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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
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...
Published on Sept. 11 2006 by Steven R. McEvoy

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven characterizations, but a fairly good read.
I only recently discovered the Trilogy, never having been much of a Lewis fan, and read them in order. Each book has its charms, but I especially enjoyed the way That Hideous Strength built on the "circles" of the Bad Guys, both at Bracton college and later at Belbury. Mark Studdock, a person possessing neither distinction, character, nor a talent for evil,...
Published on Oct. 28 1999 by Joel Simon (joelsimon@juno.com)


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3 of 3 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
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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 Englandd'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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my "all-time" favorite books, May 8 2004
This review is from: That Hideous Strength (Audio CD)
I have been a life-long C.S. Lewis fan, and first tackled this book when I was probably about 12, returning to it often throughout the years (I am now 32). One of my favorite passages concerns the descent of the Eldila (especially Jupiter) into St. Anne's, although I thoroughly enjoyed the work as a whole. It can be a bit slow-going in parts, and definitely is "British" in numerous of its references, but all in all it's a great end to the series and a very instructive and entertaining story. Two quick comments here: an earlier reviewer wondered why Merlin was necessary and couldn't anyone have taken his role upon themselves. Lewis writes in the book how Merlin was needed because in life he had opened himself to the influence of spiritual powers in a way others hadn't, and that "opening" was what made him uniquely suited to the needs of the situation in the novel. As to the other reviewer's comments about Lewis not knowing a thing about women, and his views on contraception, it would seem that a fairer statement would be that Lewis' views did not correspond to the reviewer's, rather than a condemning statement about his views. I say this especially since I know many women who have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the views Lewis articulates in the book. Happy reading to all!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical, June 10 2014
By 
Karen Toepp (Sherkston, Ontario, CA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Narnia books are better- but these are definitely thought provoking. The question is: where are we going with our "progress".
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Twist to end the Trilogy, Dec 25 2001
By 
Joshua V. Schneider (Hawaii) - See all my reviews
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While not as good Perelandra, That Hideous Strength is certainly worth reading. Although the first ~40 pages are confusing and a little boring, the story quickly begins to pick up when the frightening designs of the N.I.C.E. are revealed. Mark, a young sociologist at a British University is offered a higher position with N.I.C.E., a sort-of-facade organization with a dark social agenda. Most interesting is the progression of thought by which Mark realizes his humanist or materialist presuppositions can lead to some shocking conclusions if followed through to their extreme. Intertwined are several connected storylines that sometimes delay the suspense of various climaxes within the story. While this was somewhat annoying, Lewis's witty writing kept me intrigued. Overall it was interesting how Lewis wove together philosophy with fantasy, and I was amused at his reference to Tolkien's land of Numinor as a historical reality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd best fiction ever written!, Aug. 17 2001
This is my 2nd favorite fiction ever, right after Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. "Hideous" is brilliant because it combines a pragmatic look at evil people and diabolical conspiracies with a wit and humor that keeps me laughing on almost every page.
And in classic Lewis style, interwoven everywhere are religious allegories and symbolism. This book is a treat, like a creamsicle on a summer afternoon.
I was confused at the beginning since the story seems to suddenly break from the 1st two in the trilogy, both in storyline, and in the fact that there seems to be no science fiction in Hideous. But everything becomes clear later on, and the trilogy is truly continued.
This may become known as the most undiscovered book of the 20th century, but it's a classic and a literary jewel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Hideous Strength is the best of the Space Trilogy, Aug. 18 1997
By A Customer
It seems that people either like That Hideous Strength the best or least of the Space Trilogy. I think the reason is that That Hideous Strength is very different than the other two books. It took me a couple of chapters to realize that this book was not going where Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet went, but when I realized that I could enjoy the book on its own merits. In fact, this is my favorite book in the trilogy. Although a Christian theme runs throughout the trilogy, when it is presented in That Hideous Strength it becomes more accessible. The evil in the book could and does happen. The basic good in the book is no less extraordinary (with certain exceptions). The adventures of Ransom on other planets in the first two books of the trilogy were to prepare him for the battle on Earth in That Hideous Strenth. An interesting phenomenon of this book for me was that when I was reading about Mark and the N.I.C. E. I longed for the story to switch to Jane and the group at St. Anne's. The people at N.I.C.E. were so disagreeable and petty and backstabbing that it made me realize what C. S. Lewis was saying about the nature of evil (or the devil). This book can be read for its story alone, but it is much more rewarding if you think about the ideas and beliefs present as well.
Even if you are not religious or a christian the book can inspire you to think about what you believe in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness Spiced with Pantheism for a Fiercer Ride, Jan. 8 2009
By 
Graham Worthington (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Hideous Strength (Paperback)
Lewis, like his friend and fellow philologist Tolkien, dealt in the creation of realistic myth. This well paced novel culminates his Space Trilogy, commencing with Out of the Silent Planet and continuing with Perelandra, based on the theme of natural and beneficial order versus the illusion of unchecked, destructive "human progress."

While one may take objection to many of Lewis's ideas on religion - I myself do - the unseen world of the eldils, or angels - both good and bad - that he constructs is so grandiose and fascinating that I for one forgive him all offences.

The story opens quietly in a small English town, where a modern young woman - modern for 1945 that is - endures the frustrations of marriage to an underpaid fellow of a minor university. From this innocent beginning, the pair become entrapped by the machinery of a satanic group bent on world domination.

