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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This is the first book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. These books are far less known than Lewis's Narnia series or even his Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters, yet it is just as good as any of those writings and goes to show the versatility of Lewis as an author.

This first book begins with our hero, Dr. Ransom, out for a walking tour in the...
Published on Sept. 11 2006 by Steven R. McEvoy

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good underlying themes on life, bad storyline
I admire C.S. Lewis for his writings on Christianity, but anyone trying to writing Christian sci-fi novels is stretching the line of interest (or at least mine). The plotline is horrible. Thank goodness this was a short book. I would have quit at about Chapter 7 if I wouldn't have had tests on it. No offense Clive but this is definitely not your best work. I am also not...
Published on Nov. 24 2001 by Bc


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Sept. 11 2006
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Out Of The Silent Planet (Paperback)
This is the first book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. These books are far less known than Lewis's Narnia series or even his Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters, yet it is just as good as any of those writings and goes to show the versatility of Lewis as an author.

This first book begins with our hero, Dr. Ransom, out for a walking tour in the countryside, dressed in that shabby way for which professors are renowned. His foes are his former schoolmates Devine and Weston. These men believe they need a human sacrifice, and by capturing Ransom they have their victim, for they have made a spaceship and are taking Ransom to Malacandra the red planet.

Once on Mars, Ransom escapes his captors, meets many species, and finds out that on Mars there has been no "fall" and Ransom from Earth or the Silent Planet is a bit of an oddity. People from earth are considered to be "bent" in nature, from the original sin of the fall.

Follow Ransom as he treks across a strange world, and must find the courage to risk it all to save not only an alien race, but also, possibly his own soul.

This is a first book in an amazing series. Try it - you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series, Sept. 11 2006
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis

This is the first book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. These books are far less known than Lewis's Narnia series or even his Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters, yet it is just as good as any of those writings and goes to show the versatility of Lewis as an author.

This first book begins with our hero, Dr. Ransom, out for a walking tour in the countryside, dressed in that shabby way for which professors are renowned. His foes are his former schoolmates Devine and Weston. These men believe they need a human sacrifice, and by capturing Ransom they have their victim, for they have made a spaceship and are taking Ransom to Malacandra the red planet.

Once on Mars, Ransom escapes his captors, meets many species, and finds out that on Mars there has been no "fall" and Ransom from Earth or the Silent Planet is a bit of an oddity. People from earth are considered to be "bent" in nature, from the original sin of the fall.

Follow Ransom as he treks across a strange world, and must find the courage to risk it all to save not only an alien race, but also, possibly his own soul.

This is a first book in an amazing series. Try it - you won't be disappointed.

Perelandra
C.S. Lewis

This is the second book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. This book was written as a sequel to the immensely popular Out of the Silent Planet but Lewis also wrote it so that the story can stand on its own. So if you haven't read the first you can start here.

This book takes place some time after the first, but we are not sure how long. Ransom has received a summons to Venus, a planet that is just beginning its inhabited life. This planet's 'Adam' and 'Eve' are on the planet and they must choose to obey God or to reject his law and face a "fall" as has happened on earth.

Ransom must face his old foe Weston, and try to save a planet from great evil. Can he navigate this watery planet; can he negotiate the intricacies of human weakness, temptation and corruption? Can he conquer himself and help others to learn obedience?

This is a great creation story. Try it - you won't be disappointed.

That Hideous Strength
C.S. Lewis

This is the third and final book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. This book was written as a sequel to the immensely popular Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra but Lewis also wrote it so that the story can stand on its own. So if you haven't read the first, you can start here.

That Hideous Strength, unlike the first 2 books in this series, where Ransom leaves earth and fights evil in space and on other planets, the battle in this book takes place on earth.

Ransom must lead a group of faithful believers against National Institute for Coordinated Experiments or N.I.C.E., an organization that believes that Science can solve all of humanity's problems. He must battle the people in this organization, super aliens trying to invade and control earth and use its population against other planets and against God.

On top of all of that, Merlin has arisen from his long sleep and has arisen in England's time of greatest need. But the question is, who will find him first - N.I.C.E. or Ransom and his team? The fate of the world, and possibly the universe, rests on this question.

