back to article Publisher hails CS Lewis 'space trilogy' e-book debut

Fans of CS Lewis' other sequence of novels - the 'Perelandra' trilogy, not all that stuff with furniture and leonine Christ metaphors - will be pleased to hear they're now out in e-book form. Almost 50 years after Lewis' death, in 1963, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength can be purchased from …


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  1. Ru

    "interplanetary pirates"

    Has the plot of the book changed dramatically in its conversion to electronic distribution?

    The first book involves him being effectively kidnapped by an evil scientist, and the second involves him fighting that same evil scientist. I don't recall any pirates.

    Not a lot of lions to be seen, but there's no shortage of Christian imagery and dogma. The whole spiritual nature vs evil technology plot mechanic seems to be enduring and popular, alas.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I liked his "Me-Arr Christianity", (great hook!) but I saw problems with the argument..

      If you prefer a "Mutiny on the Bounty" joke, by all means write one.

  2. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

    All of CS Lewis' work is Christian allegory. These are no more sci-fi than Christian metal is metal.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

      >>These are no more sci-fi than Christian metal is metal.

      Can you explain that phrase? What's "Christian metal"?

      Anyway I'd never heard CSL had written any SciFi, are they any good? I like the Narnia books - or liked them as a child - and his ScrewTape stuff (I am a Christian though) so how does the style compare?

      1. theModge

        Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

        "Can you explain that phrase? What's "Christian metal"?"

        Bloody awful. Try "puddle of Mud" for an example.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

          I totally missed 'metal' meaning 'music' no wonder I was confused. I didn't even know POM were Christian, but I doubt that's why they're awful - the vast majority of bands in all genres are terrible. I can see that combining a musical style based on anger and so on with a religious view about love is not going to easily work, but I'm told there are some great Christian Punk bands out there :)

      2. Scott Wheeler

        Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

        > how does the style compare?

        "Screwtape Letters" is aimed at fairly practical advice for a Christian. The trilogy is more speculative. The premise is that Mars and the Moon are older cultures than Earth, and Venus is a new creation. The Moon became entirely corrupted and dehumanised. If I remember correctly there had been war in which Mars was badly damaged. The lunar culture is bent on corrupting Earth (a major theme in That Hideous Strength, the third book). In the second, the protagonist is taken to Venus, which is at the stage of the garden of Eden, where the equivalents of Adam and Eve are confronting temptation - the question he is addressing is whether the fall of man was inevitable.

        Anyone expecting hard sci-fi will be disappointed - that's not the point of the books, any more than it is of something like "The Dispossessed". Rather he is using a larger stage to examine some questions which can't be addressed purely on Earth. I liked the books a lot, but they assume the Christian religious view in the same way as other books assume advanced technology. I'm not sure how much a non-Christian would get out of them, but as I say, I liked them.

      3. Mark Honman

        Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

        It's sci-fi as written by a professor of ancient literature, i.e. quite bookish. The plot of 'Out of the silent planet' is not unlike 'Avatar', i.e. greedy humans go and strip-mine alien planet for its wealth) and similarly has a great deal on how the alien society works.

        However the third book, 'That Hideous Strength' is a fantastic read with broad English caricatures - very funny with its observations of human nature and especially that of ladder-climbers in large organisations.

        All three of these are definitely written from a Christian worldview.

        Of Lewis' novels for adults, 'That Hideous Strength' is probably my favourite, but 'Til we have faces' while quite a difficult read draws one into an other-world (based more on Greek mythology than anything else) which has the greatest emotional impact of any of his books.

    2. Jim 59

      Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

      Much of CLS' work was influenced by his Christian Faith. Most authors are influenced by their own beliefs/philosophy/politics. How could they not be ? I wouldn't describe all his fiction as allegory though.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Misconceived idea of Lewis' work

        I am fairly sure CSL deliberately uses his books to showcase and explain Christianity through fiction. Narnia is certainly written to paraphrase significant parts of the bible.

        Tolkein is a better example of a Christian author in whose work Christian themes cannot help but come out, without him forcing it so explicitly.

  3. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

    50 years after his death...

    So only 20 more and it's public domain?

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: 50 years after his death...

      Not if Disney has anything to say about it. It'll depend on when the rat's copyright is next *supposed* to expire...

  4. Jeebus

    POD are the worst example of christian metal, also Creed, with that Scott Stamen or something guy.

    More god books where they beat evil godless people who apply science ion the only way it ever is in christian allegory, as a means to obliterate everything ever.

    Pass. Always found Lewis to be the kiddy writing to Lovecraft and his more mature and intelligent themes and writing style.

    1. Norman Hartnell

      I always found Lovecraft to be an unsatisfying read which never lived up to the hype.

