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Perelandra (The Cosmic Trilogy) Paperback – 11 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (5 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007157169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007157167
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a fellow and tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics, the Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.


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Review

‘Thrilling.’ Sir Hugh Walpole

‘Remarkable … a rare power of inventive imagination.’ Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover

That night he lay on the slopes between the stems of the ripple trees with the sweet-scented, wind-proof, delicately-whispering roof above his head, and when morning came he resumed his journey. At first he climbed through dense mists. When these parted, he found himself so high that the concave of the sea seemed to close him in on every side but one: and on that one he saw the rose-red peaks, no longer very distant, and a pass between the nearest ones through which he caught a glimpse of something soft and flushed. And now he began to feel a strange mixture of sensations – a sense of perfect duty to enter that secret place which the peaks were guarding with an equal sense of trespass. He dared not go up that pass: he dared not do otherwise.

In the second novel in C.S Lewis's classic sci-fi trilogy, Dr Ransom travels to the planet of Perelandra, a beautiful Eden-like world. He is horrified to find that his old enemy, Dr Weston, has also arrived and is intent upon evil plans once more. As the mad Weston's body is taken over by the forces of evil, Ransom engages in a desperate struggle to save the innocence of Perelandra.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) on 20 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
C. S. Lewis is said to have found "Perelandra" his favourite among his own books, and an improvement over "Out of the Silent Planet". Though a strong Lewis fan, I'm afraid I cannot agree. OOSP attempts one thing, and achieves it perfectly. Perelandra fails by being too ambitious.

"Out of the Silent Planet" is an almost perfect story. The description of Martian creatures and scenery is delightful, without the author having to ram home how terribly significant it all is; and the evil targeted for attack is limited, believable, and allowed to collapse under its own weight. (Ransom's translation of Weston's speech out of the Shavian-evolutionary into Malacandrian i.e. plain English is one of the funniest things I've read.) In Perelandra, on the other hand, the author is always TELLING you how beautiful everything is, instead of letting you find this out for yourself, and the appeal of every new fruit or creature is swept aside by its being used as the occasion for yet a further sermon on the nature of pleasure.

The central flaw is the problem of any writer in depicting evil: how do you make it obvious enough that it IS evil, but also account for its appeal? It is cheating, and ultimately self-defeating, first to depict the beliefs you dislike, and then to make them more obviously evil by adding a few extra unrelated vices. Weston (the devil figure in this book) is so plausible in his attempts to mislead the new Eve that Ransom does not know how to reply other than by physically removing him from the scene. However, Weston also amuses himself in his spare time by pointlessly mutilating frogs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 April 1998
Format: Paperback
In this book, Lewis stimulates the senses with his descriptions of bubble trees, floating islands, colorful skies, beautiful sounds and strange creatures. (It was a compliment to Lewis when one reader complained of being seasick after reading about the floating islands.) From the standpoint of imaginative scene painting, Lewis is at his best in PERELANDRA. His plot involves a wonderful twist on an old story: the Genesis fall of mankind. It is no coincidence that Lewis was lecturing on Milton at the same time that he was composing PERELANDRA. In fact, reading Lewis's PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST, John Milton's PARADISE LOST, and Lewis's PERELANDRA in this order forms a nice trilogy, one I recommend trying. The chief shortcoming of PERELANDRA is exactly what the reader from Eureka, CA says: the story drags in the middle. The action and forward movement of the plot are too slow for my taste. Lewis's tendancy towards repetitive writing also slows things at times, especially near the very end when he goes through several pages of "praise be he" statements. Despite these pecadillos, the book is definitely worth reading for the beauty, the intriguing plot, and for background to THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Sept. 1997
Format: Paperback
To criticize C.S. Lewis is to incur the wrath of millions of his faithful. However, Perelandra simply drags. Where Out Of The Silent Planet was a breezy sci-fi allegory of humankind's failings, and That Hideous Strength is simply the penultimate Lewis tale, this middle chapter is overlong and overly dense. Ransom is taken to Perelandra by an eldil, where his mission is to thwart the devil's temptation of that planet's Eve. Once more, Lewis's description of a foreign environment is rich and brilliantly imagined. Once the devil arrives (in the body of Weston) things kick into low gear. While philosophically intriguing, the arguments of Satan and Ransom and the questions of Eve quickly begin to appear circular and meandering. The climactic chase and physical confrontaion with the devil is both much too long and rather illogical. The denouement is classic Lewis, setting up Ransom's position for the final chapter of the trilogy with magical and moving brilliance, though it is too little to redeem the rest of the novel. Perelandra is a slow and tedious read, worth it only for the wonderful payoff in the third book, That Hideous Strength.
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Format: Paperback
"Perelandra", the second novel in the, if you believe the blurbs, celebrated "Space Trilogy", stands as Lewis's on contribution to the form of the modern epic and also his tribute to John Milton, the author of "Paradise Lost". There are a plethora of epic references, and I agree that science fiction is the inheritor of the epic tradition. Much of what Lewis accomplishes through "Perelandra" is from the epic tradition. There are several elements in "Perelandra" that not only salutes "Paradise Lost" but also throws the whole epic tradition in a favourable light. Here are some of the numerous ways in which "Perelandra" harkens back to the epic tradition.

Like most epics, the story begins in a crucial point in the story, with Lewis himself attempting to make it to Ransom's house under severe attack. There are generally catalogs in epics, and this is played as dark humour in Perelandra, as Ransom accounts what each individual has to fight with (essentially two middle aged bodies). There are then descriptions of what these are. Then, to rally himself up, Ransom makes a speech to himself for encouragement. Weston becomes the Unman, a very common tradition of giving a name to a character based on the description of that character. One of the best developed portion of Perelandra's similarities with the epic is the very vivid description of the Underworld which is given in the last section of Perelandra. In it, we get the quite hellish descriptions of the subterranean world of Perelandra, which we had no idea existed. Lewis also gives us his reoccurring theme of privacy and the fact that we do not know everything, with the two thrones and the sea people who appear and then disappear very mysteriously.
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