Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

“Out of the Silent Planet” by C.S. Lewis

Ever since I first read The Chronicles of Narnia in third grade, I’ve been a huge C.S. Lewis fan. Granted, it took me a long time before I enjoyed (or understood) his more serious writing, such as Mere Christianity, but whether fiction or non, there’s no arguing that Lewis was a master wordsmith.

Out of the Silent Planet is the first book of Lewis’ first fiction series, the “Space Trilogy”. Written in 1938, it is one of the very first books ever written in the science fiction genre. Along with writers like H.G. Wells (who is mentioned in this book, as a matter of fact), the early authors of sci-fi certainly set a high standard for those who would follow! Of particular interest to me was Lewis’ description of Dr. Ransom (the story’s protagonist) seeing Earth from space for the first time…  written twenty years before the first satellite images of the planet were ever recorded.

Though never as famous as Narnia, and more difficult to read, the storytelling (and perhaps even the story itself) in Out of the Silent Planet is just as good. Lewis certainly knows how to spin a good yarn! It was a page-turner from the very beginning. My only regret is that it was so short… it took only a few hours to finish. Thank God for sequels!

As one might expect from Lewis, there is more to the writing than mere fiction. The story raises some major philosophical questions, and the introspective reader will find much to ponder. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to spoil for you the joy of discovery as you read the book yourself!

Whether a fan of science fiction as a genre, C.S. Lewis as an author, or good writing in general, consider this book a necessary addition to the personal library.

Buy it here.

2 comments on “Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

  1. David says:

    I’m impressed that you finished it in a few hours! It took me a bit longer, mainly because every other page had some wonderful mind-blowing philosophical statement or revelation (at least, once the space travel really got going). This feeling increased with the sequels, after which I was sure that it was so deep and complex that my brain had only retained maybe 5% of what Lewis had written. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that I really should reread this trilogy a few more times relatively soonish. ‘-)

    • John Gardner says:

      Out of the Silent Planet is one of those books that could be read quickly or slowly, with different merits to each approach. Definitely worth reading multiple times!

      The other two books in the series seem to take a long time (in a good way!) no matter how you read them. Perelandra especially…

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