That Hideous Strength
by C. S. Lewis
The final installment of C. S. Lewis's space trilogy, That Hideous Strength, brings us back to the world that we live in. Taking place entirely on earth, Ransom again faces off with Devine, who was partnered with the villain of Perelandra in the first book of the series, Out of the Silent Planet. While Ransom was off fighting against the partner, Devine was working out an even more insidious plan here on Earth, a scheme much more subtle in nature than anything we've seen in the earlier books.
That Hideous Strength brings to this planet all the mythological realities that have been imagined, in the previous two books, as existing out in the depths of space. Here, the other planets and their overseers make their way into our atmosphere, bringing to life figures of earthly mythologies that have too long been sleeping. The battle between these forces and the powers that Devine has pulled together take on weird and sometimes spooky shapes, and watching them pit their forces against one another makes for a gripping tale.
That Hideous Strength, though written in 1946, seems to touch on very contemporary concerns. The ethical issues raised are intriguing, as is their possible connection with deeper spiritual questions, as represented in the book.
The space trilogy is amongst my favorites in Lewis's body of work, and That Hideous Strength is the strongest piece in the series. It is a definite must-read that deserves serious attention and thought.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010