Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)

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 This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 

Title: Out of the Silent Planet
Series: Space Trilogy #1
Author: C.S. Lewis
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 241
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

Professor Ransom, taking a long sabbatical from work, is walking about England for the sheer heck of it. He gets involved in a situation with a former classmate and ends up being kidnapped and taken to another planet as a human sacrifice. He escapes and begins to learn a little bit about this new [to him] world, Malacandra and eventually comes before the ruler of the world to face his kidnappers and learn what fate awaits him.

The postscript, or Epilogue, takes a slightly different tone and is from the viewpoint of Lewis, who has been hired by Ransom to tell his story. Lewis learns that Ransom is not a balmy old bat but a man with some seriously influential spiritual friends. Ends with Ransom being prepared for some sort of mission.

 

My Thoughts:

This Space Trilogy has a story associated with it for me, so please bear with me as I meanderingly make my way to the actual review. When I was in 3rd grade, our school had a book fair and in one of the “big kids” booths was this paperback trilogy in a nice slipcase:

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Not the best picture, but shows the colors and the picture that just drew me in. The books themselves are light blue, orangey’-red and then a darker blue. For whatever reason, when I saw this set, for $8, my 3rd grade self knew that I would DIE if I couldn’t own these. My father lent me the money [where he got it, I have no idea, as we were literally dirt poor] and thus I became the proud owner. I manfully struggled through the first book, understanding it was about a man going to another planet. I simply read, without comprehending a thing, the second book and the size of the 3rd one kept me from even trying it. It wasn’t until years later in highschool that I revisited these and “understood” what I was reading. But I will always associate these books with that feeling of OWNING my first Grown Up books.

Onward!

I really enjoyed this read. The main reason for it being a 3.5star read has more to do with comparison than a lack in the book itself. I read this primarily as a Science Fiction book and not as a theological one wrapped in an SFF wrapper. In that regards, there are a lot of better written, more enjoyable, more fleshed out books out there.

The other thing that dragged it down a bit for me was the epilogue with Lewis and from Lewis’s point of view. It was supposed to be fearful, unsure and unconvinced, but I didn’t like that change of tone from Ransom’s earlier in the book. Maybe I’m just so mired in the mundane that I have lost any fear, in the right sense of the word, of the spiritual world and Lewis’s account just made me uncomfortable with the reality?

I did find it interesting to see how Lewis dealt with the very idea of “aliens”. I also realized just how deeply formed my views on life and how humans interact with the universe have been shaped by this book. As a Christian I’m not convinced God has created other lifeforms beyond angels and humans but if He has, I can totally buy into Lewis’s idea of a Quarantine around Earth because of the Fall of Man starting with Adam and Eve. I suspect that a lot of the conclusions that I’ve come to on my own about alien life are, in fact, the workings out of my initial reading of this book back in 3rd grade.

The next book, Perelandra, is a very different beast, so we’ll see how my read of that goes. I suspect I’ll be looking at much more from the theological and philosophical than just the SF angle.

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bookstooge

  1. Review of the Space Trilogy from 2006

39 thoughts on “Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)

  1. I’m having such a blast reading your re-read reviews that I’m thinking starting my own in the 1st semester instead of in the 2nd. My re-read is already set in stone, which does not mean I won’t make last-minute additions…lol. My history with the Space Trilogy is also very interesting. It’ll keep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do what you need. One thing I learned is that I do really need a good 5 years, preferably 10 now, between rereads. Gives me enough time to have changed so I can really do a compare/contrast of either the book or my reaction to it 🙂

      Whatever you decide to do with your own, I’m looking forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Quite. We all need distancing from the things we love. Most of Phil Dick, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Rucker, Simmons, King, Niven, Stanley Robinson, Jablokov, Lem, Strugatsky Brothers, Clement, Wolfe, Benford, Brin, Bear, Vance, Delaney, Farmer, Pournelle, Sheffield,…, I read more than 20 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice bit of memoir to go with the review. I remember being underwhelmed with this one, but thinking it was good enough. Perelandra blew me away, however. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it.

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  3. I have to admit that I am not familiar with these and I am not sure how that has happened! This review was a very enjoyable read though. I loved the backstory on how these books came to be for you and how you dove into some of your own personal thoughts and reflections 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find that if I have a personal memory surrounding a book, more than just the reading, I can say a lot more and remember a lot more. I guess I’m getting old enough to be able to “tell stories” about ye olde olden dayes…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha. I think you made your intentions clear when you posted about jalapeno cheese popcorn. At least. I mean, you may have mentioned your plans for world domination before, but you had me convinced that you’re serious about it, when you posted about the popcorn. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. See, little slips up like that will get me every time. Next thing you know, I’ll be monologuing my entire specific plans to you all while cackling and rubbing my hands over my bald head…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a boxed set of this trilogy on my shelf! Are you reading my bookshelf or yours?? Haha. We seem to read a lot of the same stuff. Anyway, I love C. S. Lewis, so I definitely need to read these…I just finished one of his “collections” called “God in the Dock.” Full of thoughtful bite-sized theology. Great for busy mornings. Glad to hear this one stood up decently well to a reread!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great story about first reading these! I read them at a similarly young age and on my most recent reading realized how much they’ve influenced some of my views.

    Rather than a book fair I found them on my dad’s bookshelf while trying to find something new to read in English…we were missionaries in Brazil and I’d already read through all the books on my own shelf.

    As you said, the next one is a whole different thing…there’s not much way to avoid seeing it as theology wrapped in sci-fi.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. It had its plusses and minuses – the label TCK fits pretty well. I really wouldn’t trade it for a different life… I think it gives me a sense of perspective that can be difficult for someone who has lived in only one culture.

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  6. As a JRR Tolkien enthusiast, reading C.S. Lewis was a “must” for me, considering the long friendship the two shared: unfortunately, my experience with Mr. Lewis was not a happy one, especially with this book. My main problem comes from the fact that Lewis uses – from my point of view – a too-heavy hand in expressing his convictions in novel form, and this makes his writing quite dense and…. well, “not-joyful” is the best definition I can find. C.S. Lewis’ writing can be used to exemplify Tolkien’s distrust of allegory as opposed to applicability (to use JRRT’s own words) and I often find myself agreeing with the Professor’s stance on this.
    However, since this trilogy is still looking at me from one of my shelves, I will look forward to your comments on the other books: if nothing else, I will gain a clearer idea on what they are all about. 🙂

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    1. I’ve heard that “problem” by others before. I intellectually understand but it’s never been an actual problem for me. Part of that is because I’m pretty much a devotee of Lewis’s and like I said in my review, Lewis has shaped my intellectual take on matters theological.

      If I wasn’t a Christian myself, I might agree that his theology is heavy handed but since I am, I just nod and agree 🙂 Sometimes I think this world needs a little more blatant and a little less subtle.

      I hope you enjoy my reviews of the rest of the trilogy. We’ll see how “I” enjoy them as well 😀

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