20 January 2011
Book Banter -- Out of the Silent Planet
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: science fiction
Length: 139 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Personal collection
Plot Basics: Dr. Ransom, a philologist, is on a walking tour of England that takes him farther away from home than he would ever imagine. In trying to find a place to stay, he happens across a mysterious house and his old classmate, Devine and another man, Weston. Before long, Ransom is captured by Devine and Weston and awakes to find himself in a spaceship hurtling away from Earth. They land on Malacandra -- our Mars -- where Devine and Weston intend to hand Ransom over to a local species. Ransom, fearing for his life, flees into the Malacandrian wilderness and discovers the truths about that world and his own.
Banter Points: This is the start of one of my reading goals for this year, to reread the Space Trilogy. It was a decade ago that I read it all the way through the first time and probably two decades ago that I first read "Silent Planet" (elementary school book report...) Lewis is likely most well-known for Narnia or his brilliant Christian apologetic writings, but I particularly love the Space Trilogy. The story while this fantastic interstellar journey really gets at the heart of humanity and what's wrong with us.
Bummer Points: I noticed this time just how much of the science of space travel Lewis skips. He includes a lot, but particularly at the end when things look fairly bleak for getting back to earth, the explanations of how it's all working are skipped. It makes sense since science has come so much farther since Lewis' time, but I wish so much wasn't glossed over.
Word Nerd Recommendation: The trilogy is definitely worth a read. It's pretty easily accessible science fiction for non-sci-fi readers because it's not very technical. A good look at what makes us human.