Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy Series #1)

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy Series #1)

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by C. S. Lewis

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Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis's timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults, we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent

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Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis's timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults, we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths.

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel in C. S. Lewis's classic science fiction trilogy. It tells the adventure of Dr. Ransom, a Cambridge academic, who 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 planet"—Earth—whose tragic story is known throughout the universe!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The New Yorker If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.

Los Angeles Times Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Space Trilogy Series , #1
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Chapter 1

The last drops of the thundershower had hardly ceased falling when the Pedestrian stuffed his map into his pocket, settled his pack more comfortably on his tired shoulders, and stepped out from the shelter of a large chestnut-tree into the middle of the road. A violent yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate. Every tree and blade of grass was dripping, and the road shone like a river. The Pedestrian wasted no time on the landscape but set out at once with the determined stride of a good walker who has lately realised that he will have to walk farther than he intended. That, indeed, was his situation. If he had chosen to look back, which he did not, he could have seen the spire of Much Nadderby, and, seeing it, might have uttered a malediction on the inhospitable little hotel which, though obviously empty, had refused him a bed. The place had changed hands since he last went for a walking-tour in these parts. The kindly old landlord on whom he had reckoned had been replaced by someone whom the barmaid referred to as "the lady," and the lady was apparently a British innkeeper of that orthodox school who regard guests as a nuisance. His only chance now was Sterk, on the far side of the hills, and a good six miles away. The map marked an inn at Sterk. The Pedestrian was too experienced to build any very sanguine hopes on this, but there seemed nothing else within range.

He walked fairly fast, and doggedly, without looking much about him, like a man trying to shorten the way with some interesting train of thought. He was tall, but a little round-shouldered, aboutthirty-five to forty years of age, and dressed with that particular kind of shabbiness which marks a member of the intelligentsia on a holiday. He might easily have been mistaken for a doctor or a schoolmaster at first sight, though he had not the man-of-the-world air of the one or the indefinable breeziness of the other. In fact, he was a philologist, and fellow of a Cambridge college. His name was Ransom.

He had hoped when he left Nadderby that he might find a night's lodging at some friendly farm before he had walked as far as Sterk. But the land this side of the hills seemed almost uninhabited. It was a desolate, featureless sort of country mainly devoted to cabbage and turnip, with poor hedges and few trees. It attracted no visitors like the richer country south of Nadderby and it was protected by the hills from the industrial areas beyond Sterk. As the evening drew in and the noise of the birds came to an end it grew more silent than an English landscape usually is. The noise of his own feet on the metalled road became irritating.

He had walked thus for a matter of two miles when he became aware of a light ahead. He was close under the hills by now and it was nearly dark, so that he still cherished hopes of a substantial farmhouse until he was quite close to the real origin of the light, which proved to be a very small cottage of ugly nineteenth-century brick. A woman darted out of the open doorway as he approached it and almost collided with him.

"I beg your pardon, sir," she said. "I thought it was my Harry."

Ransom asked her if there was any place nearer than Sterk where he might possibly get a bed.

"No, sir," said the woman. "Not nearer than Sterk. I dare say as they might fix you up at Nadderby."

She spoke in a humbly fretful voice as if her mind were intent on something else. Ransom explained that he had already tried Nadderby.

"Then I don't know, I'm sure, sir," she replied. "There isn't hardly any house before Sterk, not what you want. There's only The Rise, where my Harry works, and I thought you was coming from that way, sir, and that's why I come out when I heard you, thinking it might be him. He ought to be home this long time."

"The Rise," said Ransom. "What's that? A farm? Would they put me up ?"

"Oh no, sir. You see there's no one there now except the Professor and the gentleman from London, not since Miss Alice died. They wouldn't do anything like that, sir. They don't even keep any servants, except my Harry for doing the furnace like, and he's not in the house."

"What's this professor's name?" asked Ransom, with a faint hope.

"I don't know, I'm sure, sir," said the woman. "The other gentleman's Mr. Devine, he is, and Harry says the other gentleman is a professor. He don't know much about it, you see, sir, being a little simple, and that's why I don't like him coming home so late, and they said they'd always send him home at six o'clock. It isn't as if he didn't do a good day's work either."

The monotonous voice and the limited range of the woman's vocabulary did not express much emotion, but Ransom was standing sufficiently near to perceive that she was trembling and nearly crying. It occurred to him that he ought to call on the mysterious professor and ask for the boy to be sent home: and it occurred to him just a fraction of a second later that once he were inside the house -- among men of his own profession -- he might very reasonably accept the offer of a night's hospitality. Whatever the process of thought may have been, he found that the mental picture of himself calling at The Rise had assumed all the solidity of a thing determined upon. He told the woman what he intended to do.

