Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis Book Review


A Book Review of Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

When someone says C.S. Lewis, they usually think of his most famous work, The Chronicles of Narnia.  At least that is what I always think of.  I also knew he wrote some books on Christianity, such as Mere Christianity, but other than that I was clueless as to what else this famous author wrote.  So when I found the Space Trilogy ebooks on sale, I jumped at them.  Enjoy the review of the first of the trilogy!

The Good:

First, a bit of the plot.  The first book in the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, starts out following a man named Ransom on his travels through the English countryside.  He stumbles upon an old acquaintance from school and is kidnapped.   Upon awakening, he finds himself looking at the earth from space.  Some days later, he and his two captors land on a distant planet called Malacandra.  Ransom is able to escape after he overhears a plan that sounds like he is to be given to a native inhabitant as a sacrifice.   The two men who captured him had come to the planet for the “sun’s blood” that is prevalent.  The story follows Ransom’s befriending of one species of the local inhabitants, his journey to meet this mysterious deity-like ruler of the planet named Oyarsa.

The plot and details making the story are interesting—traveling to another planet, exploring the differences from the earth, learning about the three intelligent species that live on that planet and how they live together.  The three species can’t imagine fighting each other, which is really intriguing as it is almost impossible to imagine humans behaving that way.  Mr. Lewis does a good job showing that what we know is wrong and that there is more out there.

One of the main parts of the story is that humans have become “bent,” which explains why there is so much evil on earth.  Earth has been corrupted—it is a metaphor for Satan tempting the world and Adam and Eve taking a bit of the forbidden fruit.  The other planets—such as Malacandra—have been spared this evil and the first book sets up the second and third for Ransom to have a role in banishing the evil.  It is definitely a story with major Christian themes but it is really interesting and thought provoking to explore the themes through a space-travel story.

The Bad:

I read a little bit about the Space Trilogy before buying, and had heard that these books were more for adult readers, and that they encompassed some of the same themes as explored in Narnia.  I find both of those true, though because they are for adults they do not have as many of the more fun elements as in Narnia.  They still provide plenty of interesting elements, but the more child-like me missed Narnia.

The first book can be slow at times—there is no real action, such as the battles that happen in Narnia, but is more exploring and learning.  Again, it is not like Narnia except in overall themes.  I’ve started reading the second book as well, Perelandra, and it seems like it is flowing in much the same format.

The Verdict:
Read:  I would read this book, especially if you enjoy early space travel, Christian themes, or a different way of exploring common themes.

Don’t Read:  If you are expecting another Narnia and are not open to something different, don’t read this book.  The plot is slower and the fantastical elements are not quite as interesting and fun as Narnia.

Written by Heidi V

Heidi is a co-creator and writer at Definitely Not for the Birds (DNFB). She is an avid reader, a diehard Badger fan, and knows from experience that a good hike can solve almost any ailment. Follow Heidi @heidi_5 and DNFB @not4birds.m>