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Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet (1938)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Space Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,953129651 (3.85)211
Recently added byprivate library, WPuryear, petermoccia, jd313, Heinrock, anniebug02, Scrappy21, Barcudi, Perlsowisdom
  1. 30
    That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis (atrautz)
  2. 20
    Perelandra by C. S. Lewis (atrautz, KayCliff)
  3. 20
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 11
    Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein (markusnenadovus)
    markusnenadovus: Lewis is great, but Heinlein does better SF

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» See also 211 mentions

English (124)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
This is a tiny book, it took FOREVER.

I was/am a huge fan of the Narnia books, and I've always wanted to check out some of his other writing. I figured that his Space Trilogy would be a good start. These books seem so beloved and reading Out of the Silent Planet I could see how its been an influence and philosophically its more than sound enough to make up for the ridiculous *scare quotes* science.


The whole time I was reading this I was restless, or as it felt like at the time, as I was being patiently lectured to. And this wasn't a restlessness that came from having beliefs or viewpoints being challenged, not that some of it's not relevant, it is, but Lewis' writing and his Dr. Ransom were boring. The only time I had any fun was when I felt smugly superior to Dr. Ransom when he was going off about the sublimity of being bathed in the naked, unfiltered celestial rays of Heaven on the trip to Malacandra.

I won't be reading Perelandra any time soon but I doubt it treats with Dr. Ransom's slow painful death from radiation sickness. As it was by the end of this book he'd hardly lost any hair or teeth at all. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
-- OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET is author's first book in a space trilogy. Protagonist is fictional philologist Dr. Elwin Ransom. In SILENT PLANET author travels unwillingly to Malacandra or Mars. In the trilogy Earth is referred to as Thulcandra. -- ( )
  MinaIsham | Jan 3, 2019 |
I haven't read this in years, but it is actually just as a remember. More philosophy than adventure, it takes the reader through a world were sin doesn't exsist. It is an interesting idea. Not for the reader looking for action, but if you enjoy thought-provoking works, read it. ( )
  empress8411 | Dec 31, 2018 |
My rating isn't in regards to writing style or anything along those lines, but purely story. Lewis' writing is well and understandable. The story, however, I felt generally uneventful. I expected a good development and pacing but the novel as a whole was just bland. When you finally get the revelation where the author more directly explains everything you realize what it all was. Another metaphor about then-society and its relation to God.

Now I understand this is C.S. Lewis and that's his thing. But I had been told by so many people that it wasn't like Narnia. It had more depth and something beyond that. So perhaps I was misled by the people I discussed the novel with earlier. The one star rating from me is primarily regarding the growing lack of interest I felt as the novel went on. I was never put off, per say. But it's hard to explain.

Either way I don't think its a terrible adventure. Many parts of it are very creative and fun to read and think about. As such I also think this book may very well be someone else's cup of tea. So, honestly, unless you're like me and want more than a metaphorical adventure regarding mankind and God, I'd take a look. ( )
  DylanWolters | Dec 18, 2018 |
Nearly everyone has read C.S. Lewis’s iconic series The Chronicles of Narnia. Despite Lewis being a fairly prolific author in his time, I’ve never read anything else by him, living in the delusion that there really wasn’t much more that he’s written, or, perhaps, anything worth reading. Recently, I stumbled upon the first and third books in his science fiction series at a used book sale. Out of the Silent Planet is a short but dense book that is absolutely worth reading.

The main character of Out of the Silent Planet is Dr. Ransom, an academic who begins a walking tour of England and is searching for a place to stay the night when the story opens. Things quickly go downhill for him when he is kidnapped by a mysterious, aging physicist and brought to a planet called Malacandra. But Dr. Ransom isn’t too keen on being a human sacrifice and escapes into the wilds of this unknown world, his chances of ever making it home becoming slimmer and slimmer.

Like Lewis's more famous series, this, too, is steeped in allegory, not all of which I am convinced I recognized. Despite just finishing this novel, I feel like I should reread it. More than that, I want to. Some of the allegory is hard to miss. But even then, I feel as if it were crafted more finely than some of his children’s series. While I love Narnia, it can feel as if you’re being hit with an allegorical sledgehammer at times when read as an adult. Maybe it was because it was my first time reading the book, but I felt that wasn’t always the case here.

C.S. Lewis is a wonderful writer, his sentences lyrical, his descriptions near perfect. This is denser than the Chronicles of Narnia. Descriptions are more detailed, and there are more of them. The native tongue of the peoples of Malacandra is described and related in parts, but not quite to the sort of extent someone such as Tolkien goes.

While I did love this novel, it is rather dense for being only 158 pages. A lot of a time is spent on Malacandra. And a lot of that time is spent with Dr. Ransom as he explores and gets to know the peoples and ways of this other world. There is forward momentum, but it can be bogged down in descriptions, beautiful and lyrical as they are. It also took me longer to read than many other novels take me, again despite the page count. While this doesn’t detract from the story in any way, it is something to keep in mind if you were looking for a quick read.

Ransom beings as a likeable, but perhaps timid character. While likeable he does have his flaws. However, there is more character growth than I had initially expected. We see Ransom grow throughout the tale. The way he treats the Hross, one of the native peoples of the planet, changes. This is slight, and it takes several chapters, but it is there. Where he referred to the Hross as ‘its’ they become ‘he’s’ and ‘she’s’, real people with real lives and cultures instead of the very 19th century idea of the 'uncultured savage'. When we were first introduced to these peoples through Ransom’s eyes I was afraid the story would fall into this stereotype. It was something I really didn’t want to happen, partially because I have such fond memories of reading the Chronicles of Narnia. However, this really never happened. If anything, the opposite occurred.

And the world building! Malacandra is a strange and wondrous place, at once so very unlike Earth, but pleasantly reminiscent at times as well. Its history, as much as we hear in this novel, at least, is rather fascinating. We learn a lot about the Hross, but I want to learn more about the two other races which inhabit Malacandra as well. I want more about the beginnings of the world, and the dead but still present surface world, an ever silent reminder of the horrors of the past and the fleetingness of life.

The ending is rather brilliant as well. There is an epilogue, called a Postscript here, which is supposed to be part of a letter to the narrator of the story. The one or two times the narrator breaks the fourth wall begin to come into focus, and this narrator feels more like another character within the tale. There are hints of more to come, though I can’t begin to predict what would happen in the next book.

Despite there being two more books in the series, the ending feels like a real conclusion. Sure, there are hints that there are more, or there could be more, but the ending is very satisfying. I would be completely happy if this were a standalone novel; it doesn’t necessarily need more. I really appreciate books like this. Too often I find books in a series just sort of stop instead of providing any real closure at the end. Also, if you are hesitant about dedicating yourself to reading yet another series, you don’t have to be. This can definitely be read as a standalone novel, and as it is the first in the series no background information or early world building will be missed.

There’s something magical about discovering a ‘new’ book by an old favorite author. Out of the Silent Planet was a little dense, but a truly wonderful read. I’m definitely going to have to find a copy of Perelandra, the second book in this series. If you like C.S. Lewis’s other work, or like stories with a lot of in-depth world building, this is for you. If you don’t like heavily descriptive writing this book may not be the one for you.

This and more reviews can be found on my blog Looking Glass Reads. ( )
  kateprice88 | Jul 19, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:08 -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)

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