Lewis called this story an adult's fairy-tale. It is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and a book that will keep your attention as you raptly turn the pages to find out where Lewis will lead you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good underlying themes on life, bad storyline, Nov. 24 2001
I admire C.S. Lewis for his writings on Christianity, but anyone trying to writing Christian sci-fi novels is stretching the line of interest (or at least mine). The plotline is horrible. Thank goodness this was a short book. I would have quit at about Chapter 7 if I wouldn't have had tests on it. No offense Clive but this is definitely not your best work. I am also not enthralled that I will have to read the other 2 books of the trilogy. If you're looking for a good one of Lewis' works, read "Screwtape Letters" or "Mere Christianity."
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3.0 out of 5 stars On its own, the book's about a 3, but the trilogy together is really really good., June 27 2015
By 
SharaLee Podolecki (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Out Of The Silent Planet (Paperback)
There are a lot of people who are either on one side of the spectrum or the other when it comes to this book, with not a lot of middle ground to spare. Some people love it because they love both science fiction and C.S. Lewis. Some people despise it because they feel his apologetics in this book are a tad lacking (especially compared to his non-fiction apologetics like Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain) or that his prose and character development are a bit flat. I actually agree with both sides, and find it very difficult to say I do or do not like this book.
While I am not completely one way or the other when it comes to this book, I have actually read the entire trilogy, and compared to the other two (Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), this one is at the bottom of the list in clarity, elegance, function, and in just plain storytelling. Lewis’ description is eloquent, and the introduction of other races is mildly interesting, but I felt as if I were reading an essay, or perhaps an article form of a rough draft idea for a sci-fi novel instead of that tying together of story and philosophy and theology that I so enjoy about everything else Lewis has written.

In this first volume of the trilogy, Ransom makes his way from Earth to Mars (or Malacandra) as a sort of crash-test dummy after he is captured on a walk by an old academic rival (Weston). They both end up on Malacandra together and we get to experience the consequences of men who choose to exploit and conquer versus those who choose to learn and love. We learn about Oyarsa (a Christ-like figure who, according to this trilogy, is in all worlds, but in different forms), and we learn that Oyarsa has a plan for Ransom’s future, even after he returns to Earth (or what the Malacandrans call Thulcandra) – enter the second book, Perelandra, which will be discussed in a future post.

The story stands on its own, which is very important in a series or a trilogy, but when all three books are read, the encompassing story arc tells us of our past, our present (or Lewis’ present, anyway – the second World War was on while he wrote most of these) and our future, not only here in the corporeal realm, or even in our own atmosphere, but in the spiritual realms and in all other realms as well. As a book, I give this volume 3 stars out of 5, but I have a much higher opinion of the trilogy as a whole. I would recommend familiarizing oneself with the Bible or some sort of basic level of Christian theology and end-of-days prophecy (especially closer to the end of the trilogy) as you read this, so you can really grasp the full extent of the allegory here, but the books as a set are also worth the read. Perhaps start with borrowing these from the library before you spend money on them, though. They’re not for everyone, though for those who enjoy them, they are certainly worth every penny and more.

Have you read anything by C.S. Lewis? What did you think of it? Happy reading, and be wary of trespassing on mad scientist academic rivals! (The consequences could be out of this world! ;) )
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and timely commentary on imperialism, May 31 2015
This review is from: Out Of The Silent Planet (Paperback)
CS Lewis is most famous for his Narnia series and Mere Christianity, but also has a fairly well-regarded trilogy of science fiction books. Out of the Silent Planet, published in 1938, is the first of these novels.

While on holiday alone in the English countryside, Dr. Ransom is drugged and kidnapped by a pair of scientists (Weston and Devine) and wakes up to find himself aboard a spaceship. After a long journey, Ransom et al land on Malacandra (fairly evidently Mars) and encounter some Martian beings known as Sorns. Weston and Devine, having made the journey and met the Sorns before, attempt to offer Ransom as a gift to the Sorns. Having read his H G Wells, Ransom is convinced the Sorns plan to eat him, and makes an escape into the Martian forests. In his flight, Ransom stumbles across another race of Martian beings—the tall, otter-like Hross—who take him into their tribe and soon teach him their language and culture. He also learns more about the Sorns, who are peaceful after all, and live amicably beside the other Martian races. Eventually, Weston and Devine track down Ransom, and (it's not quite clear why at this point) try to recapture him. They are thwarted by the Martians, though, who send the three humans back to Earth, with Ransom under the protection of some mystical Martian energy being.

