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

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The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of ...

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

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Overview

The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684823805
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 6/3/1996
  • Series: Space Trilogy Series , #1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Staples Lewis, born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1898, was for more than thirty years Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen College, Oxford, and at the time of his death in 1963 was professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University. His many books — of fiction, poetry, theology, literary scholarship, and autobiography — include The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Miracles, and the seven volumes that comprise The Chronicles of Narnia.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

Read an Excerpt

Chapter I

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, about thirty-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 his pack, and then for the first time turned to take stock of his surroundings. It was lighter on the drive than it had been under the trees and he had no difficulty in making out a large stone house divided from him by a width of untidy neglected lawn. The drive branched into two a little way ahead of him — the righthand path leading in a gentle sweep to the front door, while the left ran straight ahead, doubtless to the back premises of the house. He noticed that this path was churned up into deep ruts — now full of water — as if it were used to carrying a traffic of heavy lorries. The other, on which he now began to approach the house, was overgrown with moss. The house itself showed no light: some of the windows were shuttered, some gaped blank without shutter or curtain, but all were lifeless and inhospitable. The only sign of occupation was a column of smoke that rose from behind the house with a density which suggested the chimney of a factory, or at least of a laundry, rather than that of a kitchen. The Rise was clearly the last place in the world where a stranger was likely to be asked to stay the night, and Ransom, who had already wasted some time in exploring it, would certainly have turned away if he had not been bound by his unfortunate promise to the old woman.

He mounted the three steps which led into the deep porch, rang the bell, and waited. After a time he rang the bell again and sat down on a wooden bench which ran along one side of the porch. He sat so long that though the night was warm and starlit the sweat began to dry on his face and a faint chilliness crept over his shoulders. He was very tired by now, and it was perhaps this which prevented him from rising and ringing a third time: this, and the soothing stillness of the garden, the beauty of the summer sky, and the occasional hooting of an owl somewhere in the neighbourhood which seemed only to emphasize the underlying tranquillity of his surroundings. Something like drowsiness had already descended upon him when he found himself startled into vigilance. A peculiar noise was going on — a scuffing, irregular noise, vaguely reminiscent of a football scrum. He stood up. The noise was unmistakable by now. People in boots were fighting or wrestling or playing some game. They were shouting too. He could not make out the words but he heard the monosyllabic barking ejaculations of men who are angry and out of breath. The last thing Ransom wanted was an adventure, but a conviction that he ought to investigate the matter was already growing upon him when a much louder cry rang out in which he could distinguish the words, "Let me go. Let me go," and then, a second later, "I'm not going in there. Let me go home."

Throwing off his pack, Ransom sprang down the steps of the porch, and ran round to the back of the house as quickly as his stiff and footsore condition allowed him. The ruts and pools of the muddy path led him to what seemed to be a yard, but a yard surrounded with an unusual number of outhouses. He had a momentary vision of a tall chimney, a low door filled with red firelight, and a huge round shape that rose black against the stars, which he took for the dome of a small observatory: then all this was blotted out of his mind by the figures of three men who were struggling together so close to him that he almost cannoned into them. From the very first Ransom felt no doubt that the central figure, whom the two others seemed to be detaining in spite of his struggles, was the old woman's Harry. He would like to have thundered out, "What are you doing to that boy?" but the words that actually came — in rather an unimpressive voice — were, "Here! I say!..."

The three combatants fell suddenly apart, the boy blubbering. "May I ask," said the thicker and taller of the two men, "who the devil you may be and what you are doing here?" His voice had all the qualities which Ransom's had so regrettably lacked.

"I'm on a walking-tour," said Ransom, "and I promised a poor woman —"

"Poor woman be damned," said the other. "How did you get in?"

"Through the hedge," said Ransom, who felt a little ill-temper coming to his assistance. "I don't know what you're doing to that boy, but —"

"We ought to have a dog in this place," said the thick man to his companion, ignoring Ransom.

"You mean we should have a dog if you hadn't insisted on using Tartar for an experiment," said the man who had not yet spoken. He was nearly as tall as the other, but slender, and apparently the younger of the two, and his voice sounded vaguely familiar to Ransom.

The latter made a fresh beginning. "Look here," he said. "I don't know what you are doing to that boy, but it's long after hours and it is high time you sent him home. I haven't the least wish to interfere in your private affairs, but —"

"Who are you?" bawled the thick man.

"My name is Ransom, if that is what you mean. And —"

"By Jove," said the slender man, "not Ransom who used to be at Wedenshaw?"

"I was at school at Wedenshaw," said Ransom.

"I thought I knew you as soon as you spoke," said the slender man. "I'm Devine. Don't you remember me?"

"Of course. I should think I do!" said Ransom as the two men shook hands with the rather laboured cordiality which is traditional in such meetings. In actual fact Ransom had disliked Devine at school as much as anyone he could remember.

