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121 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Thought Provoking Christian Science Fiction
When C.S. Lewis wrote fiction, he created a world and then asked, "How would God choose to be revealed in this world?" The way Lewis reveals God in these stories is amazing. The first book in the trilogy will probably have the most familiar feel to an avid science fiction reader. The second will probably be the most appealing to the fantasy lover and...
Published on August 15, 2000 by Glenn Maddox

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ooh!
here's the deal. i loved this book. it really makes you think towards the end and addresses alot of interesting topics. very interesting, imaginitive, spiritual, challenging, all the great c.s.lewis characteristics.
my one and only beef (and the reason you should NOT purchase this book) is that the publication is absolutely horrible. there are so many typos, i want...
Published on July 18, 2004 by C. Nichols

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121 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Thought Provoking Christian Science Fiction, August 15, 2000
Glenn Maddox "Glenn" (Midlothian, Virginia USA) - See all my reviews
When C.S. Lewis wrote fiction, he created a world and then asked, "How would God choose to be revealed in this world?" The way Lewis reveals God in these stories is amazing. The first book in the trilogy will probably have the most familiar feel to an avid science fiction reader. The second will probably be the most appealing to the fantasy lover and those who are reading these books because they loved the Chronicles of Narnia. The third will probably appeal most to those who like Lewis' non-fiction works and works such as "The Pilgrim's Regress." The trilogy as a whole offers something for everyone who is a fan of Lewis' works, or any lover of science fiction/fantasy that enjoys thinking about theology and ethics while reading fiction. I've read that when Lewis died he had been working on a fourth edition of the Space Trilogy, but the trilogy is certainly complete and a great experience as is.
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97 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The battle of good and evil--CS Lewis style, November 1, 2002
The Space Trilogy is CS Lewis's allegorical statement of theology and philosophy. Lewis was one of the most prominent Christian apologists of his time, but he always felt there was an audience he couldn't reach. This was his solution, and we are left with a masterpiece both in the world of fiction and the world of theology.
The hero of the books is Dr. Ransom, a philologist who is a good man, though not exceptionally heroic at first. The first book finds him captured and whisked off to Mars, where he encounters a society much more morally advanced than our own, and learns that the corruption of our planet is due to an evil influence (which we would call Satan). These higher creatures cannot grasp the concepts of war, murder, or any vice.
The second book finds Ransom transported to Perelandra, also known as Venus. This is Lewis's allegory of the garden of Eden, and here he encounters an unfallen woman who is being tempted into doing the forbidden. Here Ransom learns of the nature of sin, and of the temptation that (Lewis says) befell the parents of our own race.
The final book is quite different from the other two, and Ransom, this time on Earth, is battling an evil organization which is bent on penetrating the mysteries of the universe and purifying the human race. Ransom and his followers are aided by a power that has long slept, and together they battle the power of science gone haywire. We see, through their eyes, the evils of society and of so-called 'higher thought.'
There are many lessons to be learned from this wonderful trilogy, but there is also a remarkable story to be told. If you're a fan of fantasy and science fiction, a reader of Christian and theological works, or both, you will greatly enjoy the Space Trilogy.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battling between good and evil, January 7, 2002
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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165 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read!, July 21, 2003
STORY: Dr. Ransom is kidnapped by two other scientists and wisked away to the world of Malacandra. His wouldbe kidnappers think they are brining him to be a sacrafice to the beings of that planet. What happens is an adventure of discovery and facing the truth about human nature, which forever changes Ransom.
1) SETTING - C.S. Lewis just shines in his descriptions of new, exotic places and the beings that live there. His vivid details allow the reader to create a wonderful mental image of a world totally different from our own. Very, very nicely done.
2) CHARACTERS - The cast of characters consists of Dr. Ransom, Dr. Weston, Dr. Devine and the various beings found on Malacandra (sorns, hross, pfifltrigg and Oyarsa). Every character has a purpose and is allogoric of something greater, which is sometimes clearly demonstrated and at other times left to the reader to interpret. At no point was I bored or upset at stereotypes when reading about these characters. Even if you don't see the allogories they represent they are still intriguing and unpredictable.
3) STORY - I read somewhere that this story is a retelling of the Christ story from the Bible. I didn't see that. Yes, there were some similarities such as the Bent One could be Satan and his fall from heaven. Otherwise, just reading the first book I didn't feel like I was bring preached out or given a Bible Study of any type. It was an intriguing sci-fi story of discovery.