Clearly, the overall plot doesn't say a lot about what C S Lewis is actually trying to achieve. It *is* an homage to Wellsian adventures, but is a fairly basic adventure story at that. The climax, however, in which Weston and Devine are at the mercy of the Martians, spells out Lewis' key point: that much of human misery comes from our imperialistic tendencies, and that this misery would be abated if we learned to live harmoniously with other nations as do the various races of Martians. Faced with exile, Weston vows that if he can't conquer the soft-hearted Martians, other humans soon will, because humans are naturally superior beings that are destined to rule. Publishing in 1938, it is all too clear who Lewis is criticizing.

By extension, I've heard that Lewis also uses this book to criticize humanism, but I think that's inaccurate, even given Lewis' strong Christian beliefs. More accurately, I would say he criticizes human chauvinism, if there is such a term, and advocates more concern for the other species of the earth.

There are two sequels to Out of the Silent Planet. Apparently they involve some heavy allegories to the fall of Satan mixed in with Aristotelian astronomy, which could either be pretty interesting or completely off the rails. With that said, I'll likely avoid the sequels unless I hear any better endorsements, and give Out of the Silent Planet itself three stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Only real science fiction novel Lewis wrote, great but too short, October 17, 2007, Sept. 1 2012
By 
Mike London "MAC" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Out Of The Silent Planet (Paperback)
OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, published in 1938 on recommendation of J. R. R. Tolkien, is the first novel of what has become known as the Space Trilogy, or Cosmic Trilogy, or the Ransom trilogy. OSP will be the most satisfactory for those looking for straight science fiction.

There are three primary influences that caused Lewis to write OSP. The first is David Lindsay's VOYAGE TO ARCTURAS (a novel that famed literary critic Harold Bloom wrote a sequel too, called THE FLIGHT TO LUCIFER. This is Bloom's only published fiction, and he has longed disowned the novel). It was ARCTURAS that showed you could deal with high philosophical and theological matters in the guise of science fiction.

The second influence was the well-known conversation between Tolkien and Lewis in 1937 in which they lamented the state of current fiction and set out to write their own to help correct the matter. Tolkien was to write a time-travel story (his novel was abandoned and unfinished, published in HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH VOL 5, THE LOST ROAD AND OTHER WRITINGS). And Lewis wrote a space-travel story (this novel), the only real science fiction novel he ever wrote..

The third major influence is H. G. Wells. Lewis says in an intro note before the novel that even though there are certain slighting remarks about Wells in the novel, he hopes people don't think him too stupid to enjoy Wells. And it is obvious from reading OSP Lewis is very much a fan of Well's science fiction (though not necessarily the social critic Wells tried to reinvent himself as), as a lot of the novel reads like something a Wells fan would write.

While the series has overall been labeled as science fiction, this is rather a misnomer. OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET is really the only true science fiction in the trilogy. PERELANDRA is a religious track, and THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH is the hardest to classify of the three. You either love or hate it. Lewis called THS a fairy tale for adults, which is fine. But as this is a review of the first, lets keep to the first.

The best thing about this book is its interplanetary romance and its Christianity. You get to go see another world. Granted, the world Lewis describes is not the real Mars, but I have never held that against this book (some pervious reviewers have cited this as a fault). This is, after all, fiction, and does not need to be held in the confines of the real world. That is why I never understood people complaining of the science in this one. Still, there are some rather jarring slips, such as Ransom confusing the moon and the earth for one another, something that would never happen.

Elwin Ransom is kidnapped and taken onboard a spaceship to Mars. The novel opens with him on a walking holiday (something Lewis himself was rather famous for taking - Tolkien went on one of his hiking trips and soon found himself rather out of sorts with his body, and struck to shorter jaunts around Oxford with his dear friend). Ransom chances upon two men in an old house, one of which he knows. This is Dick Devine and Proffessor Weston. Originally they were going to kidnap a mentally challenged boy, but on second thought decide to take Ransom instead, to appease an alien species named the sorns in order to get more of the metal the sorn's call "sun's blood" (really gold). So they capture Ransom and travel to Mars in a spaceship of Weston's design.

