Book Review: C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy
Chances are, you’ve heard of C.S. Lewis, either as the author of the famous “Chronicles of Narnia” series, or as a prominent Christian theologian. What you may not know, however, is that he also authored a truly unique trilogy of science fiction stories commonly known as the Space Trilogy. The trilogy consists of three books called “Out of the Silent Planet”, “Prerelandra”, and “That Hideous Strength”. These stories are rather unique as they are practically the only major novels that combine science fiction with Christian theology, and are one of the closest things we have to exploring the Catholic view of the possibility of life on other planets (Lewis himself wasn’t Catholic, but this theology was very Catholic in nature. His non-conversion was due to cultural reasons, not theological).
In the first book, “Out of the Silent Planet”, a man named Dr. Ransom is kidnapped by two scientists and taken to another planet with the intention of being used as a human sacrifice. His adventures and encounters with the beings of this planet set the stage for the other two books. “Prerelandra” is the second installment, and is a bit more theological in nature; taking Dr. Ransom to another world in its early stages of humanoid existence, an almost Eden-like setting. Here, Ransom must do his best to prevent a similar fall of the beings on this planet like that of Adam and Eve, but will he succeed, or is such a fate inevitable to those given free will? The third book, “That Hideous Strength“, is the largest one in the trilogy and longer than the first two combined. This time, the protagonists are an estranged couple, Mark and Jane Studdock, who become involved in a sinister plot by an institute in league with demonic forces to take over the world. These forces are Dr. Ransom’s old enemies and are putting their final plan into motion, part of which is the resurrection of the powerful wizard, Merlin (Dr. Ransom is in this story as well, but takes on a more mentor-like roll than that of a protagonist).
Overall, I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone who loves a good science fiction story, a theological commentary, or just an exciting story with a fair amount of surprising twists and excellent world-building. Check it out, you won’t regret it.