This trilogy contains ‘Out of the Silent Planet’, ‘Perelandra’, and ‘That Hideous Strength’. Quite the read! So interesting and different… Also, please don’t read this if you don’t want mild spoilers.
I think it was a little disconcerting for me when Ransom was on the different planets that were so soooo foreign. It was hard to wrap my head around. The other science fiction I have read had planets with vegetation fairly similar to Earth. These planets are so completely different, it made me a little uncertain. Not really uncomfortable, most of it sounded lovely, just so different!
In ‘Out of the Silent Planet’, I really enjoyed the stark contrast between the scientists who have come to the Malacandra to strip it of anything they can, and Ransom who is brought as a captive, is so obvious! It definitely shows the different kind of people they are. While the scientists come of their own volition and have specific goals in mind, they are completely mercenary and they end up missing the point entirely. They miss out on so much, because they can’t see beyond their murderous hearts. They don’t think they are murderous, they want to scope out a planet for future human habitation… But by killing all the inhabitants. They shoot innocent creatures and when brought before Oyarsa, can’t see him at all. Ransom makes friends with the creatures, learns their language, and even accepts the other creatures he thought would be his undoing. When he is brought before Oyarsa, he can only see a faint shimmer, but he can understand him. The social aspects of all the creatures of Malacandra is interesting as well. They don’t think of hurting each other, when asked why they just say “why would we?” Each ‘race’ has something to contribute to the whole of the planet, and when asked, each give it freely. I think there is something to be said for that. Ransom also learns the story of the angels, and why Earth is called the Silent Planet. Basically because Satan is ruler (of course not above God, but the angel in charge of Earth), and all communication was cut off for Earth.
In ‘Perelandra’, Lewis’ grasp on the Fall of Mankind is so interesting! He basically plays it out again, except this time on Venus. Satan (in the form of a man he ‘hitched a ride with’) comes to sway the Queen or Mother of Venus. Given the conversations they have, I have a whole lot more respect and sympathy for Eve. If the Serpent was as silver-tongued as Lewis’ version was (which I’m sure he was more so), resisting would have been more than difficult. That’s all I will say about Perelandra, since it is so wonderful, you just have to read it for yourself.
‘That Hideous Strength’ is completely different. It takes place completely on Earth, and the beginning is filled with politics… A bit hard to get into reading as opposed to the first two, but gets so much better. I really don’t want to say too much, as it will give away most of the plot.
Here also is the Goodreads page of these books.
The point of this is, C.S. Lewis still manages to make me love to read. It started when I was very young and my parents would read the Chronicles of Narnia to us. If you have the time or energy, please read this series. He has a very interesting way of thinking.