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Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis []



In this early work of science fiction (Out of the Silent Planet was first published in 1938) C.S. Lewis tells the story of a philology professor, much reminiscent of Lewis’s friend J.R.R Tolkien, who, while exploring a mysterious house in the English countryside, is kidnapped and brought to the mysterious planet of Malacandra aboard a strange space–going vehicle. The professor escapes his captors soon after they land, and he finds himself terrified in an unfamiliar world. His curiosity overcomes his fear, however, when he discovers that many of the native creatures possess the ability to speak and share a common tongue. During his time on Malacandra the professor learns much about the planet and its inhabitants, but even more about his own home, the Earth, and the place of human kind in the universe.

This is an engaging tale, characterized by a sense of wonder and enthusiasm which is too often lacking in newer works of speculative fiction. It is as much a fantasy story as it is science fiction, and with its exploration of the nature of good and evil and its Christian inspired themes it has some resemblance to Lewis’s more familiar Chronicles of Narnia, though it is a more serious, more adult book in many ways.

Out of the Silent Planet is a quick, enjoyable read, that provides much food for thought to those who want it, without weighing down those who would rather do without. It’s also the first book in a trilogy; those who enjoy it will want to continue with it’s successors Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

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