"Out of The Silent Planet" Review
by C.S. Lewis
Science fiction / Fantasy
Published in 1943
I just finished reading the first of C.S. Lewis's "Space Trilogy" books, Out of the Silent Planet; and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.
Out of the Silent Planet tells the story of a philologist, Dr. Ransom, who is kidnapped by two sinister men, and dragged along on a journey through our solar system. The descriptions of the beauty of space travel are really quite imaginative--especially considering the 1943 publication date.
Eventually, Ransom and his captors land on the red planet of Malacandra, also known as Mars. After escaping his captors, Ransom learns to find his way around the foreign planet with the help of its inhabitants--hrosses, sorns, and pfifitriggs. As he learns the ways and languages of the people, Ransom in turn learns a good deal about human kind and the origins of our "bent" (the Malacandrian native word for evil) natures.
The best part of reading this book was looking at the ingenious ways in which C.S. Lewis crafted an entirely new world out of words. Through Ransom's adventures, Lewis invents new laws of physics, entire ecosystems, and even a new language to complement his story telling. In fact, I don't even know if calling it a "complement" is accurate. In my opinion, it was the rich descriptions and imagery present in the novel that made it the enjoyable work of writing it was. The portrait of Malacandra and its people fascinated me even more than Ransom himself.
My biggest criticism about this book is the ending. There is no real cliff-hanger or anything of that sort. The ending was even a little disappointing; however, it seemed to me the best part of the book was the richness of imagery and not necessarily the plot. The point is, I can't really see from the book's conclusion what the next one will be about. However, given how much I enjoyed C.S. Lewis's ability to craft new worlds with words, there is no reason that I would not read the next installment--which basically means I hold no reservations recommending this book to all who have enjoyed C.S. Lewis's other works.