Out of the Silent Planet
by C. S. Lewis
Out of the Silent Planet opens C. S. Lewis's famed space trilogy, the series of stories that follows Dr. Ransom on his voyages to Earth's two nearest neighbors. The tale opens with Ransom running into a good bit of trouble on Earth that eventually sets himself off on his way to Malacandra. There he meets with a rather unique opportunity — the chance to save a world.
On his travels, Ransom must deal with two old schoolmates, Weston and Devine, who are determined to carry out all the most heinous deeds typical of the colonial impulse. In standing against them, Ransom not only does battle with colonialism, but with all manner of spiritual evils. In the process, he finds out surprising truths not only about the other world to which he has traveled, but also about the world in which he has always lived.
The life forms that people the world to which Ransom, Weston, and Devine journey are appealing and interesting. It is fun to watch Ransom learn to interact with these creatures and to see the planet that they inhabit.
The space trilogy is often referred to as Lewis's "sci fi" series. I don't know if I'd actually call it that, as it is more mythological than actually plausible from a standpoint of contemporary scientific knowledge (even when the book was written in 1938). I love the way that Lewis has put the series together, and find it one of his best works.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010