"Touching, isn't it?" said Devine. "The far-flung line even in the wilds of Sterk and Nadderby. This is where we get a lump in our throats and remember Sunday-evening Chapel in the D.O.P. You don't know Weston, perhaps?" Devine indicated his massive and loud-voiced companion. "The Weston," he added. "You know. The great physicist. Has Einstein on toast and drinks a pint of Schrödinger's blood for breakfast. Weston, allow me to introduce my old schoolfellow, Ransom. Dr. Elwin Ransom. The Ransom, you know. The great philologist. Has Jespersen on toast and drinks a pint —"

"I know nothing about it," said Weston, who was still holding the unfortunate Harry by the collar. "And if you expect me to say that I am pleased to see this person who has just broken into my garden, you will be disappointed. I don't care two-pence what school he was at nor on what unscientific foolery he is at present wasting money that ought to go to research. I want to know what he's doing here: and after that I want to see the last of him."

"Don't be an ass, Weston," said Devine in a more serious voice. "His dropping in is delightfully apropos. You mustn't mind Weston's little way, Ransom. Conceals a generous heart beneath a grim exterior, you know. You'll come in and have a drink and something to eat of course?"

"That's very kind of you," said Ransom. "But about the boy —"

Devine drew Ransom aside. "Balmy," he said in a low voice. "Works like a beaver as a rule but gets these fits. We are only trying to get him into the wash-house and keep him quiet for an hour or so till he's normal again. Can't let him go home in his present state. All done by kindness. You can take him home yourself presently if you like — and come back and sleep here."

Ransom was very much perplexed. There was something about the whole scene suspicious enough and disagreeable enough to convince him the he had blundered on something criminal, while on the other hand he had all the deep, irrational conviction of his age and class that such things could never cross the path of an ordinary person except in fiction and could least of all be associated with professors and old schoolfellows. Even if they had been ill-treating the boy, Ransom did not see much chance of getting him from them by force.

While these thoughts were passing through his head, Devine had been speaking to Weston, in a low voice, but no lower than was to be expected of a man discussing hospitable arrangements in the presence of a guest. It ended with a grunt of assent from Weston. Ransom, to whose other difficulties a merely social embarrassment was now being added, turned with the idea of making some remark. But Weston was now speaking to the boy.

"You have given enough trouble for one night, Harry," he said. "And in a properly governed country I'd know how to deal with you. Hold your tongue and stop snivelling. You needn't go into the wash-house if you don't want —"

"It weren't the wash-house," sobbed the half-wit, "you know it weren't. I don't want to go in that thing again."

"He means the laboratory," interrupted Devine. "He got in there and was shut in by accident for a few hours once. It put the wind up him for some reason. Lo, the poor Indian, you know." He turned to the boy. "Listen, Harry," he said. "That kind gentleman is going to take you home as soon as he's had a rest. If you'll come in and sit down quietly in the hall I'll give you something you like." He imitated the noise of a cork being drawn from a bottle — Ransom remembered it had been one of Devine's tricks at school — and a guffaw of infantile knowingness broke from Harry's lips.

"Bring him in," said Weston as he turned away and disappeared into the house. Ransom hesitated to follow, but Devine assured him that Weston would be very glad to see him. The lie was barefaced, but Ransom's desire for a rest and a drink were rapidly overcoming his social scruples. Preceded by Devine and Harry, he entered the house and found himself a moment later seated in an arm-chair and awaiting the return of Devine, who had gone to fetch refreshments.

Copyright © 1922 by Charles Scibner's Sons

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First Chapter

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 104 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great scifi, great allegory

    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.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    An Incredible Voyage Into Another World, and Philosophy

    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

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    Out of the Silent Planet

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    Don't give up on this book too soon!

    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.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    The Space Trilogy

    Really made me think as I was reading it.Then when finished couldn't wait to start the second of the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2011

    I really enjoyed this book and the other books in the trilogy

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Excellent

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2007

    WOW!! exciting

    this book was awesome a must read

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Entertaining Sci-fi and Excellent Christian Allegory

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Captivating Read

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    MY FAVORITE!!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2013

    Exactly what out-of-this-world sci-fi ought to be: a great adven

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2008

    Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

    This book Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis might have not been one of his best. Some readers might find this book confusing in some places. The main conflict in this book is when Devine and Weston kidnaped Ransome to their planet Malacandra. Some likes and dislikes the reader might have are that the author might not explain parts of the book enough. if the eader is kind of a space an or something they might like how the author writes about how creatures from another planet comes to earth and that they look like us too. And just because one person didn't really like this book doesn't mean you shouldn't try this book.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Hi

    I just wanted to say hi. Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Great read

    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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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    Out of the Silent Planet is a re-release that was written before

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    This is book is FANTASTIC. I'm glad that there are two more left

    This is book is FANTASTIC. I'm glad that there are two more left in this series, although I hope it won't go downhill like others. I don't expect it to, because it IS C.S. Lewis. I loved the way this book was written, the characterization, and the imagination. the thing I like best about Lewis's stories are that he's able to paint a beautiful picture, but it's not just a story for the sake of a story. he has points to get across about his faith. Even for people who don't like reading about religion, this is still a good story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Sometimes you'll read something that is extremely eye-opening. Sometimes it's something you that you didn't know you knew until Someone else puts it into words for you. That's how I feel whenever I read C.S. Lewis. READ IT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Fantastic

    Incredibly thought provoking. I admit, the dialog can be tedious with the detailed scenery descriptions, but the presentation of theology, within the framework of science fiction is amazing. The technology presented is not at all dated. I will re-read this many times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Nichole

    Im here

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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