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Out of the Silent Planet

(The Space Trilogy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  63,044 ratings  ·  3,136 reviews
In the first novel of C.S. Lewis's classic science fiction trilogy, Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet's treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there. Ransom discovers he has come from the 'silent pl ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 5th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published April 1st 1938)
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Mark A blue ent with feathers, with an MS instead of an MA degree.
Charles It's the first of the series and self-contained (no cliff-hanger to the next book).

The two sequels have a lot to do with CS Lewis's theology, which…more
It's the first of the series and self-contained (no cliff-hanger to the next book).

The two sequels have a lot to do with CS Lewis's theology, which can be irritating to a reader not attuned to it. This first book doesn't have that problem.(less)

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Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
You don't review C.S. Lewis. He reviews you.
J.G. Keely
It is strange to me how often Lewis is mentioned as a leading Christian apologist, since his views on Christianity tend to be neither conventional nor well-constructed. Of course, he's not taken seriously by Biblical scholars or theologians--I suspect this is because his Jesus is a cartoon lion and his God is a space alien.

As Michael Moorcock pointed out, the prominent tone in both Tolkien and Lewis is condescension, and I admit my general impression of Lewis is that he's talking down to the aud
First of all, this book has a cool title. I mean, seriously…Out of the Silent Planet… Say it to yourself a couple times. It sounds pretty, almost spooky, sort of dramatic and enigmatic. Ooh.

Man, I love a good title.

I also love a good allegory. And it’s my opinion that C.S. Lewis pretty much wrote the best allegories. Like, for real dude. This is like The Chronicles of Narnia for big people.
(I’m still partial to the childlikeness of The Chronicles though).

So basically, this book is about a ma
Not C.S. Lewis's best or most popular book - for every person who reads this, there must be at least ten who read Narnia. However, the exchange between the humans and the Oyarsa (the angelic ruler of Malacandra/Mars) is extremely effective satire, and deserves to be better known. Ransom is the only one in the party who has been able to acquire any fluency in Malacandran. He is given the task of translating Weston's fascist rant, which he clearly rather enjoys:
'Speak to Ransom and he shall turn i
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book and its companion volumes--Perelandra and That Hideous Strength--sometime after college, which must have been in the early eighties. I have re-read all three books numerous times since then.

The books show Lewis' deep love of and knowledge of European literature and languages. I stand in awe of his ability to bring together elements of Scandinavian and Celtic and Greek and Roman and English literature to create a universe that can hold the galaxy-spanning intellects of the eldila
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terry by: Cornelius
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
3.5 stars

_Out of the Silent Planet_ is the start of C. S. Lewis’ ‘Space Trilogy’ a series that, for me at least, comprises his best works of fiction. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Narnia books and Till We Have Faces fell totally flat for me so aside from his purely academic texts this is generally the series I go to when I want to read Lewis. In a nutshell the Space Trilogy documents the adventures of academic and philologist Elwin Ransom as he finds himself embroiled in events of cosmic
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CS Lewis once wrote a poem entitled “An Expostulation: Against Too Many Writers of Science Fiction”. In it, he complains that science fiction writers transport us light-years away, only to give us “the same old stuff we left behind...stories of crooks, spies, conspirators, or love.” He then asks why he should leave the Earth unless “outside its guarded gates, long, long desired, the Unearthly waits.” It’s easy to see his point. Most of the science fiction written during his lifetime were twice-t ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
How many times have I started this book only to flounder within the first chapter or two? Honestly, too many to count. This trilogy is one of the very few things written by C.S. Lewis that I have never read. He’s one of my favorite authors of all time, so I want to read everything in his canon. But there is just something about this tiny book that has defeated me time and time again. Seriously, it’s less than two hundred pages. I have read some gigantic books, so something this teensy should not ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Around the turn of the last century and a little before, a number of 19th century writers turned their hand to a brand new genre. Nowadays we call it Steampunk, which is just a hipster name for Science Fiction written during the late Victorian and pre WWI years.

