 10 books87 followers
March 31, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 3 volumes of the Space Trilogy. There is no way I can even begin to describe all that happens in a brief review. Suffice it to say that Lewis makes us dream of and desire to be in the very world that that he describes, in which men go to the planets (and meet extraterrestrial life such as we cannot imagine), and in which the planets also come to men; and yet, one gets the eery feeling that, somehow, we are already living in such a world.
Profile Image for Q.
233 reviews4 followers
May 4, 2009
This trilogy is definitely something different from the most SF books I've read. I was 17 when I read it and it was the first time religious content in book was so overwhelming that I couldn't help but notice it. To the day my impression of it could be described as "pearly-pink bubblegum in the sunset": pretty, soft-looking but loses the taste fast and becomes sticky and annoying.
Profile Image for K..
887 reviews112 followers
February 3, 2022
Reading with new bookgroup Nov 2015.

Because of time, skipped #1, went straight to #2. Perelandra. Can be read and enjoyed as sci--fi even though one may get lost at the end. OR can be read seriously as theological discussion of an alternate Adam/Eve story on another world, even though one may get lost at the end nonetheless.

Really, although I'd like to review this very much, it would take too much time. I should write myself a paper on it, just for fun. Ha! Not sure where time for that would come from. But it's really that there's just too much to think about or write about.

Some thoughts:

1. I just don't know how people imagine such things (like Lewis imagines the environs and populace of Venus), but I'm glad they do.

2. Theologically, so much to chew on. So much to wonder.

3. Finding lots of help understanding this series more fully by reading "Planets in Peril" by David Downing. It's pretty great.

4. Just love Lewis. His sense of humor, even when his intellect soars acres above me, still tickles me.

Read with bookgroup Jan 2011.
Profile Image for Paul Mitchell.
34 reviews4 followers
April 29, 2012
For a long time, I counted That Hideous Strength as one of my favorite books, and it very well fictionalizes that scientism vs. Faith debate that Lewis found himself in quite often (see The God Question pitting Freud vs. Lewis). Out of the Silent Planet, though, is a classic all its own displaying the utter silliness of the vanities of humankind when the protagonist (a philologist - be still my heart) has to explain the intent of other human "invaders" to conquer the planet and the species inhabiting it. Perelandra is much more theological, but the question, "does God try the Adam and Eve experiment on another planet to start over? Is that possible?" is poised beautifully here. What you do run into, quite often, is Lewis' inherent misogyny, and subsequent re-reads turned me off to many of the elements of the books themselves (when Dr. Ransom laughs in the face of the female protagonist for daring to assume the sexes are "equal," for instance). So, I can't rate it any higher.
Profile Image for Bianca.
285 reviews
January 16, 2018
It took me a while to read these. Do you ever have "back burner" books that you read when you're not reading anything else?

I am not surprised that Perelandra is Kathy Keller's desert island book. If you could only choose one book to have with you on your lone island, Perelandra would give you enough brain-stretching content to last a lifetime. It is C. S. Lewis's retelling of Eve's temptation on a different planet and as a reader you wonder, "Will this end differently?" Will she capitulate as on earth? How will she escape Satan's relentless and sly temptation? This was the most fascinating part. Satan's temptation was not a one-time confrontation. He keeps coming with different arguments wearing the Eve character down.

Each book starts off slow and takes a while to get rolling, but they are completely worth your time.
27 reviews
February 25, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books. Book One contains more sci-fi adventure than religion, but it illustrates the danger of ignoring inspiration in a way that has stayed with me for years.

The second book asks interesting questions about the Fall and the role of the Savior. I don't agree with all the theology in it, but it gave me a lot to think about. I still think of Ransom in the bubble trees when I'm tempted to eat an extra cookie.

The third book was thought-provoking as well, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. Its satirical tone and mundane setting made it very different from its predecessors, and in my humble opinion that wasn't an improvement. That said, my husband actually liked the third one best. To each their own.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,851 followers
September 25, 2009
Fantastic read. This edition includes the entire Space Trilogy. I think that even though this is an older book you'll find it strangly applicable.

