Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

I had never heard of this book or the trilogy that it is a part of (often referred to as the Ransom Trilogy) before I saw this at Joseph-Beth. Lewis is a little hit-or-miss for me, but I thought I would give this a try.

The main character of Out of the Silent Planet is Dr. Ransom. He is kidnapped by two rouge scientists, one of which he knew nominally when at Cambridge, and taken by spaceship to a planet called Malacandra. Ransom is unsure of their purposes, completely in the dark about what they plan to do with him. Shortly after landing on Malacandra, Ransom is able to elude his captors and escape into the wilds of the unknown planet. It is not long, however, before he befriends Hyoi. Hyoi is a hrossa, one of the many sentient species that inhabit Malacandra. The hrossa are very in tune with the natural world that surrounds them. Unlike Ransom's captors, Westin and Devine, who are driven by their desire for a valuable mineral that they found on Malacandra. Ransom lives with the hrossa for quite a long time, learning their language and much about the Malacandrian world, and visiting with Oyarsa, the diety that looks over the Malacandria. A chance encounter with Westin and Devine results in utter chaos, and in their hasty return to Earth. With the passage of time, Ransom begins to doubt his experience, chalking it up to some delusion or vivid fever dream. Then he receives a letter from a colleague (who we find out is the narrator of the book) that inadvertently restores his faith in his Malacandrian adventure.

This was not at all what I expected from this book. I can't imagine that it was received well by Christians in 1943, when it was first published. There is more than a tinge of animism in the book and while Oyarsa is like Christ for another world-- the protector god who steps in when the people of his world need him. The intriguing storyline of Out of the Silent Planet was full of big-picture ideas. I highly recommend this book.


Nihil Novum said...

Peralandra is even stranger.

Nihil Novum said...

Also, this blog is cooking today.