Most of them painted a bleakish picture of our future. Maybe they were afraid of change or had a pessimistic view of man's ability to rein in the technological age the industrial age was ushering in. There were many unknown factors. Would
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this first about 7 or 8 years ago, but found it difficult to get through. This time it was over too soon-I felt like I was on Malacandra myself and feel like I experienced everything that went on as much as Ransom, the main character in the book. Lewis explores philosophical questions that if not discussed in the context of another species' existence would strike me as really basic; by discussing these questions in the setting of another world, he refreshes them and has insights that we o ...more
3.5 stars. First book in the classic "Space Trilogy" by C. S. Lewis. Much like the Chronicles of Narnia, this story has a very "Christian" feel to it and deals with the nature of the universe, the struggle of good and evil and the status of "Earth" as "The Silent Planet." Well written, entertaining and thought provoking.

Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
After all the post-cyberpunk, Steampunk, New Weird, Post-Singularity, Post-Scarcity etc. books I have been reading lately it is nice to turn to an old school sf book for a change of pace and a bit of coziness. Out of the Silent Planet is in fact more of a science fantasy than something you would expect Asimov, Heinlein or Clarke to write. C.S. Lewis is best known and loved for his wonderful Narnia books, where religious allegory is woven into exciting and wondrous fantasy adventures aimed primar ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

You probably know that C.S. Lewis was a Christian apologist who wrote many popular books — both fiction and nonfiction — which explain or defend the Christian faith. His most famous work, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, some of the most-loved stories in all of fantasy fiction and children’s literature, is clearly Christian allegory. Likewise, his science fiction SPACE TRILOGY can be read as allegory, though it’s subtle enough to be enjoyed by those who don’t appreciate alle
Mike (the Paladin)
Fantastic trilogy.

Here we get to meet Ransom and follow him on a trip to "Mars". Lewis sets up an allegorical story (somewhat heavily influenced by his classical education it must be admitted.) A thought provoking work. His picture of "God" (and the angelic beings) brought to mind (for me) somewhat, the "picture" painted in The Silmarillion by J.R.R.Tolkien (maybe that shouldn't be that surprising as they were friends and read their work to each other also discussing it with each other as well a
Megan Baxter
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
If the Chronicles of Narnia are C.S. Lewis' attempt (and a wonderful one) to write Christian children's fables, then this trilogy seems to be his attempt to write Christian science fiction.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
First read Out of the Silent Plant back in 2005. I know I appreciated it much more this time. C. S. Lewis is one of those authors whose value grows as you get to know him*.

Not only does Lewis take his readers to other worlds but he also teaches new ways of seeing our own world. We learn to look through the eyes of other beings with values not so different from our own just more fully realized in the world in which they inhabit. Lewis thought ‘outside the box’ long before the term came into vogu
Julie Davis
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading, in print this time.

The library had the audio for this and recalling how audio has helped me through other books which left me cold in print (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, for example) ... and also knowing how many people have urged me to read this trilogy ... I am attempting it for the third time.

All this is to say that I am 36 minutes in and for a second I almost forgot what I was listening to, because I felt as if C.S. Lewis were telling me about John Carter of Mar
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through his Cosmic Trilogy, and in opposition to the Wellsian archetype, C.S. Lewis attempts to carefully reconstruct the common, horrific fallacy that falls under what (or rather who) lies in outer space. He offers a—supposedly—fictionalised account of Martian events which, in a way, scoffs at the purely scientific intellect, and is thoroughly nourished with incorporeal elements which, again, contrive to set pleasant connotations for alienness.
Victoria Howell
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked it. It wasn't my favorite C.S. Lewis book, but it was very creative especially at a time where space travel hadn't actually happened yet.
Jenna St Hilaire
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the decade or so since I first read Lewis' Space Trilogy, I've re-read Perelandra once and That Hideous Strength many times, but never—till now—returned to the the first in the series.