    2. Harman Mogul

      'Sign of the 3rd-rate mind'

      'Ah, H.P. Lovecraft -- a sign of the third-rate mind' -- thus a friend's tutor, spotting a novel among the history books brought to his tutorial.

      No such censure for C. S. Lewis, considered one of their own at both Magdalen and Magdalene!

  5. Steve King



    As a Christian, there is a good chance you'd get the world view. It needs a bit more than that though to like these books.

    I am a Christian, and I happen to love old sci-fi (think things like Foundation, where even 50 years of technological progress have made parts of the story obviously flawed) - it just adds to the escapist charm for me. As a result the first book worked well. An enjoyable light read.

    The second is too bookish and abstract for me - I found it hard going.

    The third is darker and deeper (not in absolute terms, just by comparison), and is probably the best of the three.

    So although there is a story arc that covers all three, they read at times as if written by different people. Although I love a lot of C S Lewis' writing, I must admit that I find these three a real mixed bag.

    If you decide to give them a go, I hope you enjoy them!

    1. Jim 59

      Re: @JDX

      Comments on this forum make me want to read these 3 (on paper). I read That Hideous Strength at the age of 12, which was much too young and an odd experience. There is a right age for some books.

      Regarding Christian Music, some of it is not bad - Handel, Beethoven etc.

  6. PyLETS
    Thumb Up

    Read 'Voyage to Venus'

    Also when about 11 or 12 and probably too young fully to appreciate it. I recall some interest in it's allegories, but don't remember it very much. Have to read it again. CSL's more overtly theological works mark him out as one of the most honest and perceptive thinkers of the 20th Century, and his children's literature helped create the whole fantasy genre.

  7. Tasogare

    I have these books up on my shelf. I think they've been there since I was about twelve. This story reminds me that I should actually read them, at some point.

  8. Graham Dawson

    If anyone wants a companion to these books and the Narnia chronicles they'd do worse than to pick up a copy of "Planet Narnia" by Michael Ward. It discusses the underlying imagery of much of Lewis's work and reveals a very interesting unifying theme. Worth a look IMO.

  9. Keep Refrigerated


    Has to be my favourite of the three, it's got everything - philosophy, sci-fi fantasy, a zombie (sort of) and good vs evil battle. I enjoyed Out of the Silent Planet too, but never can remember the plot of That Hideous Strength.

    I'd love to see these made into movies, but not by Disney. I feel like Disney didn't really make an effort with Narnia. It seemed like more of an opportunity to cash in on the LotR wave, than to make it engaging and meaningful. Plus you've got all that Mickey Mouse copyright extension problem. Paled in comparison to the BBC mini-series.

    Of all CS Lewis' works, Mere Christianity has probably had the most impact on me. Till We Have Faces is also a great read - demonstrating his writing at it's best - much better at least than Chronicles of Narnia.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Perelandra

      Aren't the characters in Perelandra nude throughout, or at least when Ransom gets to Perelandra? Or at least the planet's new Eve is. Of course, that also went for [A Princess of Mars], and Disney fixed that for [John Carter].

      It is quite subtle when the Un-man supposedly is a zombie arguing with Ransom but seems to be eloquently putting arguments that he previouslyyproposed while a living human being, and I wondered at last reading whether you're intended to think, or suspect, that Ransom has gone schizophrenic in believing his opponent to be Satan his horny-headed self when it's just an objectionable but perhaps not wholly unreasonable bloke. An unreliable-narrator sort of thing, it's not real at all. Well, except that they're on Venus. (Which isn't like the real planet Venus at all - thank goodness. We put metal probes on Venus and they melt from the heat.)

      Anyway, "subtle" = "completely ruined when they make the movie".

  10. john bertelsen

    CSL Space Trilogy

    IIRC Lewis insisted that these were not to taken as biblical parallels, but I don't buy that.

    Peralandra is somewhat tedious because of the long debate that takes place, but the series is definitely worth a read.

  11. Forget It


    Peralandra is based a bit on Dante Inferno/Purgatory when he climbs a mountain under the attck of the unman. The have been good reading of it on BBC Radio 4 extra in recent years

  12. Hugh Pumphrey

    It's a long time ...

    ... since I read these. I recall finding the books absorbing but I also recall being annoyed by the way he bangs on against contraception and against sex as a thing to be enjoyed except at the moment when you are actually procreating.

    To correct an earlier post, the university which features in the stories is neither Oxford nor Cambridge, but an invented one called "Edgecombe" (supposedly older and much smaller than its better-known rivals).

  13. Jim 59


    Wasn't Edgecombe based on Durham (small) ?

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