- Series: Space Trilogy (Paperback) (Book 1)
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (March 11, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743234901
- ISBN-13: 978-0743234900
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,083 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy (Paperback))
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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The New York Times This book has real splendor, compelling moments, and a flowing narrative.
The New Yorker If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.
Los Angeles Times Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.
From the Publisher
7 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I just finished reading all three of CS Lewis' Space Trilogy back-to-back (published in 1938, 1943, and 1945) over the past few weeks. First caution, don't start with the 3rd book in the trilogy. The trilogy is a masterpiece, but jumping into the 3rd book will seriously shortchange what you will understand if you read all three in order. Second caution, don't start with the 2nd book in the trilogy. The series geometrically builds the cast, plot, and stakes book-by-book. A shortcut only shortchanges you. That said, this magnificent trilogy builds a fictional setting of interlocking stories that culminate, in the third, by illustrating that hideous strength which Lewis later describes in the tiny prose book: The Abolition of Man (1947). My interest in reading the trilogy after reading The Abolition of Man was piqued by the first of the seven (highest-quality HD) video lecture series on C. S. Lewis, all of which are presented free and streaming: just google "Hillsdale College C. S. Lewis lecture one" and enjoy this incredibly generous series. For the purpose of this book review, and for your greatest enjoyment, don't go past video lecture one and its Q&A session, but go from there to read The Abolition of Man (one-hour read), then the space trilogy in order. After you're done, return to the free lecture series 2 through 7. In this order you'll maximize enjoyment of this banquet, without any spoilers.
“A violet yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate.”
How have I not read this until now? I feel like a fake fan! It was a fabulous read to kick off the series and I look forward to reading the other two in the series, but first to discuss!
Here’s a fun fact to kick things off (in case you didn’t catch last month’s read): Tolkien and Lewis once flipped a coin deciding who would write a time travel story and who would write an outer space novel. Thanks to that coin toss, Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet and Tolkien wrote The Notion Club Papers (a time travel set in the future of the 1980s :).
I wish I had a better way to say this, but the way C.S. Lewis paints a story is rad. I constantly found myself pausing during the book and just thinking how talented and gifted he was as a writer (and by my description of “rad,” you can see we’re on slightly different playing fields).
“Pulsing with brightness as with some unbearable pain or pleasure, clustered in pathless and countless multitudes, dreamlike in clarity, blazing in perfect blackness, the stars seized all his attention, troubled him, excited him, and drew him up to a sitting position…
…now that the very name “Space” seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam.”
Now onto the actual storyline :). Not only did we once again see the creative and imaginative genius of Lewis, but I found myself wishing all the creatures on the planet were real and that one day I could hang out with them (add that list to Narnia and Middle Earth). I loved what got Ransom to speak with Hyoi was he heard him speaking and his love of language took over, especially since both Tolkien and Lewis loved languages.
I laughed quite a bit too, like with this line: “For a moment Ransom found something reassuring in the thought that the sorns were shepherds. Then he remembered that the Cyclops in Homer plied the same trade.”
When Hyoi was shot and killed (which, by the way did not see coming :( ), I thought Lewis portrayed the aftermath in such a poignant way. How do you explain someone kills something for no other reason than they wanted to?
As I mentioned before, I haven’t read the rest of the series, but I hope there is more to come battling Weston and the forces behind him.
“…our cry is not merely “Hands off Malacandra.” The dangers to be feared are not planetary but cosmic, or at least solar, and they are not temporal but eternal. More than this it would be unwise to say.”
I also really enjoyed the Postscript and the letter between Ransom and the writer. Not only was it a creative way to gain more insight into the world Lewis created, but I like that we got more of what it was like when Ransom returned home.
Here’s some questions I was thinking about:
1. How the hey was Jack (aka Clive Staples aka my BFF) so creative?!
I mean, geez, save some genius for the rest of the world. Obviously this isn’t really a question I expect answered, but I still needed to get it off my chest :).
2. How does this rank against Lewis’ other fiction books for you?
It might be too early for me to make this statement (since I have to read the others), but I think Narnia still holds the top spot for Lewis’ fiction work. But please don’t take that to mean I didn’t enjoy this – I thoroughly did. It’s just hard to beat Aslan. :)
3. I love that Lewis used a sci-fi novel to take a look at humanity. Did that stick out to any of you?
It could be because I’ve been watching Breaking Bad and I love The Walking Dead, two shows that reveal both the bad and good of humanity in different/unique/dire circumstances, but that kept popping up. Take Weston. He’s arrogant and refuses to truly learn about the lives he encounters. He only sought power and dominance. Devine clearly didn’t grasp mo’ money, mo’ problems. Greed drove him, even when he encountered something no one else from planet Earth had. Then there was Ransom. Sweet Ransom. The complete opposite of the other two. I kinda think Lewis wrote pieces of his personality in Ransom’s character too.
4. Did you have a favorite of the Malacandra beings? Between the sorns, hrossa, Oyarsa and pfifltriggi?
I want to pick the pfifltriggi based solely on their name. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it makes me laugh! This really is a tough one though, but I think I might have to go with the hrossa. They were the first we really encounter, so that probably has something to do with my bias.
What about you readers? As always, please share any other insights as well! Looking forward to reading what you thought of the book!
Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2014/09/17/silent-planet-c-s-lewis-inklings-series-discussion
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