Though he fears what he may find there, when Ransom lands he runs away from his kidnappers and ultimately finds himself in company with another alien species. Malacandra (so called there) is a wonderful place, with three distinct species called hnau (the Hrossa, the pfifletriggi, and the sorns). He spends most of his time with the Hrossa. Over the course of the novel, he is introduced to all three alien species, though he spends very little time with the pfifletriggi. All three are vastly different, but all are important to the Martian society. Though he begins in fear of the sorns, ultimately they prove to be powerful allies.

There are also other inhabitants in Mars as well. Ransom also learns of Eldils (angels), and also about the Oyarsa, which is the ruler of Mars, and is an archangel. The climax of the novel features Ransom meeting the Oyarsa, and it is the Oyarsa who meters out justice to Weston and Devine.

Lewis touches upon several major themes in this introductory novel. Being the Christian that he is, Lewis models the story's cosmology off of Christian theology. In fact, of the initial 60 reviews that OSP garnered when it was first published, only a handful picked up on the heavy Christian undercurrents running throughout the novel. Lewis realised you can smuggle any amount of idealogy under the guise of romance.

The other major theme he touches upon is Weston's desire to colonize other planets. To Weston, humanity's survival is the most important thing, and will exterminate other lifeforms to take over their planet. Weston's position of racial geonicide is drawn from Olaf Stapledon's FIRST AND LAST MEN, a novel in which men do kill other species to take over their planet, and Stapledon's obvious endorsement of this racial murder. Lewis was horrified when he read this novel, and so crafted OSP as a response to this novel.

The first book, OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, is the most SF of the three, and also the least satisfactory. The story is excellent, with Lewis using medieval influences to develop a Christian world view in a science fiction setting. Tolkien said in one of his letters (its in LETTERS OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN, one of the early ones), it is simply not long enough. It is a nice story of Ransom being kidnaped and then dealing with the Martian landscape. Yes, some of the science is dated but Lewis is more concerned with other themes to worry about "scientific credibility." Although some have said the characterization is flat, for those thirsty for SF this is the best of the three.

In several ways, OSP is a particular favorite yet also the most disappointing of the trilogy. Like Tolkien said, it's simply too short. Imaginatively, there are great scenes in the novel, any science fiction lover will find the novel richly rewarding. But as it's the only real science fiction Lewis wrote, I would like to see him have written a much longer novel.

