Monday, May 16, 2016

The Space Trilogy

The Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength  *****
by C.S. Lewis

Overview: In the first book of the trilogy, Ransom is kidnapped by two scientists and taken to Mars where he will be offered as a human sacrifice to the gods of that planet. However, he escapes upon arrival and travels all over this strange planet meeting the local and friendly inhabitants. All the while, the scientists are still after him. He will have to somehow escape them and then how will he ever return to Earth?

The second book, Perelandra, takes place on Venus at the birth of the new planet. Just like Eve is tempted to sin in the garden, the mother of this planet is tempted to turn from God by one of the same evil scientists from the first book. Ransom must somehow save the lady from being persuaded to let death into  her new world. He is just a simple, middle-aged scholar. How will he fight this evil?

The third book, That Hideous Strength, takes place on Earth. An evil power is attempting to use science to destroy the human race as we know it. A young university fellow is slowly lured into a plot more sinister that he can imagine. His young wife joins Ransom and a few others to fight against this evil organization that her husband has joined. Merlin is awakened from a long sleep. Who's side will he join? How will Ransom and his small party go up against this huge institution taking over Britain? 

Themes: C.S. Lewis is exploring the fight between good and evil. What is evil and what is good? Who will win and how?

Positive elements: These books are some of the best written books I have ever read. Within the stories are so many truths and things to ponder about life. The stories are so original that you can never guess how they'll turn out. And the vivid descriptions place you right into the middle of a whole new world.

Negative elements: In Perelandra, there are some animals tortured, and Ransom has to fight to the death with his adversary. In the last book, there are evil spirits controlling people, murder, and torture. The book is in not graphic, but you do feel the spiritual darkness of this city. The evil characters are very evil.

Conclusion: There are only a handful of books that I enjoy rereading and these are at the top of my list. I love these books because they are well-written, great stories, and thought provoking. I enjoy books that challenge me to think along with being entertained. These aren't your normal science fiction books. So don't let the outer space setting deter you from giving them a try if this isn't your normal genre. The books in the series can be read independently, too. 

I would recommend these books to anyone, probably junior high or high school and older. Younger kids could read them but wouldn't be able to appreciate the depth of thought in them. My girls are still too young to understand the books, but I look forward to reading them together in years to come.