So March is over…and due to a nasty infection (not to mention a painful visit to the orthopedic surgeon) I am a little late getting my #Keyword Reading Challenge post up. But I did actually read a book with a variation on one of the March keywords in its title, which included Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga. I got a book I’d first read as an early teen, and thoroughly enjoyed dipping into again: C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet.
Out of the Silent Planet is Lewis’ tale of Dr. Elwin Ransom, philologist, who is kidnapped by the amoral Professor Weston and Ransom’s old (yet not very much-liked) schoolmate Devine. Ransom is manhandled into a spaceship, and the three leave earth for Malacandra, a planet that’s in our own solar system. Neither man is willing to admit to Ransom exactly why he’s been brought along, yet he discovers on the journey, via overheard conversation, that he is actually intended to be a human sacrifice for the Malacandrians. He makes mental plans to try for an escape as soon as they land, and he’s successful. Ransom leaves Weston and Devine behind, and sets off on his own.
Ransom meets Malacandrian residents of three distinct (yet interconnected) species, each of which has a particular set of gifts and talents. There are the hrossa, the poets; the seroni, the wise ones; and the pfifltriggi, the miners and engravers of Malacandra’s metals. Because he is a philologist, he is able to build a bridge of language with them all, and even develops deep friendships with some.
Ransom discovers that Weston and Devine have (of course) terrible plans involving Malacandra. He also learns that he is from the planet Thulcandra, the silent world or planet; and that there are other beings, which aren’t sometimes quite visible; the eldil. The hrossa plan to take Ransom to Oyarsa, who seems to be some sort of keeper or ruler of Malacandra. But before they leave, a tragedy occurs.
Out of the Silent Planet is the story of Ransom’s fight against the plans of evil men, his hearing of Maleldil, and an incredible tale of a fascinating world out of C.S. Lewis’ own imagination. Anyone who’s read the Narnia books won’t be in the least surprised at this.
What may come as a surprise, however, is Lewis’ astounding way with words, and the level of scholarship and intelligence from which he writes. The Narnia books contain Christian truths within their fantastic stories. So does Out of the Silent Planet; but the brilliance with which they’re expressed here reminds the reader that Lewis was not only a Tutor and Fellow of Magdalen College of Oxford, but a professor at Cambridge University as well.
Out of the Silent Planet is fantastic fantasy/science fiction; but it’s also a beautiful reminder of the eternal truths of the Christian faith. Oh, and also here’s a fun fact: Lewis may have patterned the good man Ransom’s character after that of his dear friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings books (and others). What a compliment!
I’m linking this up with the #KeywordReadingChallenge from the My Soul Called Life blog. Hop over there by clicking on the button below to find some fascinating reads from other bloggers containing this month’s keywords list in their titles!