"Thank you very much, sir, I'm sure," she said. "And if you would be so kind as to see him out of the gate and on the road before you leave, if you see what I mean, sir. He's that frightened of the Professor and he wouldn't come away once your back was turned, sir, not if they hadn't sent him home themselves like."

Ransom reassured the woman as well as he could and bade her good-bye, after ascertaining that he would find The Rise on his left in about five minutes. Stiffness had grown upon him while he was standing still, and he proceeded slowly and painfully on his way.

There was no sign of any lights on the left of the road -- nothing but the flat fields and a mass of darkness which he took to be a copse. It seemed more than five minutes before he reached it and found that he had been mistaken. It was divided from the road by a good hedge and in the hedge was a white gate: and the trees which rose above him as he examined the gate were not the first line of a copse but only a belt, and the sky showed through them. He felt quite sure now that this must be the gate of The Rise and that these trees surrounded a house and garden. He tried the gate and found it locked. He stood for a moment undecided, discouraged by the silence and the growing darkness. His first inclination, tired as he felt, was to continue his journey to Sterk: but he had committed himself to a troublesome duty on behalf of the old woman. He knew that it would be possible, if one really wanted, to force a way through the hedge. He did not want to. A nice fool he would look, blundering in upon some retired eccentric -- the sort of a man who kept his gates locked in the country -- with this silly story of a hysterical mother in tears because her idiot boy had been kept half an hour late at his work! Yet it was perfectly clear that he would have to get in, and since one cannot crawl through a hedge with a pack on, he slipped his pack off and flung it over the gate. The moment he had done so, it seemed to him that he had not till now fully made up his mind -- now that he must break into the garden if only in order to recover the pack. He became very angry with the woman, and with himself, but he got down on his hands and knees and began to worm his way into the hedge.

The operation proved more difficult than he had expected and it was several minutes before he stood up in the wet darkness on the inner side of the hedge smarting from his contact with thorns and nettles. He groped his way to the gate, picked up hi

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The New York Times This book has real splendor, compelling moments, and a flowing narrative.

The New Yorker If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.

Los Angeles Times Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.

