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That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
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That Hideous Strength (1945)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Space Trilogy (3)

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Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
This is a science fiction novel that deals with quite a few issues, some of which are more science, others of which are more fiction, and several of which are neither. It is set in a small, traditional, fictional university town, which has to adjust to the arrival of a new major scientific institute which aims to take over the whole country. The two main characters are Mark, who is a research fellow at one of the colleges of the university, and Jane who is his wife. They do not have a happy marriage, and end up on opposing sides in the battle between good and evil. It turns out to be a bit more complicated than the science=bad vs nature=good dualism though, as the institute turns out to be something more like a political institute operating under the guise of science, while secretly controlled by aliens. Alongside this, they plan to resurrect Merlin and use his powers to their advantage. On the other side, Jane joins an opposition group who come from various walks of life, and are led by a mysterious character who also has interplanetary involvement.

So what is it really about then? Partly it is making a point about freedom and oppression, about love and hate, and about the goodness of human nature against the will to power, humanism vs materialism. In feel it takes a bit of Kafka in the unfathomable bureaucratic and procedural corporate goings on, a bit of Orwell, a bit of sub-HG Wells science, a tiny bit of Tom Sharpe, and some traditional science fiction mixed with historical fantasy.

While there are a lot of reasons this book could be criticised, it also has a few things to recommend it. Lewis does make a good point here about the danger of mankind’s thirst for power, with quite realistic portrayal of some of the character types that can be found. There are some excellent sections of descriptive prose, and some acute political and social observation. Indeed, it pre-empts Orwell in some of his details in 1984, though of course this is not surprising as the mechanistics of oppression and political power-mongering have their universals.

In all, this was worth reading, but had many of the faults that typically put me off from reading science fiction – stretching of credulity, occasional cheesiness, and a few over blown clichés. However there is much more to this novel than that, and it certainly has its depths across several themes– religion, psychology, politics, love, science and nature. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | Jun 19, 2019 |
-- Novel is final in Space Trilogy. Action occurs on Earth's terra firma & novel is more traditional than #2 PERELANDRA (setting is Venus) & #1 OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET (Mars). Philologist Dr. Elwin Ransom returns as a protagonist & introduces Mark & Jane Studdock as well as other "characters." The National Institute of Coordinated Experiments buys Bracton College. -- ( )
  MinaIsham | Jan 29, 2019 |
The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity.The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic dreams about a decapitated scientist, Alcasan. As Mark is drawn inextricably into the sinister organisation, he discovers the truth of his wife's dreams when he meets the literal head of Alcasan which is being kept alive by infusions of blood.Jane seeks help concerning her dreams at a community called St Anne's, where she meets their leader - Dr Ransom (the main character of the previous two titles in the trilogy). The story ends in a final spectacular scene at the N.I.C.E. headquarters where Merlin appears to confront the powers of Hell. About The Author: About the Author C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis, "Jack" to his intimates, was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. His mother died when he was 10 years old and his lawyer father allowed Lewis and his brother Warren extensive freedom. The pair were extremely close and they took full advantage of this freedom, learning on their own and frequently enjoying games of make-believe. These early activities led to Lewis's lifelong attraction to fantasy and mythology, often reflected in his writing. He enjoyed writing about, and reading, literature of the past, publishing such works as the award-winning The Allegory of Love (1936), about the period of history known as the Middle Ages. Although at one time Lewis considered himself an atheist, he soon became fascinated with religion. He is probably best known for his books for young adults, such as his Chronicles of Narnia series. This fantasy series, as well as such works as The Screwtape Letters (a collection of letters written by the devil), is typical of the author's interest in mixing religion
  JESGalway | Mar 21, 2018 |
Although written for an earlier generation, this book still speaks to us today -- something nearly impossible to do with a near-future science fiction novel. Most tend to be outdated within thirty years.

Lewis does a great job blending both science and fantasy in this last book of his Space Trilogy. He draws upon medieval characters and mythic gods to evoke deep questions that cause the reader to pause and think.

