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That Hideous Strength (1945)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Space Trilogy (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,101821,028 (3.78)1 / 136
The final book in C.S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom. The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will. A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to "recondition" society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science. The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.… (more)
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» See also 136 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The Space Trilogy:

A guy named Ransom gets kidnapped by two scientists and taken to Mars. In the second book he voluntarily goes to Venus, and the third one takes place on Earth with some Arthurian mythos woven in. I really enjoyed the first book and would recommend it, but the second one turns into a really long philosophical debate in the middle and the third one is pretty much long and boring all the way through. My recommendation would be to read the first, skim the second, and skip the third. ( )
  vvbooklady | Jan 1, 2022 |
"...and great words like castles came out of his mouth."

There were several times i came near deducting marks here. The main characters didn't really do anything in the story. There's a big exposition dump in the epilogue which feels like it should have been in the prologue. Half of it is hilarious and i don't think its meant to be and then there's the female question which we'll get to.

Nevertheless, this is some of the best writing i've seen from Lewis. Filled with memorable characters and great descriptions.

Its quite hard to describe because it feels like a clash of many different genres. Most of this comes down to the bad guys.
At first i found them very scary, some seemed Kafka-esque others Orwellian, then you find that the group consists of every type of evil trope. The corporate evil, politically evil, religious evil, police state, mad scientists etc. Etc.
This is where any sense of horror collapses. There’s just too many genres of bad guy all in one place so that it becomes absurd rather than scary.
Each bad guy is also convinced that their plan is the real master plan and they’re just using the others to get to their particular goal. After the third or fourth time you run into yet another new evil scheme, it loses its punch :lol .
Any sense of suspense isn’t helped by the evil plans their hatching not even getting off the drawing board. By about half-way it had become a complete farce but a highly entertaining one :) .

But i can’t avoid the female elephant in the room. So what seems at first like the main character is a woman and a very well drawn one. In a loveless marriage, intelligent, independent and certainly with ambitions beyond being a housewife or mother.
However Lewis only spends so much time crafting this character so that what he says next cannot be dismissed as mere ignorance, he then goes on to state his religious beliefs.

Which boil down to, god is a big phallus in the sky and he only gave women legs so they could walk from the bedroom to the kitchen.
Lewis expresses this very politely and almost apologetically, after all it isn’t his fault god is like this, it just is... pardon me a moment while i vomit.
Anyway, obviously i have not rated this book on its morality.

Far more in everyway than the previous two oddities in this very odd trilogy.

"Your husband is waiting for you... You will have no more dreams. Have children instead."

The above quote in context does not mean what it sounds like, but on a subtext level it means exactly what it sounds like :| . ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
She had begun by dreaming simply of a face. It was a foreign looking face, bearded and rather yellow, with a hooked nose. Its expression was frightening because it was frightened. The mouth sagged open and the eyes stared as she had seen other men's eyes stare for a second or two when some sudden shock had occurred. But this face seemed to be meeting a sudden shock that lasted for hours.
  taurus27 | Nov 12, 2021 |
I think this may be a new favorite. It felt like a deeper, more thoughtful, longer version of [b:The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare|184419|The Man Who Was Thursday A Nightmare|G.K. Chesterton|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1403181403s/184419.jpg|195447].

I read a review by a favorite writer, Connie Willis, that deemed this novel anti-feminist. I actually think it is one of C. S. Lewis's most feminist books. After all it is Jane who has the special gift, Jane who doesn't succumb to N.I.C.E., and Jane is writing a thesis. His goal isn't for her to be barefoot in the kitchen. And, for all the Director's talk about marriage, he really doesn't stick to his guns after the big event anyway. Most of his other books seem to ignore women altogether, or it is a woman vs. woman thing like [b:Till We Have Faces|17343|Till We Have Faces|C.S. Lewis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1381692105s/17343.jpg|2072983].

Along with my enjoyment of Lewis's exploration of Jane's character, I loved his accurate portrayal of University PhD's at the beginning. My professors would talk similarly about their colleagues (never mentioning names, of course).

I also loved the old, but relevant, comments on "Fake News." Very timely. :)

Finally, it was absolutely brilliant. I will be digesting this book for years and will probably need another couple of reads to really get it. There's so much to think and talk about and write about. Definitely one of his best in my opinion. Read it and tell me what you think.

[Exit pursued by bear] ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Case 13 shelf 4
  semoffat | Aug 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, KunikoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symancyk, BernardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
THE SHADOW OF THAT HYDDEOUS STRENGTH
SAX MYLE AND MORE IT IS OF LENGTH.
(Sir David Lyndsay: from Ane Dialog, describing the Tower of Babel)
Dedication
To J. McNeill
First words
"Matrimony was ordained, thirdly," said Jane Studdock to herself, "for the mutual society, help, and comfort that the one ought to have of the other."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Tortured Planet is an abridged version of That Hideous Strength. Please do not combine them.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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The final book in C.S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom. The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will. A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to "recondition" society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science. The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.

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