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Out of the Silent Planet

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Space Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,603150620 (3.83)1 / 246
In the first book of C.S. Lewis's legendary science fiction trilogy, Dr. Ransom is kidnapped and spirited by spaceship to the mysterious red planet of Malandra. He escapes and goes on the run, jeopardizing both his chances of ever returning to Earth and his very life. First published in 1943, this classic interplanetary fantasy continues to delight readers around the world. Written during the dark hours immediately before and during the Second World War, C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, of which Out of the Silent Planet is the first volume, stands alongside such works as Albert Camus's The Plague and George Orwell's 1984 as a timely parable that has become timeless, beloved by succeeding generations as much for the sheer wonder of its storytelling as for the significance of the moral concerns. For the trilogy's central figure, C.S. Lewis created perhaps the most memorable character of his career, the brilliant, clear-eyed, and fiercely brave philologist Dr. Elwin Ransom. Appropriately, Lewis modeled Dr. Ransom after his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkien, for in the scope of its imaginative achievement and the totality of its vision of not one but two imaginary worlds, the Space Trilogy is rivaled in this century only by Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Readers who fall in love with Lewis's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia as children, unfailingly cherish his Space Trilogy as adults; it, too, brings to life strange and magical realms in which epic battles are fought between the forces of light and those of darkness. But in the many layers of its allegory, and the sophistication and piercing brilliance of its insights into the human condition, it occupies a place among the English language's most extraordinary works for any age, and for all time. Out of the Silent Planet introduces Dr. Ransom and chronicles his abduction by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice via space ship to the planet Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Dr. Ransom escapes upon landing, though, and goes on the run, a stranger in a land that, like Jonathan Swift's Lilliput, is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity.… (more)
  1. 20
    Perelandra by C. S. Lewis (atrautz, KayCliff)
  2. 31
    That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis (atrautz)
  3. 10
    The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Similarities
  4. 21
    The Dark Tower and Other Stories by C. S. Lewis (Sylak)
    Sylak: Once you've read every book C.S. Lewis published read this one for one last treat.
  5. 10
    The Shadow and Night by Chris Walley (legendaryneo)
    legendaryneo: This is another Christian space trilogy, and one of the best series I've ever read.
  6. 11
    Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein (markusnenadovus)
    markusnenadovus: Lewis is great, but Heinlein does better SF
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» See also 246 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
What was exceptional about this text was how it turned European colonialism on its head to such an extent that the "colonizers" (or at least one of them) even noticed their (his) error. Further, the critique of science and expansion for their own sakes was a refreshing break from our science worshiping culture here in the West. This is a five star work, no doubt present. ( )
  djlinick | Jan 15, 2022 |
The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered. ( )
  Gmomaj | Jan 11, 2022 |
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 |
Edit 20/10/2020: According to wiki there's a note at the start i never read "Certain slighting references to earlier stories of this type which will be found in the following pages have been put there for purely dramatic purposes. The author would be sorry if any reader supposed he was too stupid to have enjoyed Mr. H. G. Wells's fantasies or too ungrateful to acknowledge his debt to them." end of edit.

So this is Lewis's knockoff and attack on H.G. Wells novel '[b:The First Men in the Moon|536478|The First Men in the Moon|H.G. Wells|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1311647668l/536478._SY75_.jpg|2401415]'. Its also basically Narnia in space but with even less happening. A sort of dry utopian story with religious allegory. I could have easily given it 2 stars but wanted to differentiate it from some even worse books like [b:A Journey in Other Worlds |1132373|A Journey in Other Worlds A Romance of the Future|John Jacob Astor|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1328820922l/1132373._SY75_.jpg|1119586].

Most of the fun comes from comparing it to First Men in the Moon so i;m not sure how much those who havn't read that book will get. For example, 'First Men' has two protagonists, the scientist and the business man, this book portrays them both as monsters and adds a third character the religious philologist as our hero , wow subtle :P . It also does the rather pointless postscript which 'First Men' also used (although the latter doesn't call it a postscript but it certainly feels like one) .

I'm not sure what the main idea was that this book was trying to convey perhaps it was that the human race deserves to die out, or that people should stay where god put them, or that the universe is doomed anyway so why bother trying to stay alive, or that this life is a dud but theres an afterlife so we might aswell all kill ourselves, all of which seem pretty stupid ideas. On the other hand if the whole thing is an indictment of colonialism then it works quite well :D .

There is some good stuff here i especially like a view on how something you experience is built into you for the rest of your life, although that also seemed like a allegory Lewis could use to avoid having sex with his wife again ;) .

Short and not badly written, although it certainly feels like it ripped off the writing style of Wells not just the plot, very 1890's rather than 1930's.

Edit: Changed it to 2 stars, it may not be worthless but reading it is still pretty pointless. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Oh dear.
Unlike many other readers, I loved the descriptions of Malacandra’s flora and fauna. They’re weird and wonderful. I also liked the interaction between Ransom and the Malacandrans.
But…heavy-handed allegory and lots of preaching can get tedious. It’s really too bad that Lewis and E. R. Burroughs couldn’t have collaborated on books about Mars: Lewis for the writing and Burroughs for the exciting plotting. ( )
  Matke | Nov 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chu, KaiCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, GeoffreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koven, BrookeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
S. A. Summit IncCover designersecondary 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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In the first book of C.S. Lewis's legendary science fiction trilogy, Dr. Ransom is kidnapped and spirited by spaceship to the mysterious red planet of Malandra. He escapes and goes on the run, jeopardizing both his chances of ever returning to Earth and his very life. First published in 1943, this classic interplanetary fantasy continues to delight readers around the world. Written during the dark hours immediately before and during the Second World War, C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, of which Out of the Silent Planet is the first volume, stands alongside such works as Albert Camus's The Plague and George Orwell's 1984 as a timely parable that has become timeless, beloved by succeeding generations as much for the sheer wonder of its storytelling as for the significance of the moral concerns. For the trilogy's central figure, C.S. Lewis created perhaps the most memorable character of his career, the brilliant, clear-eyed, and fiercely brave philologist Dr. Elwin Ransom. Appropriately, Lewis modeled Dr. Ransom after his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkien, for in the scope of its imaginative achievement and the totality of its vision of not one but two imaginary worlds, the Space Trilogy is rivaled in this century only by Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Readers who fall in love with Lewis's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia as children, unfailingly cherish his Space Trilogy as adults; it, too, brings to life strange and magical realms in which epic battles are fought between the forces of light and those of darkness. But in the many layers of its allegory, and the sophistication and piercing brilliance of its insights into the human condition, it occupies a place among the English language's most extraordinary works for any age, and for all time. Out of the Silent Planet introduces Dr. Ransom and chronicles his abduction by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice via space ship to the planet Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Dr. Ransom escapes upon landing, though, and goes on the run, a stranger in a land that, like Jonathan Swift's Lilliput, is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity.

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