Also, like many secular sci-fi books written prior to 1950, this book makes clear commentary on human society. In other words if someone puts this book down because of the social commentary then that reader is unfamiliar with such literary trends as mentioned. I did prefer this author's handling of social commentary more than other authors of the time that I've read.
Lastly, the book is written very well. Many times I felt like I was reading poetry instead of a sci-fi novel. C.S. Lewis' professional handling of the written prose is very, very enjoyable and appreciated.
OVERALL - I can't think of anything wrong with this story. It had action, a mystery, suspense, discovery, aliens, space-flight, characters true to their nature, social commentary, allogory AND all this squeezed into less than 160 pages. In many ways this books ends with most of the story resolved so there doesn't seem to be an immediate need to read the rest of the trilogy. BUT...if you like this first book like I did then you'll find very little reason not to rush out and continue reading right away. A very enjoyable sci-fi read.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why put this book down?, September 20, 1999
By A Customer
The C.S Lewis Space Trilogy (of which Out of the Silent Planet is first) was recommended by a friend, and I found myslef immediately inthralled by the book itself, as well as Lewis's style of writing. The book is told in such a way that tries to convince the reader that this actually happened, or at least could, and it was able to convince me. As the character Ransom walked across England I felt I was there beside him. When he visited Mars, even with the bizzare scenery it seemed so real in my mind. Lewis also has a gift for making strong points in his novel (about Christianity in particular) without making the reader feel guilty, because he uses such human characters that are filled with normal and relatable flaws. Even with the protagonist's name he sends a message, becuase as you read this book, you will see how his name comes to play. Despite the strong Christian undertones, I feel that a wide variety of readers will enjoy this book. The story is catchy, the imagery is incredible, and the characters are fully round and fully enjoyable. I recommmend it to all! But I warn, even though this book is good on its own, after reading the first you will innevitably want to read the rest of the trilogy!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The triumph of the Eccentric Englishman, December 1, 2000
S. Nowlan (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
The "Space Trilogy" by C. S. Lewis is a bit of a surprise for those whose only exposure to the author is through the delightful "Chronicles of Narnia." The Space Trilogy is fantasy for adults, but based on Lewis's own particular world-view as a committed academic and lay member of the Church of England (i.e. Anglican Church). The book shows its roots through plausible science-fiction mixed with a world-view that embraces the pivotal role of the spiritual world as an integral part of the natural universe.
To those who are suspicious that Lewis might be too much of an Evangelical Christian, I would answer that he is certainly has the world-view of a mid-20th century Anglican, but that his native imagination and intelligence embrace something much more universal than a particular religious time and place.
In the first trip (to Mars) or Thulcandra, for example, Lewis includes a sharp and insightful criticism of 19th and early 20th Century British Imperialism (and materialism) through the character of a professor who has kidnapped the hero (Ransom) in the mistaken belief that the "god" of Thulcandra demands a human sacrifice.
In the second book (Perelandra), Lewis explores the nature of temptation and morality through the idea of a "New Eden" on the planet Venus. At the end of the book, Lewis includes a rapturous passage that sounds as if it were written by a medieval mystic, in which the nature of the universe and God is explored in what is almost a hymn-like passage. Whenever I read this book, my imagination is stirred by the glorious descriptions of the imagined world of Perelandra.
In the third installment of the series (That Hideous Strength), Lewis brings us back to Earth and a modern morality myth, in which a man's desire to "belong" or "fit in" is used to gradually corrupt him and draw him into a modern evil organization. The man's wife is simultaneously brought into more sympathetic contact with a vividly-imagined group that has strong Arthurian and mythopeic elements. The contrast between the two groups - stultifying conformity mixed with totalitarism on one hand and common purpose married with eccentric individuality on the other - makes for an entertaining story in which Lewis's sympathies are never in doubt.
Spirituality, mythic forces, and good solid traditional English eccentricity mark the world created by Lewis. It is a world in which nature, poetry and the Medieval trump bland modern materialistic conformity. And this is all set in a well-crafted story and happens to well-drawn characters about whom we learn to care.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sci-Fi Classic, July 25, 2001
J. Worden (Concord, NC United States) - See all my reviews
I read this trilogy after reading Lewis's delightful series, The Chronicles of Narnia. I was totally unprepared for the insightful criticisms and tough disposition displayed in the books after reading the Narnian books that were colorful and fun. I quickly adapted to his more difficult style of writing, and began to understand that beneath the oddly beautiful science fiction novels there was a high level of spirituality, not found in many books. There was also several basic criticisms Lewis makes about the world he is living in, including human greed, imperialism, (Out of The Silent Planet and Perelandra), conformity (That Hideous Strength), among other things.
