Out of the Silent Planet

I finally picked up a book by C.S. Lewis that I have been wanting to read for a number of years. It is the first in his Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet. Lewis’ imagination was obviously apparent in his Chronicles of Narnia but I think is more fully expressed in his creation as described in Silent Planet.

But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now - now that the very name ‘Space’ seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam. He could not call it ‘dead’; he felt life puring into him from it every moment. How indeed should it be otherwise, since out of this ocean the worlds and all their life had come? He had thought it barren: he saw now that it was the womb of worlds, whose blazing and innumerable offspring looked down nightly even upon the earth with so many eyes - and here, with how many more! No: Space was the wrong name. Older thinkers had been wiser when they named it simply the heavens - the heavens which declared the glory - the

‘happy climes that ly
Where day never shuts his eye
Up in the broad fields of the sky.’

He quoted Milton’s words to himself lovingly, at this time and often.

Good Lord, what a creative mind! This first in the series introduces us to different possibilities in our own solar system. New creatures and ways of life and beliefs. An adventure Dr. Ransom is thrust upon where he is both taught and teacher.

He [Ransom] had decided from the outset that he would be quite frank, for he now felt that it would be not hnau, and also that it would be unavailing, to do otherwise. They were astonished at what he had to tell them of human history - of war, slavery and prostitution.

‘It is because they have no Oyarsa,’ said one of the pupils.

‘It is because every one of them wants to be a little Oyrasa himself,’ said Augray.

‘They cannot help it,’ said the old sorn. ‘There must be rule, yet how can creatures rule themselves? Beasts must be ruled by hnau and hnau by eldila and eldila by Maleldil. These creatures have no eldila. They are like one trying to lift himself by his own hair - or one trying to see over a whole country when he is one a level with it - like a female trying to beget young on herself.’

Interesting, eh? The book is a quick read and very well worth it as Clive never dissapoints! I am looking forward to the second in the series, Perelandra. Check it out! [Edit: you can now see my post on Perelandra or That Hideous Strength.]

Categories: Literature
  1. July 21st, 2006 at 18:53 | #1

    I liked them all, but seriously they’re his essays, only on different planets.

    /not jealous of his imagination or writing skill, really
    //okay, really

  2. July 22nd, 2006 at 18:20 | #2

    If I had a smidge of his imagination and writing ability I might have taken more of an interest in my english classes…

  3. July 24th, 2006 at 05:01 | #3

    From one Matt Jones to another, just dropping by to say hello! :-)


  4. July 24th, 2006 at 15:35 | #4

    Heh, well hello to you too. There seem to be a lot of us out there!

  5. July 25th, 2006 at 06:19 | #5

    Great book isn’t it? Makes me jealous when I read such brilliant writers … *sigh*

  6. Erin
    July 28th, 2006 at 22:32 | #6

    I JUST finished reading this one and am now on Perelandra. I didn’t expect so much depth in one little fiction book…

  7. July 29th, 2006 at 17:10 | #7

    Now doubt, it has been such a fun read and I am really enjoying Perelandra now too!

  1. August 7th, 2006 at 15:28 | #1
  2. October 12th, 2006 at 01:34 | #2

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