Example: In That Hideous Strength the "evil group" threating the world is identified by the acronym "NICE". That's also the real acronym used for the real group in England to decide wh gets what medical treatment. And Lewis wrote this 1945.....
Profile Image for Charlene.
157 reviews3 followers
January 11, 2020
This is the second time I've read this trilogy in the past 25 years. It was good the first time, even better this time.
3 reviews
December 12, 2020
Some of the most valuable fiction I've read. I believe one of the most powerful elements is how the books dare the reader to imagine, that is to stop buying to the cheap answers that have been given to us since we were young and really think about reality. He does not demonstrate how to reason about reality (as we western thinkers so often do) but how to imagine reality. I love this trilogy because I have found a much truer world in our own than I ever thought. I have found that reading these books has changed not my opinions about reality, but has changed how I approach finding reality. In a nutshell, I think this trilogy has de-modernized much of my thought.
Profile Image for Sarah Rodgers.
Author 1 book5 followers
December 30, 2010
These books remain some of the greatest science fiction ever written. I cannot recommend them enough. They changed the way that I read books! The subtle details, the depth of the characters, the astonishing metaphors. It's like seeing yourself illustrated on another planet. C.S. Lewis is a genius with all of his writing, and this is some of his best.
A lot of people I know who like the trilogy really had trouble getting into the third one, That Hideous Strength, and couldn't see how it fit in with the other two. Some have gone so far as to say that it doesn't belong in the trilogy. I think they are absolutely wrong. I love the way that Lewis uses it to tie our planet and our "modern day" society ("sometime after the War" is all he gives as a time period) into the vast scheme of the cosmos. Our story matters, because we're part of a greater one. And (spoiler alert!) Merlin belongs in this book and in this trilogy, as does any other cultural story that doesn't go away and yet cannot be explained.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jake Leech.
163 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2015
So this would generally be a three or four star review. C. S. Lewis is writing fairly OK science-fiction-ish stuff, but it's all got this Catholic angle to it, which is kinda hokey if you think that thing is kinda hokey, and the plots aren't all that great, and there are some kinda dumb bits (the bad guys in That Hideous Strength are called "N.I.C.E."). So yeah, nothing out of the ordinairy. The reason I gave it five stars is for the confrontation between Ransom and Weston in Perelandra. Absolutely awesome. Lewis gives us a sophisticated view of evil (at least, compared to my thoughts on stuff), and a long, well-written, and extremely compelling conflict between these two guys, and it absolutely wowed me.

Sure, if you don't want to read anything too religious, this would be a terrible pick for you. Lewis is trying to make a sale here. But it's worth reading the boring bits just for Ransom vs. Weston.
Profile Image for Vhernalyn.
24 reviews17 followers
February 12, 2009
I borrowed these books from a friend in church and I loved the triology. It follows around the scientist, Ransom, who first finds himself kidnapped and taken to the planet Malacandra. He interacts with the beings there who are very far from human beings. This whole triology portrays how "the Devil" influenced people from planet to planet to bring about damnation and the only planet that will fall is Earth. On the second book, Ransom goes to Perelandra to save that planet from tempatation and it becomes the place Earth should've been. Each planet started out with its own Adam and Eve and, according to the Bible, our world is the one that let sin in and the third and last book portrays Earth and all its evil and its good. C.S. Lewis is a great Christian writer though his books don't have to be read with Christianity in mind. I recommend this to any science fiction lovers out there.
Profile Image for Volbet .
250 reviews7 followers
July 30, 2023
As with everything that C.S. Lewis wrote, be it fiction or non fiction, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength al come back to one main theme, Jesus.

But while the overarching themes of all three stories is the same, I stil think that it makes sense to write about the stories individually.

Out of the Silent Planet
This is a really old school sci-fi story, where a sense of wonder of the cosmos is mixed with an equal lacking understanding of science Not to say that Lewis is necessarily lacking in knowledge of science, but the understanding of rocketry and atmospheres on other planet was not entirely up to snuff at the time the story was written.

But aside from that, it's a really well paced story, where you'll be living with alien life on an imaginative world not 0 pages into the story. And that's a huge positive to me, as a lot of sci-fi seem to meander before getting to the action.