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Out of the Silent Planet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
haylee.jalyn More than 1 year ago
I am a devoted fan of Lewis and also a bit of scifi lover, so I was so excited the first time I heard of these books. Like his "Chronicles of Narnia" books, Lewis draws out a Bible-based story and idea in this space-travel plot, but unlike that series, these are written for an adult audience with more than just a friendly comparison to Christ or the Christian walk. These draw on much more profound questions in a person's belief and faith. I found this books thought provoking and totally interesting. Because of this, however, the story was a little dense and it took me longer than usual to read this small book. Even so, I loved it and I would recommend it to any fan of his.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In C.S. Lewis¿s science fiction classic, Out of the Silent Planet, we follow the journey of Dr. Elwin Ransom, a Christian philologist. With incredible wit and imagery, Lewis imprints a captivating story upon our mind. During a pleasure walk, Ransom inadvertently falls into some deep entanglements, is kidnapped, and transported to another planet. Here he finds a fantastic world, of pink and purple and green plants, warm blue rivers and lakes, chill air, and narrow green mountains that nearly pierce the planet¿s atmosphere. Furry, intelligent creatures dwell there, and angels walk the planet regularly. Throughout his stay on this planet, Ransom sees the evil effects of greed and humanism, and finds the Creator¿s handiwork in other parts of the universe. This is more than just a fantasy story. It is a journey into the realms of the soul, the spirit, the heart, and the mind -- one that will leave you exhilarated an encouraged. ---Ryan Robledo Author of the Aelnathan
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like science-fiction novels, you won't be able to stop reading this unpredictable story. A suspenseful space tale about one man's thrilling adventures on Malacandra (Mars). It has great characters, a captivating plot, and flawless description of the Malacandrian landscape. I recommend this novel because of its original and exciting storyline.
JeanFairclough More than 1 year ago
C. S. Lewis as far as I know was the first writer to create beautiful environments in science fiction writing. So much of today's science fiction is set in dark, foreboding places and oddly (in my opinion) includes medieval weaponry and warfare in futuristic ugly places. C. S. Lewis creates environments that would be fun to travel through in a videogame -- rolling hills that actually roll along taking you somewhere, thinking of wanting a cool mist on a hot day causes it to happen, catching giant fish to ride them somewhere. Friendly, beautiful creatures with whom to converse. I wrote somewhat about the trilogy in my review of Perelandra, so won't repeat it here, except to say I enjoyed it when I was 15 years old and in even wider ways recently at the age of 68. The narrator Geoffrey Howard is very good -- this is, if you have not yet discovered, very, very important to an audiobook. I really like the main character of this book. I really like the way C. S. Lewis inspires me to philosophize and analyze and in plain language, inspires me to think beyond the mundane.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this many years ago, and was pleased to find tje ebook and that I still enjoyed it. It is harder now to get by the hilarious impossibilities that we realize make impossible Lewis' vision of life on Mars or Venus, but this is something you have to work through to appreciate any older sci fi. It is well worth this minor mental discomfort to enjoy the outstanding quality of his prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really made me think as I was reading it.Then when finished couldn't wait to start the second of the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To enjoy this book, remember that it was written in the late 1930s in England--it will not read like a 21st century American novel. Some familiarity with Platonic philosophy and medieval cosmology will help as well. Thus equipped, you will soon find that this book is a whole lot more than the 1930's pulp fiction that it pretends to be. In this book Lewis challenges our notions of self-identity, the primacy of the human race, and the supremacy of scientific materialism and technology over spirituality and the arts. In this brief work is much wisdom that is applicable to the current clash between modernism and post-modernism. Pay close attention to the epilogue, where clues are given to the true intentions of the author.
lunaprecipita More than 1 year ago
The entire trilogy was not what I expected from C.S. Lewis. However, all three books are entertaining and interesting in their own right as science fiction. At the same time they are an allegory of the Christian journey. They are all fast -paced and quick reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lewis books never fail to pull the reader into the adventure and I was pleased to find the same with Out of the Silent Planet. Out of this world characters, devious villans, humble hero and help found in the most unlikely places. Great book for group reading and discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are some of the greatest liturature ever to be written. PLEASE finish the sieres. Other sci-fi is impossible to believe, but sometimes I wonder if Lewis is not just retelling a real life experience.
bitterblackale More than 1 year ago
Exactly what out-of-this-world sci-fi ought to be: a great adventure that also gives readers a look at humanity from the eyes of aliens with a lot of classic sci-fi elements from the likes of Verne, Wells, and Conan Doyle, and it is one that very much belongs on the same shelf as those great ones! It's also a good supposition story for those who believe in a god to consider the extra-terrestrial implications of an eternal supreme being.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I will admit that this book was one of the strangest books I have ever read. It was also a work of pure literary genius. Lewis is an excellent writer who is able to describe things so that you can a vivid picture of what you are reading. In my opinion, Lewis is one of the greatest authors to live. I highly recommend this bok!
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As one of Lewis' less famous works, this novel, though first published in 1938, is surprisingly fresh and will be a great pleasure to read for any SF fan. When I finished it, I immediately purchased the second book in the series, Perelandra. You will want to do the same.
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BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Out of the Silent Planet is a re-release that was written before and during World War II.  Dr. Ransom finds much more than he bargained when he sets out to walk and explore his surroundings.  Stumbling upon and old school acquaintance, Dr. Ronson soon finds himself on Malacandra on a planet he never believed habitable and among creatures unlike those he has ever known.  Fearing for his life, he tries to persevere from day-to-day while questioning every instinct he has ever known. While the description may be a bit vague, the beauty of this book is the discovery of each creature and element of the Malacandra world and I don't want to ruin those first puzzlements and epiphanies for any would-be reader.  I enjoyed this read for its unique and refreshing method of discussing humanity. I also found myself fascinated and curious about the creatures as they were introduced.  I never knew what was going to happen next and couldn't help wondering if Dr. Ronson would get home.  The descriptions were vivid.  There were just enough to describe a complex image of creatures and a world unlike anything we've seen but the descriptions weren't to the point where I became bored. I find I read very little science fiction and I couldn't explain why other than to say that I didn't know of any good science fiction reads.  I'm also finding that the other worldness often found in science fiction can be a bit much if there is nothing to compare or hinge the imagery on.  I think that is my only real issue with this book.  It took a little more time for me to read an otherwise short book, because I really had to stop and try to conjure and image to fit the descriptions and the actions because everything was so different.  This pulled me out of the story a bit.  I'm so accustomed to images playing in my mind as I read even when reading fantasy and other genres.  But this science-fiction was a little more work for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago