Out of the Silent Planet

C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent PlanetFirst published in 1938.  First part in Lewis’s Space Trilogy.

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I have started this book many times, and never finished the first (short) chapter.  Well, I finally read the darn thing.  I’m a big fan of Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and so you would think I would have read these books, too.

Silent Planet is very similar and dissimilar to Chronicles.  Lewis’s distinctive writing style is evident.  It is one of his earlier books, 12 years before Narnia.  The plot is very slow, and the characters are not all that interesting (both unlike Narnia), but the detailed descriptions of the new world are wonderful, if you can slow down enough to enjoy them (which was hard for me). 

The pages turn quite slowly until one particular chapter toward the end.  The climax is spectacular, perhaps in part because of the contrast.  There is certainly strong parallels with Lewis’s worldview.  He uses this fiction in the same manner as Narnia, but with a somewhat different objective.

Lewis lovers (and science fiction lovers) should read the book, others should stick with his more popular works.  There is plenty of Lewis that is easier to swallow.  This one takes some perseverance.  I’ll probably read it again, but not for another couple years, I think.

1.  Have you read this one?  What did you think?

2.  Have you read the others in the Space Trilogy?  Should I read them, too?

3.  Have you read Narnia?  What did you think?  Compare and contrast.

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One response to “Out of the Silent Planet

  1. 1. Loved it, though I admit it wasn’t great.

    2. Perelandra, the second in the trilogy, has an absolutely mind-blowing few chapters. It will give you chills. Once you read it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

    The first half of That Hideous Strength was so confusing to me that there were several points at which I actually questioned whether it really was part of the series. About halfway through, though, it starts to make sense and by the end it is a fitting conclusion.

    I’d rate the series on the whole as being just short of great.

    3. I’ve read the whole set of 7 Narnia books at least 10 to 15 times. Some individual volumes that are my favorites–LWW, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader–I’ve read many more times than that. You hit the nail on the head that the characters in Narnia are far more (and more consistently) compelling. I think Lewis achieved precisely what he intended to in setting forth a “supposal.”

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