It's a short read, and might be called light if not for the fact that as with most of Lewis' fiction, the more you understand of what Lewis knew and studied and believed, the more you'll get out of the tale. I'm not referring just to Christianity. This book made me wish I understood astronomy much more than I do
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lewis colpisce ancora, ma con più delicatezza (leggi: non è cattolicone come al solito).
Se nelle Cronache l'ideologia era in certi passaggi quasi logorroica, fin troppo invasiva, in questo primo capitolo della Space Trilogy riesce a instaurare, tramite gli occhi del suo protagonista Elwin Ransom, che si trova faccia a faccia con creature completamente diverse, eticamente e moralmente opposte all'uomo, un dialogo con il suo lettore. Il risultato è una storia d'avventura, un viaggio che ci fa attr
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.S. Lewis does this thing while I’m reading his books that makes me feel like I’m slogging through deep, mystifying waters, but the moment I reach the end and see the larger picture I think “Oh! That was brilliant.”

It took my three months to get through this 158 page book, the smallest book I’ve read this year. If a friend hadn’t told me to read it, I probably would have abandoned it, but I’m glad I made it all the way through. The reason this book has three stars was because this book is…deep,
Brianna Silva
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fave-sci-fi
I'm going to go ahead and say it: I liked this better than Chronicles of Narnia.

C.S. Lewis created such a beautiful, immersive, believable science fiction world that follows quite obviously in the H.G. Wells tradition. I loved the species of intelligent creatures he created, the language, and the descriptions of the landscapes.

Also, I thought this was a really cool way of combining Christian traditions about good, evil, sin, etc. with an old universe and even with evolution.

All in all, I'm mar
Ray Schneider
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was about my fourth read of Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in the Ransom Trilogy. Lewis does an amazing job of evoking Malacandra with its three sentient (hnau) live forms and its eldila and chief eldil, the Oyarsa. Once he read David Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus, Lewis discovered what planets are really for. He evokes a medieval view of cosmology in the high heavens and reminds us of spiritual realities we often forget. I'm currently rereading the trilogy since I'm preparing a co ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
*3/4 stars*
I don't read a lot of science fiction; I am not entirely sure what I think about this book right now. The writing is good, I just don't know how I liked it, lol. I guess I'll have to check the series out and see how I like the others.
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inklings
There is a certain breed of science fiction that I tend to sneer at. These usually contain made up languages, strange creatures, and some sort of, "this is the first time in HISTORY that..." motif (See also: The first time two tributes survived, the first time our test showed someone as divergent, the first time someone so young showed such rare promise...). In listing these three details I realize that I am likely describing much of what science fiction is--made up things loosely based in reali ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, religion
It is interesting, and wholly fortuitous, that I read this book almost immediately after H.G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon. In that book, one of the two characters on the expedition attempts to communicate with the Selenites, while is partner is little more than a 19th century conquistador.

In Out of the Silent Planet, author C.S. Lewis has one character -- Ransom -- kidnapped by Devine and Weston, who are interested primarily in exploiting the gold on Mars (called Malacandra in the book). R
Becca Campbell
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book more for the abstract ideas behind the story than the plot itself (although Lewis' creativity in developing a foreign world, several alien species and a foreign language is notable).

There are some very intriguing ideas about the nature of our world, mankind, and existence behind the story. Lewis examines society's preoccupation with trying to extend the lives of ourselves, our world, and our species as a whole. No matter how hard man tries, be it through medicine or good heal
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had given this three stars because I was tired of giving two star reviews but I've made peace with that now]

The parts I liked were basically the conversations and exploration of different species, and world building when it was connected to something meaningful (which I apparently have a specific bar for). Everything else put me to sleep. #keepingItReal In defense of the book, I am a very sleepy person.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Phantastes
  • War in Heaven
  • The Tolkien Reader
  • Dream Thief
  • The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
  • The Ball and the Cross
  • Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis
  • Crown of Fire (Firebird, #3)
  • Arena
  • North! or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga, #2)
  • The Dark Foundations (The Lamb Among the Stars, #3)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge

Other books in the series

The Space Trilogy (3 books)
  • Perelandra (The Space Trilogy, #2)
  • That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3)
“The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.” 237 likes
“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.” 89 likes
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