The narrator Ralph Cosham breathed even more life into the story with his the adaptation of character accents. I especially enjoyed his performance of Mr. MacPhee.

Favorite Scene: After Jane Studdock joins Mother Dimble and Mr. MacPhee in the kitchen for the first time, she inquires about a term they used.

"What is 'women's day' in the kitchen?" asked Jane of Mother Dimble.

"There are no servants here," said Mother Dimble, "and we all do the work. The women do it one day and the men the next. What? No, it's a very sensible arrangement. The Director's idea is that men and women can't do housework together without quarreling. There's something in it. Of course, it doesn't do to look at the cups too closely on the men's day, but on the whole we get along pretty well."

"But why should they quarrel?" asked Jane.

"Different methods, my dear. Men can't help in a job, you know. They can be induced to do it: not to help while you're doing it. At least, it makes them grumpy."

"The cardinal difficulty," said MacPhee, "in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns. If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, 'Put that in the other one there.' And then if you ask them, 'in where?' they say, 'in there, of course.' There is consequently a phatic hiatus." He pronounced this so as to rhyme with "get at us." ( )
  Darrell.Newton | Dec 27, 2017 |

There are far better reviews of this novel read them for their deep insights into this novel. That Hideous Strength is the third part of the only set of science fiction novels C.S. Lewis ever wrote. Although its part of a trilogy it stands well on its own. At its best science fiction allows the writer raise important questions and make comments on society. Hideous Strength does that skillfully. Lewis a devout Christian gives a unique perspective on the merger of social engineering with technological advances and theology. Many would argue that Lewis is anti-science. I disagree with this view. The scientists in this book are viewed as pawns in the hands of the men trying to do social engineering. These men are in turn being manipulated by evil spiritual beings that are the ultimate puppet masters. That Hideous Strength is Lewis's plea to look at scientific advancement and social engineering in the light of mans fallen nature. On every level Lewis asks the reader to see how evil spiritual forces can distort and counter the best intentions on those unaware. Lewis believes that unless a person an active makes choice to follow the good in the person of savior, a being of light. That persons lack of choice will put him into hands of the father of lies a being of the darkness. This not explicitly stated. The turn to evil is not one dramatic event. It is a series of small decisions that occur as person seeks their personal gain at the expense of others. This is story of Mark. Similarly the path to the savior, the light is made in the small decisions where one see their own nature as vile. They recognize their need of a savior and they make small choices against their nature in response to the savior. This is the story of Jane. On a corporate level evil is personified in the N.I.C.E, organization high organized highly focused on its goal of sweeping social change. N.I.C.E is clearly evil but many of its members are unaware of its villainy. These people see N.I.C.E’s purposes as good or neutral while being ignorant of it being anything but nice. In contrast the corporate forces for good are not presented as powerful or extremely organized or focused. The Director i.e. Professor Ransom from the earlier books, does not lead but suggests direction. He directly a motley crew of unremarkable and in one case openly skeptical individuals. Merlin's status and place in the spiritual forces of good is confused at best at first. At one point Ransom believes Merlin would reused by forces of evil. Yet in the end he gets redemption. Lewis uses this contrast between forces of good and evil to show goods ultimate triumph. As social commentary That Hideous Strength holds up well. It can be said that Lewis foresaw the merger of man with machine. His arguments against post modernism, i.e. the belief that there is not one overall social story or theory that explains the human condition, is still relevant . Lewis actively believes that the bible's story of mankind achieving redemption from evil via the death of Jesus still explains much if not all of the human condition. Although Lewis wrote in pre feminist movement times he none the less anticipated it and none less argued for the traditional roles between men and women in marriage. Beyond the social commentary Lewis writing is just good. Hideous Strength seamlessly combines various writing genres. Latin quotes on top Arthurian legends and epic poetry. There is not one wasted word in this novel. You may disagree with Lewis' point of view but you will love reading it.
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  Cataloger623 | Sep 22, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743234928, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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