Friday, November 30, 2007

C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy {A Series Review}

The Space Trilogy. An amazing trilogy that I absolutely loved reading. It was utterly unlike anything I expected, yet still managed to far surpass any expectation and pre-conceived notion about the text.

Each book in the trilogy can be read separately, or in the larger unit, which is what I did.

Out of the Silent Planet was very interesting and made me think about humans in a different light. The fear of humans is largely addressed in this book. And such descriptions!

"...the stars, thick as daises on an uncut lawn, reigned perpetually with no cloud, no moon, no sunrise to dispute their sway."

"There, totally immersed in a bath of pure ethereal colour and of unrelenting though unwounding brightness, stretched his full length and with eyes half closed in the strange chariot that bore them, faintly quivering, through depth after depth of tranquility far above the reach of night, he felt his body and mind daily rubbed and scoured and filled with new vitality."

"They had the experiences of a pregnant woman, but magnified almost beyond endurance."

"Suddenly the lights of the Universe seemed to be turned down. As if some demon had rubbed the heaven's face with a dirty sponge, the splendour in which they had lived for so long blenched to a pallid, cheerless and pitiable grey."

"He saw nothing but colours - colours that refused to form themselves into things."

"Nothing could be more disgusting than the one impression; nothing more delightful than the other. It all depended on the point of view."

"Bent creatures are full of fears."

I have a general review here with more quotes - it really is breathtaking how amazing Lewis is with words.

Perelandra - what an amazing book - and packed with such theology! I wanted to turn around and read it again as soon as I was done. However, I felt much like Random with the fruit and the bubbles. Is it right? Should such goodness be indulged in so soon after finishing it? I'm not one of those people to read certain books (save the Bible) repeatedly and continually, or even once a year. This book, however, might become an exception. I want to get my hands around what Lewis was communicating because it presented a different way of looking at some doctrinal points I had not previously thought about.

That Hideous Strength was interesting. The Medieval feel to it was nice (I like Arthur and the Round Table and such) and I thought Lewis did a good job of bringing tension to the table and keep your emotions tied up. In a good way, of course, it made you want to keep reading - not stop reading. It also references Numinor. If you aren't familiar with Numinor, read the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. I thought that was nifty, it gave Middle-earth and the Trilogy a more "real" feel because there was a cross-reference. All in all, though, this is definitely my least favorite in the trilogy. I think Lewis tried to pack a little much into the book (it's twice as thick as the others, and a much slower read.)

Really all of the books were wonderful and I highly recommend them. Middle school-aged and above should be able to appreciate the Space Trilogy. If you can only read one of them, for some reason, I would suggest Perelandra, mainly because of the depth of thought in that book. I would recommend Out of the Silent Planet if you want to reawaken a sense of wonder, and I would submit That Hideous Strength to you if you were interested in modern development and a modern good vs evil in a somewhat more applicable way as it deals post-fall instead of pre-fall as in Perelandra.

C.S. Lewis is just an amazing writer. I have never read something of his I did not enjoy. Not that I've read everything he wrote, but I have read a decent portion of it. If you ever want to be challenged and read something understandable and well written, pick up C.S. Lewis.

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