The first two books of this trilogy are basically about Ransom's adventures and sets up the events that are going to occur in That Hideous Strength. They outline the segregation of the Silent Planet, and give the history of the eldil. They also contain an exciting good versus evil plot line that is extremely complex. The third book takes up where Perelandra left off, but follows the actions of a Mark Studdock and his wife, Jane, instead of Ransom. In an exciting, but tremendously thorough book Lewis ties all the threads of the plot line together and gives an apocalyptic conclusion.
The series is great and is definetly a Sci-Fi epic worthy of your time and effort to read. It is a difficult book to read, not recommended for children, but is definetly recommend for those who like religious undertones, or those who enjoy great ability and creativity.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C.S. Lewis: The Space Trilogy, July 7, 2001
C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" are rightly beloved by millions as a modern masterpiece of fantasy and as a gentle introduction to Christian theology as well. Not as well known, but just as deserving of a place on a discerning reader's bookshelf are his only works of science fiction, known collectively as the "Space Trilogy."
Book One: Out of the Silent Planet
Dr. Elwin Ransom, a philologist and Cambridge college don, is on a walking tour of rural England when he is kidnapped by Devine, an old school acquaintance and Weston a physicist and taken to Malacandra via a spacecraft of Weston's invention. It's a second trip for Weston & Devine; they kidnap Ransom for what they believe is a human sacrifice required by the alien species called Sorns for their mythical god. Upon arrival, Ransom manages to escape, fleeing in panic from approaching Sorns.
After escaping, Ransom discovers the Hrossa. Ransom makes a beginning of learning Hrossan speech (which is the lingua franca of Malacandra). He discovers the Eldila, non-corporeal beings which Ransom can hear, but not see. An Eldil messenger sends Ransom on a quest to meet Oyarsa, ruler of the Eldil and by definition of all Malacandra as well. While on his journey to Meldilorn, island home of the Eldil, Ransom's life is saved by a Sorn; he thus loses any remaining fear of human sacrifice.
Ransom's meeting with Oyarsa, ruler of the Eldil is a lesson in the cosmology of Lewis' solar system. Each planet is ruled by an Eldil and they regularly communicate and roam the heavens - with the sad exception of Earth's Eldil, the "Bent One" who has disobeyed Maleldil the Young (the ruler of the Eldil). Weston and Devine are captured and brought before Oyarsa as well; He realizes that all three are "bent" or contaminated and requires they depart from Malacandra.
Out of the Silent Planet is a Christian vision set within a science fiction framework. Maleldil is a God/Christ figure, Oyarsa an archangel and the Eldil angels. The Bent One, the Oyarsa of Thulcandra, is Lucifer who separated, not only himself, but all Earth as well from the rest of the solar system and by inference from God.
Book Two: Perelandra
Perelandra is an analog of the Garden of Eden. The Bent One/Satan of Thulcandra sends his servant Weston to accomplish the downfall of its Adam and Eve, called the King and Queen. Ransom is send to Perelandra by Maleldil/God to defeat the designs of the Bent One.
Ransom finds Perelandra a world covered by water, dotted by free-floating islands rich with animal life and plants. Little in the way of fixed land is to be found on Perelandra; in fact Maleldil's edict to Perelandra's King and Queen is that while they may visit these areas during the day, they may not spend the night. When Ransom first meets the Queen, she has been parted from her King when floating islands drift apart. Here, he and Weston battle for the Queen's soul.
Weston, as Eden's serpent, attempts to persuade the Queen to violate Maleldil's edict and spend the night on fixed land. He beguiles her with stories of the women of Earth: "They are of a great spirit. They always reach out their hands for the new and unexpected good, and see that it is good long before the men understand it. Their minds run ahead of what Maleldil has told them. They do not need to wait for Him to tell them what is good, but know it for themselves as He does." Ransom himself is enthralled and comes to doubt his purpose on Perelandra.
Finally, Ransom comes to the realization that he has been sent to Perelandra as Maleldil's physical tool, and he enters into single combat with Weston. Ransom triumphs in battle and the King and Queen are reunited with Ransom as a witness. Unlike the Garden of Eden, on Perelandra, temptation has been defeated and Satan has lost. God's original vision for Perelandran humanity may take flower.
