Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out of the Silent Planet // Book Review

Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis
* * * * {four of five stars}

The adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom begin in C. S. Lewis' acclaimed Out of the Silent Planet, first published in 1943. As the novel opens, Ransom is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The men plan to use Ransom as a human sacrifice, but he escapes and must fight for his life, and the chance to return to Earth, while exploring a world that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and startling in its similarity. 

I have not read much science fiction in my reading "career," and so don't have much experience to judge this book against. I can't tell you if it was written better than most si-fi out there, (although I am biased and consider Mr. Lewis to be an exceptional author, so my guess is that it is much better than much of the other works out there.) and I can't tell you if his creatures were more real or stranger. 
     I suppose everyone has dreamed of aliens, or creatures on other planets at sometime during their life. The idea of other worlds besides our own in this universe is exciting, and mystifying. (i don't pretend to believe in life on other planets, however. It is simply a fun idea.) I had no preconceived ideas for Out of the Silent Planet, other than my older brother's profuse recommendations, and the added enthusiasm of a friend whom I asked, and I saw a copy on my sister-in-law's bookshelf and borrowed it.

Out of the Silent Planet was exciting, tremendously interesting and full of wonderful dialog. I do enjoy description a lot. I love to be able to picture a place, event or person in my head from the word pictures the author has painted across the pages. But a story can't thrive on description, and dialog adds interaction, and an element of being right there in the moment. There were beautiful conversations in this book, (Moments between Ransom and various creatures, in which they are explaining elements of their life and he is incredulous at the simplicity of their ways.) I found myself holding a little aloof from some of the creatures, because they seemed particularly strange but once Ransom really started to interact with them and I realized they were kind and caring in their own way I warmed up to them. They just sounded so weird.

All things considered, I enjoyed reading this and am eagerly looking forward to tackling the other two books in the Space Trilogy soon. I have been informed that they are both considerably stranger than the first, but are well worth reading. I have high hopes for them.

Recommended for readers 15+
the content is fine, besides a little suspense, but the ideas expressed are deep and require thought, and there are a lot of heavy description, making it a hard read for younger readers.

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