Although, in true the true spirit of Lewis, it's all for naught when the story ends, as it becomes more and more obvious that Lewis don't trust the reader to actually get the Christian allegories he has thrown into the story. Like, the story starts off with a pretty clever and subtle reference to John 1:1, but by the end Lewis sees fit to tell us how the cosmology he's build throughout the book is actually the Christian cosmology but with other names.
I've always subscribed to the idea that, if people don't get your allegory or reference, you should pick a different way to inject it into the story. Explaining an allegory is like dissecting a frog, the more you dissect it the more it die.

This really is a nothing-story. I don't know what drove Lewis to write this out as a story rather than let this be a chapter or section of Mere Christianity, which was taking shape at the time Lewis wrote Perelandra.
I say this because nothing in this story can be separated from Lewis' theology, and nothing in the story is of any consequence to the theme. There is no story with the Divine in this. The story might be set on Venus, but it could be set in Essex without it changing the story one bit. And not only that, the issue with the previous book, where Lewis sees the need to explain any and all references to the Bible in the story.

And while I guess the main difference between Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet is that this book focus on the Old Testament, and especially Genesis, while the former was about the New Testament, that doesn't change that Lewis feel the need to look out at the literary camera and whisper "get it?" And when the allegories are as obvious as it is in this book, that sort of explanation seem quite patronizing.

That Hideous Strength
Before I got about 2/3 of the way through this boo, I was really confused to why this was a part of the Space Trilogy. It's only towards the end it's disclosed that some of the character are the same as in previous books, although with their names changed, and that the cosmological framework is the same.

I will say that Lewis' scope for this story is much larger than previous books, as what he has written is a much more political tale than both of the previous books. The story is still very much about Christianity, but it's much less about theology itself and much more about being a tale of apologetics for the Christian religion. The two first books told why, on a spiritual level, that Christianity is important, and That Hideous Strength is about why Christianity is important on a political level.

On the basis, this is a dystopian novel, as was the fashion of the 40's in Britain, it seems, where a band of moral people have to do battle with a large, conquering and totalitarian force.

For a lack of a better comparison, this book actually mostly reminds me of the philosophical writing of Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, where the totalitarian force that's destroying humanity is ultimately a product of reason and the use of instrumental reason to structure man's political life. But where Adorno and Horkheimer saw the solution to be a reevaluation of reason itself, Lewis sees that the solution lies in a return to Christian and traditional values.
As such, Lewis has written a very conservative dystopian novel, where the totalitarian shift is due solely to societal progress, and the solution to reinstating individual freedom is to return to the old ways. In that way Lewis' novel is more akin to the dystopian media that would come out of North America in the 70's and 80's, than it is to Lewis' own contemporaries.
Profile Image for Dan Mayhew.
39 reviews2 followers
March 30, 2018
I went years without reading Lewis' celebrated sci-fi trilogy. Of the three I remember Perelandra most vividly, although with a little effort all three come back to me. That Hideous Strength was different from the others in that it seemed a cautionary tale about the direction our cultural trajectory is taking. All-in-all I felt the three novels deserved their place in classic sci-fi and Christian lit.
Profile Image for Matthew Sampson.
125 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2018
Out of the Silent Planet: 5 stars

New favourite book. The story follows a simple plot but is rich in philosophical questions and spiritual truths. I wish to remain on Malacandra, and this, I believe, was part of Lewis's hopes for this story: that we would see the beauty of Heaven in the beauty of this alien world.
Profile Image for Nelleke Plouffe.
251 reviews11 followers
September 30, 2018
I really enjoyed the first two books, but then got totally bogged down in the third. It took me about a year and a half to get through it. I know it’s because I didn’t really “get it”, but I enjoyed reading it so little that I don’t think I will put more effort into it. Four and a half stars for the first two, two stars for the third.
Profile Image for Renee.
309 reviews48 followers
August 8, 2020
I think Out of the silent Planet was the best of the three. Honestly I lost interest midway the second book and drag myself to finish it because it was interesting enough to finish but not enough to pull me away from other books or duties of life if that make sense .

Maybe the trilogy is better enjoyed reading one book at the time and leave plenty of time between the reading of each book ?
Profile Image for Ciara Anderson.
25 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2017
Wonderful, one of the few sources that has started to convince me of the my need to read more sci-fi ;) Grand themes explored in fun, inventive ways.
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