Step by step they are enticed into a satanic plan for world domination, yet, while the plot snares them with all the devilish menace that a reader could wish for, its grasp on their lives is achieved by everyday, believable manipulations: the threatened loss of employment, the flattery of recognition, the temptation of money, power and fame. Eventually the Satanists overreach themselves, and the novel culminates in an imaginative battle of good and evil, with both spiritual and brute physical forces on either side.

The writer George Orwell argues that the inevitable triumph of good over evil weakens the novel, but I don't agree. To me, its charm lies not in its ending but in the skill with which the story is told. It says much for this story, that though science has overtaken it during passage of half a century and more, its lives as though written today.

I particularly enjoy Lewis's construction of opposed hierarchies, and the subtlety with which both good and bad characters are drawn. But how remarkable it is that we are often drawn more to the bad characters! My favourite amongst these is Wither, an ancient villain, whose massive but crumbling intellect hides behind a façade of amiable vagueness as he schemes his way towards ultimate power.

Ending on this note, is it not strange and intriguing that a strong Christian apologist like professor Lewis should need to spice his calm beliefs with garnishes of magic, naturism and warlike demigods?

Graham Worthington, author, Wake of the Raven
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven characterizations, but a fairly good read., Oct. 28 1999
I only recently discovered the Trilogy, never having been much of a Lewis fan, and read them in order. Each book has its charms, but I especially enjoyed the way That Hideous Strength built on the "circles" of the Bad Guys, both at Bracton college and later at Belbury. Mark Studdock, a person possessing neither distinction, character, nor a talent for evil, has lived his life - and ruined it thereby - in a search for admission to 'the inner circle,' and any circle will do. He learns that each concentric circle, in addition to being more exclusive as he supposed, is also more evil and more banal.
The characterization of Stoddock is superb. Likewise the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Dimble and a few other minor characters. The book is almost worth reading just to gain the acquaintance of Mr. Bultitude.
Others are far less engaging. MacPhee - one of the most unidimensional characters I have ever read - is a continual annoyance. The whole build-up with Merlin, only to have him turn out completely powerless until "possessed" by the eldils, makes no sense to me at all. And then he - what? Explodes? Couldn't anyone have done that? And why do God and the angels need an Arthurian wizard, anyway?
But the biggest disappointment was Ransom himself. He went from being a lifelike, engaging fellow, in the first two books, to an idealized shadow. We never really learn how he goes from being a Cambridge don to a wealthy landowner and "the Pendragon." Who are these people who bequeath St. Anne's to him on the condition that he take the name "Fisher-King?" How did he become the Pendragon? No explanation.
This was hard to accept from such a brilliant writer. But that's not to say the book is unworthy of attention. I expect to read it again, probably soon, and will probably get more insights from it the second time through.
I believe much of the problem the Trilogy has with readers of my generation is that it is always classed as Science Fiction, which it certainly is not. People read it expecting familiar formulas, and don't know how to react when it turns out to be religious allegory. They should read more carefully. As with most of what he wrote, Lewis intended to illuminate more than to entertain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eldils and Merlin and bears oh my!, Nov. 19 2000
By 
Silly heading, but nobody reads them anyway. I think. The third and last book in the trilogy (you did read the others, right?) and about as far from science fiction as you can possibly get . . . there's a definite shift, Lewis seems to be bringing in more fantasy and religious allegorical elements as the series continued, with the end result here. The tale is subtitled "A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups" and that's what it boils down to. If you're like me, you'll have read this right after reading the other two books (which were great, by the way) and you'll be immediately confused. Instead of focusing on the nifty Dr Ransom, you get a young couple Mark and Jane. Jane's having weird dreams that keep coming true and Mark isn't really paying attention because he's trying to get into the political "circles" as the local university where he works. However, little does he know that evil is lurking there and the folks are plotting some very dark things. Herein comes the good guys and after being introduced to lots o' supporting characters, some of which are interesting, some less so, you finally meet the man himself: Ransom. The problem I have, and this has been said elsewhere, is that he's apparently the "Pendragon" (but also the Fisher King . . . weren't they two different people?) but there's absolutely no explanation as to how that happened. Lewis probably figured it wasn't important and not relevant to the story itself, heck, Ransom's discussion of how he inherited the mantle of the Pendragon is basically tossed off in one sentence. The first half of the book mostly focuses on the college and the dread blokes there, but when Ransom and company shows up finally, things get very trippy indeed. Perelandra was a strange novel because of setting but I could deal with that, Lewis piles so much allegory on the plot that it gets almost ridiculous. And then Merlin shows up. That's right. Merlin. He's kinda fun actually but much like Ransom becomes, he's little more than a voice, you don't get any indication of his motivations. All that said though, this is a nifty way to end the series, the climax left me a little flat, especially after the buildup in the first two books (Merlin makes some stuff happen and the gods blow some stuff up) but Lewis' mastery of the English language saves this completely, this guy was passionate about this novel and you can tell, it crackles from every page and you can really feel it toward the end in almost every word. There's a nice "Britishness" about the book as well, a sense of the sheer age of Britain and its history. The ending is kind and gentle and you're left with a good feeling when you finish the book. If you don't like Lewis for his "preachiness" then stay far away if you don't like thinking, because he's using this more to illustrate a point more than anything else, but it's fine writing and a fine cap to an interesting series. And for those of you who started reading this series because it was science fictional, don't stop now, y'all could stand to read something different every once in a while. It won't hurt. Really.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An twisting plot that keeps the pages turning., Oct. 18 2000
I truly loved That Hideous Strength. I have read both of it's prequels and I was not diasapointed by the final book. The plot kept me reading, the characters kept me interested, and the ending left me with a smile.
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That Hideous Strength
That Hideous Strength by C S Lewis (Paperback - Dec 5 2005)
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