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Perelandra (1943)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Space Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,839106938 (3.84)1 / 185
Fantasy. Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Perelandra is a planet of pleasure, an unearthly, misty world of strange desires, sweet smells, and delicious tastes, where beasts are friendly and naked beauty is unashamed, a new Garden of Eden, where the story of the oldest temptation is enacted in an intriguingly new way. Here, in the second part of C. S. Lewis' acclaimed Ransom Trilogy, Dr. Ransom's adventures continue against the backdrop of a religious allegory that, while it may seem quaint in its treatment of women today, nonetheless shows the capability of science to be an evil force tempting a ruler away from the path that has produced a paradisiacal kingdom. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order, or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man?

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 The Green Dragon: Reading Perelandra in June34 unread / 34Majel-Susan, July 2020

» See also 185 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
Imaginative and uncomfortable. Valuable insights into the spiritual reality. ( )
  trrpatton | Mar 20, 2024 |
Just a fun classic sci-fi/fairy tale with morality thrown in for good measure. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
Pretty good sci-fi, but a bit too didactic. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 12, 2023 |
I did enjoy parts of this, I really did, but I think I enjoy C.S. Lewis's writing more for what he has to say and out of spiritual curiosity rather than his ability to write stories. This was basically (although Lewis claims none of the characters to be allegorical) a space allegory for the story of Adam and Eve. The differences being that the Adam and Eve characters are from Venus, God is an alien and the snake is a possessed space colonizer. The main character is a man from Tellus (Earth) commissioned by a divine entity to prevent the same thing happening at the creation of Perelandra (Venus) than has already happened on his home planet.

Unfortunately, this drags. The book opens with an interesting chapter followed by 30-40 pages of tiring (although well written) descriptions of the cosmic scenery. Shortly after this there are interesting conversations had between the characters for many pages exploring the subjects of philosophy, sexuality and spirituality. This is all quite interesting but then again, that's all it is. Quite interesting. And I'm not really sure what to make of the end... despite this, I will be reading the last book in Lewis's space trilogy (not sci-fi). I'm a bit of a sucker for those little nuggets of gold he inadvertently leaves in his stories, no matter how messy or silly the overall product sometimes seems to be. Maybe I should stop reading his fiction and move onto his apologetic writings... ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
After revisiting the first book in the Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, I decided to do the same with its sequel, Perelandra. I finished the free Audible version (included with membership) this morning.

I do not recommend reading this book as a standalone novel.

The premise: there are two native sentient beings on Perelandra (Venus), and Ransom is once again chosen to visit this planet to intervene in a cosmic battle for the souls of those beings as well as the future of the planet and its creatures. Weston, villain of Out of the Silent Planet, is present as well – or, his body is. This battle echoes the Genesis story of The Fall. Lewis is a Christian apologist and the story reflects that, but I’m recounting my experience of the book, with no respect to Christian theology. I believe readers who are traditional Christians will find additional depths of meaning, particularly in the last chapter.

Perelandra also has mermen, mermaids, floating islands, sweet fruits, bubble-trees, and friendly seahorses as well as other fantastical creatures, on land and sea. The sky has a golden glow but the sun is not visible; nor are there stars at night. It is the Yin to Malacandra’s Yang (Malacandra is also known as Mars – see Out of the Silent Planet) although Lewis doesn’t characterize it as such; he frames the energies of the planets as feminine (Perelandra) and masculine (Malacandra).

I didn’t find this book as engaging as Planet the first time I read it, and that has not changed, but I could chalk that up to listening instead of reading. Lewis himself is much more present in this book as a first-person narrator; he visits his colleague Ransom and, after agreeing to attend his return to Earth, helps Ransom depart for Perelandra. Lewis is then present for Ransom’s return, and recounts Ransom’s experiences on that planet. At this point the novel reads like a 3rd person narrative, but Lewis occasionally pops in as a character to remind us that this is really an implied 1st person narrative – much like reading a letter aloud. As such, the reader expects that Lewis will again speak in his own voice at the end of his recounting of Ransom’s story. He does not, so the end of the story feels quite abrupt. I’m sure there’s a story behind that, but it just feels like Lewis is over it.

Some possibly true backtsory: Ransom may be based on J.R.R. Tolkien, who was Lewis’ friend and colleague.

As always, narrator Geoffrey Howard (the late Ralph Cosham) provides a pleasant and well-modulated listening experience. ( )
  CatherineB61 | May 31, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, KunikoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, GeoffreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symancyk, BernardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Some Ladies at Wantage
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As I left the railway station at Worchester and set out on the three-mile walk to Ransom's cottage, I reflected that no one on that platform could possibly guess the truth about the man I was going to visit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Also known as Voyage to Venus
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Fantasy. Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Perelandra is a planet of pleasure, an unearthly, misty world of strange desires, sweet smells, and delicious tastes, where beasts are friendly and naked beauty is unashamed, a new Garden of Eden, where the story of the oldest temptation is enacted in an intriguingly new way. Here, in the second part of C. S. Lewis' acclaimed Ransom Trilogy, Dr. Ransom's adventures continue against the backdrop of a religious allegory that, while it may seem quaint in its treatment of women today, nonetheless shows the capability of science to be an evil force tempting a ruler away from the path that has produced a paradisiacal kingdom. Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order, or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man?

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The story of the fall of man philosophically retold as a space adventure. An amazing allegorical work by one of England's most well-known authors.
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