Still, a great start for C. S. Lewis, the novelist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, May 28 2002
By 
A. Miller (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If one is likely to read and love C.S.Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, one cannot help but be equally satisfied, and in some ways more, with this book and the other two in the Space Trilogy (Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength). This book is told about a Dr. Ransom who is taken captive by two aquaintances (Weston and Divine)on Earth and flown by spaceship to Malacandra. It is here where Ransom flees with fear of what may happen to him in his captive's hands and their motives. Along the way he meets the most intreaging of creatures on the planet who will both pull you in and take you away. Wonderfully described and portrayed, C.S.Lewis gives the reader a gift of traveling to a new world full of seroni, hrossa, etc. Allowing for readers with an open mind, to learn and ponder new thoughts and ideas. Ransom through his stay on the planet, learns to face his fears and become a better human being while respecting the differences in others who are unlike himself. The characters and story are unforgetable. I highly recomend this book, and I can assure you will not be hesitant to pick up the second when through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Theology... in the world beyond!, April 13 2002
This is the great lay-theologian's foray into sci-fi, first published in 1938. I mention that date, because this book does not resemble much current "science fiction." It's definitely fiction... but not very scientific. For instance, Lewis avoids explaining any technical problems in how these characters actually leave Earth's atmosphere (or return). What is the source of propulsion? Nowadays, a 7-year-old reader would get bogged down in the first few pages, realizing that everyone would be burnt to a crisp in the homemade space-contraption Lewis blithely hurtles them off in.
That being said... the book is still a gem.
It begins with Dr. Elwin Ransom (a middle-aged Philologist from Cambridge University) being kidnapped by two men, Dick Devine and Dr. Weston, the latter being a mad physicist who wants to extend humanity to other planets. At first, Ransom is excited with this journey to Malacandra (Mars)... until he overhears that he is going to be offered as a sacrifice to the space-creatures called "sorns." Devine and Weston have been to Malacandra before, and have convinced themselves that a human sacrifice is recquired by the sorns, in return for the right to exploit the planet's gold deposits.
Upon arrival, Ransom escapes... beginning a conflict that lasts the length of the book and extends to its sequel "Perelandra."
In this colorful novel, Lewis explores many DEEP themes... the primary one being that, if there is life on another planet, there is no need for us to assume that it is in a "fallen" state, or filled with wickedness, or in need of redemption, as our own is. If we reached other planets we might find a race which was, like us, rational but, unlike us, innocent - having no wars nor any other wickedness among them. If this were so, we would have much to learn from such creatures, and have nothing to teach them. But, because of our own "bentness" we would probably find some reason for exterminating them.
This is what happens here in Out Of The Silent Planet.
Lewis was inspired to write this book after finding that many of his own students held to beliefs in interplanetary colonization and the scientific hope of defeating physical death. Out Of The Silent Planet is an attack on the belief that the supreme moral end of mankind is the perpetuation of our own species. The book is so rich in invention, so broad in scope, so sensuously perceptive in descriptive detail that, after reading it, it's difficult to view the Cosmos through any but Lewis' eyes. Seriously, after my first reading, I walked outside and looked up into the night sky and wondered... "What if?"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pale jewel of thought, Jan. 28 2002
Its an allegory with a smidgen of sci-fi ("speculative" fiction), but Out of the Silent Planet is surprisingly a deftly written and enjoyable tale. Though it may be a Christian discourse, I found the themes of the "bentness" of human nature and the propensity for xenophobia to be more philosophical.
Some people may like to point out the implausibility of three intelligent co-existing species on one planet, or the flimsy science, but this book is so much more than mere cold hard science & logic, as was displayed through the character of Weston. The calculating physicist defends humanity's viral nature as only the result of the "survival of the fittest" and humans will take over Malacandra with our superior technology and war. Conversely, the Malacandrians take the "live and let die" attitude. They think the human fear of death, desire for limitless wealth, and abhorrence to monogamy to be pointless (hmm... must be Buddhists) which brings Ransom to the conclusion that perhaps we are the morally inferior species. That is why humans have come "out of the silent planet" as, unlike Malacandra, its moral ruler has fallen and has no voice in the heavens (space for the ahtiests, heh)
The diction was pretty smooth, not all the authoritarian British style I was expecting. The pace was suspenseful - easily done on a strange planet with unknown friends and terrors around ever corner. Out of the Silent Planet has suspense, a tightly woven plot, characters with real conflict - everything that makes a strong, compelling book. It only needs more! So, read the whole series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Battling between good and evil, Jan. 7 2002
By 
The theme throughout these three books is man's battle (or, rather, intelligent life's battle) between good and evil, with some very obvious, but not stifling, religious overtones also found in CS Lewis' nonfiction work. For adults who absolutely adored the Chronicles of Narnia set, this trilogy takes you through the battle between good and evil in a more sophisticated manner. Granted, these are not nearly as easy to read, but adapting to the more complex (sometimes slow-moving in Hideous Strength) writing style was quick.
If you are primarily interested in religious fiction, and have the patience to read books with more complexity than, say, the Left Behind series, you will like these allegorical journeys through the fall of man. If you are primarily interested in SciFi, CS Lewis takes you to other worlds (Silent Planet, Perelandra) and introduces beings from another Earth-time (Hideous Strength) with an original twist of the good vs. evil storyline.
All three books can be read on their own, however I found that "That Hideous Strength" would have been difficult to follow without the background provided in either "Out of the Silent Planet" or "Perelandra". Regardless of the individual readability of the 3 stories, I started with the 1st book (Out of the Silent Planet) not sure I would enjoy it, and ended up finishing all 3 within a week or two.
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Out Of The Silent Planet
Out Of The Silent Planet by C S Lewis (Paperback - Dec 15 2005)
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