4 of 4 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 Sep 11 2006 by Steven R. McEvoy
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 Benjamin Carroll
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Only real science fiction novel Lewis wrote, great but too short, October 17, 2007,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Novel,
This review is from: Out Of The Silent Planet (Paperback)This novel was absolutely wonderful. I was a bit apprehensive upon picking up this book, as Science-Fiction has never really been my genre, but CS Lewis' writing style never disappoints. This man could write about a grain of dirt and it would still be an excellent read. If you enjoy space travel and such, read it. If not, read it anyways. It is far more than just an enrapturing and exciting read, though it is this too, but it also offers much insight into our world, society, and generally how we live in. Though written many years ago, it still provides information and a shrewd understanding of Human nature that still applies today. A definitive must-read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating,
4.0 out of 5 stars "Wow!",
5.0 out of 5 stars Theology... in the world beyond!,
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.
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?"
4.0 out of 5 stars Pale jewel of thought,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Well Worth Rereading,
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Masterpiece!,
Dr. Ransom, the protagonist, is a very believable character. He and two other men, named Weston and Devine, crash land on the red planet with completely different intentions. Dr. Ransom, having been kidnapped, escapes his captors and embarks on a memorable adventure. Ransom uses very simple logic to learn the language of the native species and he interacts with the four races of Malacandria differently, creating a very interesting and awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Lewis, as in his other series The Chronicles of Narnia, uses biblical stories and principals to create and allegory that keeps the reader guessing. The race of Eldil (an energy or spirit type being) offer wisdom and encourage Ransom during his stay on the planet while essentially balking Weston and Devine's petty quest to ransack the resources of the planet. The moral Lewis conveys is a simple, yet important one.
Out of the Silent Planet is a diamond in the rough. It was written well before the recent conquest of space and the immanence of technology, so the imaginative view of what Lewis thought Mars might be like is very interesting. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series, which I've read, only gets better.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good underlying themes on life, bad storyline,
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Out Of The Silent Planet by C S Lewis (Paperback - Dec 15 2005)
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