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Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy,…

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, Book One) (original 1938; edition 2003)

by C.S. Lewis

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6,18691656 (3.85)156
Title:Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, Book One)
Authors:C.S. Lewis
Info:Scribner (2003), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, religious

Work details

Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis (Author) (1938)

Recently added byprivate library, BBBeauchamp, purple15emerald, blog_gal, Scorbet, rudidorn
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    markusnenadovus: Lewis is great, but Heinlein does better SF

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Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)

Having been reading so much about Tolkien over the last few years, Out Of The Silent Planet has acquired a new depth for me - especially since the hero, Ransom, is rather obviously meant to be an alternate bachelor version of Tolkien himself, free to go and explore Mars (well, to be kidnapped by an evil former schoolmate and his evil rich sponsor) without being burdened by family commitments. It is partly intended, of course, as a moral parable, a thought experiment of exploring a world which has not experienced the Fall; but I think it's interesting that Lewis does locate it in the wider sf genre precisely by invoking it scornfully (in the words of the characters) and then apologising to HG Wells in a note at the very end. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 2, 2014 |
C. S. Lewis' first book in his sci-fi trilogy is a very well-written piece of, what on first glance is, pulp fiction, but what makes it special is its theological backdrop and extensive elements of mediaeval fiction. Powerfully imagined, this first book sets the scene for further explorations in Lewis' unique cosmology and is a good read for both fans of sci-fi and Lewis' work. I am anticipating reading the next two books. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
The first half is interesting if a little dated. The second half makes up for the dated sci-fi setting by a really interesting philosophical look at the spiritual realm of Earth from an otherwordly perspective. ( )
  iamjonlarson | Apr 24, 2014 |
Originally posted at FanLit.

You probably know that C.S. Lewis was a Christian apologist who wrote many popular books — both fiction and nonfiction — which explain or defend the Christian faith. His most famous work, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, some of the most-loved stories in all of fantasy fiction and children’s literature, is clearly Christian allegory. Likewise, his science fiction SPACE TRILOGY can be read as allegory, though it’s subtle enough to be enjoyed by those who don’t appreciate allegorical stories and just want to read a thoughtful science fiction adventure with an intelligent hero.

In Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in the trilogy, Dr. Elwin Ransom, a Cambridge philology professor, is kidnapped and taken by spaceship to Mars, which is called Malacandra by the alien species that live there. Suspecting that he’s about to be offered as a sacrifice, Ransom escapes from his captors and must survive by himself on the strange planet. There, he is enchanted by the beautifully foreign scenery, meets aliens who are nothing like humans, learns about the origin of the species on Malacandra and Earth and, finally, morosely reflects on the fallen nature of mankind.

I liked everything about Out of the Silent Planet — the descriptions of the spherical space ship and the planet of Malacandra, the idea that space is full and living instead of empty and dead, the development of Ransom from a conservative college professor to a daring space traveler, the interesting metaphysics and the ideas about the perception of light and movement, the allegorical explanation of humanity’s greed and selfishness which suggests a spiritual origin for social Darwinism. Best of all was Ransom’s translation of one of his captor’s speeches about human destiny for aliens who previously had no concept of human ambition and aggression.
It’s easy to see that C.S. Lewis loved language, mythology and knowledge, and that he was ashamed of much human behavior. The Christian allegory is easy to see, too, if you’re willing, but discussing that here would require spoilers and remove all the mystery, so I will leave that for you to discover.

Out of the Silent Planet was written in 1938, long before we knew enough about Mars to realize that Lewis’s story is impossible. However, Lewis did his best with the knowledge he had, settling his Martians in the trench-like canals and leaving the surface dead. Generally, the story doesn’t feel as old as it is.

I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version, 5½ hours long, which was read by Geoffrey Howard who I liked very much. I look forward to listening to him read the next book in the SPACE TRILOGY, Perelandra. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Out of the Silent Planet
By C.S. Lewis
Publisher: Scribner Classics
Published In: NYC, NY
Date: 1996
Pgs: 158


Dr. Ransom walking tour is interupted by an abduction to the red planet Malacandra. Abducted not by aliens, but by a malevolent physicist and a former classmate. Intent on using Ransom as a sacrifice, they fail to account for Ransom’s drive to elude them and return to Earth. This is Dr. Ransom’s adventure.

fiction, space, science fiction, the classics

Why this book:
This fell into my hand as I was walking about the library.

This Story is About:
courage, doing the right thing, greed

Favorite Character:
Dr. Ransom is a great character. He shows his nobility in the opening when he allows the stranger along the side of the road to charge him with the task of sending her son home to her from the Rise where she fears his boss has kept him later than agreed.

Least Favorite Character:
Devine is a smarmy chickenshit jackass. His type is a pox on humanity. And always, you have to wonder when they are going to try to stab you in the back. He’s the breadcrumb topping of evil.

Weston is more of a cypher hiding behind the lens flare that is Devine.

Character I Most Identified With:
Ransom as the central narrative character is very likable and hearing the story through his voice leads me to identify with him easily.

The Feel:
Lewis’ prose gives a sense of wonder.

Favorite Scene:
When the Hross rises from the water causing Ransom to plotz.

When Weston goes all “white man’s burden” and colonialism trying to explain why the Malacandrans should welcome their conquest by humans and gets laughed at by the collected retinue of Oyarsa.

The road between Natterby and Sterk; The Rise manor house; the ship; Malacandra;

The book flows along at a good clip.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
There is a bit of a cheat at the end. Lewis goes deus ex machina at the end. The ship is recessional and losing space in its journey home. The Moon and Earth are slipping away. And Ransom makes his peace with oncoming death as they are going to run out of air and the self destruct that Oyarsa built into their ship to keep Devine and Weston from returning is a running clock nearing its end. And...Ransom awakens and the ship is on Earth and it’s raining against the hull of the ship and Devine and Weston have run off. So...a miracle happens and they are on Earth.

Last Page Sound:
And then...a miracle happens.

The denouement where “Ransom” is exchanging letters with C.S. Lewis is very good.

Author Assessment:
Excellent stuff.

Editorial Assessment:
Tightly done.

Did the Book Cover Reflect the Story:
A raft in a bay. It gives us a sense of how lost Ransom really is.

Hmm Moments:
I did have a “don’t drink the drink” Alice in Wonderland/GHB moment when Devine left the room to get him some “water” for his drink.

When the sorn Augray shows Ransom the distant Thulcandra through his telescope device and Ransom recognizes Europe and eastern North America.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
real classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
It could be.

Casting call:
John Rhys Davies could be Weston would like to see him opposite Affleck as Devine.

...and if we go that route, Damon as Ransom.

Would recommend to:
kids, genre fans ( )
  texascheeseman | Apr 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chu, KaiCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koven, BrookeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symancyk, BernardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my brother W. H. L. a life-long critic of the space-and-time story
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The last drops of the thundershower had hardly ceased falling when the Pedestrian stuffed his map into his pocket, settled his pack more comfortably on his tired shoulders, and stepped out from the shelter of a large chestnut-tree into the middle of the road.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743234901, Paperback)

The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Dr. Ransom, a noted philologist, is kidnapped and flown by spaceship to Malacandra (Mars) where he flees his human captors and establishes communication with the planet's extraordinary inhabitants. What he learns galvanizes his attempt to return to Earth with a message of great urgency.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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