Book Three: That Hideous Strength
Certain progressives among the Fellows of Bracton College engineer the sale of Bragdon Wood (rumored to house the living body of Merlin, his body preserved from aging by magic) to N.I.C.E., the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments. N.I.C.E. is a sinister group of scientists researching use of technology to rule mankind. Merlin's magic powers would be immensely useful to N.I.C.E., so they acquire the land with the purpose of disinterring and reviving Merlin.
The central characters are Mark Studdock, a Fellow in sociology at Bracton and his wife Jane, a research student. Their marriage is troubled. Mark is blindly ambitious and Jane a proto-feminist. She is also troubled by what appear to be growing psychic abilities resulting in dreams that reflect present and future events in the real world.
Mark is duped into working for N.I.C.E. and Jane finds herself on the side of good, working with Ransom. Her newfound psychic powers serve to aid in the location of Merlin and also provide information about the machinations of N.I.C.E. Once discovered, Merlin's ancient wizardry, linked with the power of the Eldil, defeat the evil N.I.C.E. in a stunning (and bloody) climax.
The central focus is the development of Mark and Jane from shallow modernists into decent, caring people. Through the narrative, they both come to realize what is wrong in both their marriage and their outlook on life. Mark, in particular has the longer road to travel; since he fell almost totally under the spell of evil. Lewis paints his conversion to good in a quite convincing manner, clearly showing his belief in redemption of the soul.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top SF with Christian Spin, October 27, 2005
Lewis said that he wrote this book to "exorcise" science fiction. He devoured H. G. Wells when he was younger, and Lewis obviously shows a Wells style in the first few chapters. Dry though the beginning is, don't stop! Keep reading, because once Lewis finds his own voice, this novel takes off.

Lewis presents Christian themes in ways that most theologians can't dream of. How does a pure and innocent being understand evil? It can't, but it can understand the nature of being "bent." And, of course, the whole concept of the "Silent Planet" is pure brilliance.

Once you reach the middle of the novel, you won't be able to stop because Lewis creates one of his best good vs. evil battles. If you're looking for a simple Narnia tale, you won't find it here. Instead you'll find an insightful and entertaining adventure that looks into the true nature of humanity. Highly recommended.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fiction Fleshes Out Lewis' Philosophy, November 23, 2001
One of the things that I really appreciate about C.S. Lewis is the way in which a great deal of his fictional writing seems to flesh out the ideas found in his non-fiction works. His stories are not just stories, but are often attempts to show how certain theological or philosophical positions might look in the world of everyday experience. His philosophy and theology are incarnated through his stories, so to speak. This offers the student of Lewis a chance to see how the ideas, theories, and beliefs promoted and discussed in his non-fiction works might play out in the "real" world. The works of the Space Trilogy parallel closely and deal with a lot of the same subject matter that is covered in Lewis' non-fiction work "The Abolition of Man", as well as many of his other, shorter writings, particularly on such subjects as science and technology, morality, and theology.
In "Out of the Silent Planet" we first meet the character Ransom, who is kidnapped and taken on an interplanetary journey to Mars where he begins to learn about the true nature of the universe and the place our world occupies in it. This is also where we meet the first of various characters who, throughout the Trilogy, represent false, pernicious, and morally bankrupt views of the nature of the universe, and, more importantly, do not want to know the truth. Throughout the Trilogy, the forces of truth and goodness, mostly embodied in Ransom and some of his companions, must attempt to thwart and defeat the wicked schemes of those who refuse to acknowledge or embrace the truth. The schemes become more horrific and the action more intense with each successive book. In "Perelandra" Ransom must attempt to thwart the enemy's plans for the young planet Venus, while "That Hideous Strength" turns it's attention to the battle here at home.
The writing in these books is at a very high level, full of beautiful description and deep theological and philosophical reflections about the nature of the universe we inhabit. Yet the stories themselves are also gripping, and are full of interesting and imaginative ideas of what things might be like on these other planets. In some ways, these books might almost be called anti-science fiction, because instead of using the story form simply to speculate about what scientific or technological advances might bring us in the future, Lewis attempts to show us how the inhabitants of these other planets would be real spiritual and moral beings, and to warn us about the possible consequences of allowing a morally and spiritually bankrupt scientific and technological elite to define our lives and our universe.
These books stand head and shoulders over most science fiction writing and are worthy of the title of classics.
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Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength (Boxed Set)
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