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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of The Cosmic Trilogy
This book is often unfairly maligned as being the 'weakest' of the three books in the science fiction trilogy. In my humble opinion it is the best. Superlatives will have to suffice: a plethora of superbly sketched characters; a bizarre plot deftly handled with the separate elements woven together nicely at the end; moments of true horror and terror; I could go on and...
Published on 9 Mar 2000

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but philosophically flawed
Much more interesting than the previous two volumes in CSL's "Space Trilogy", mainly because its set on Earth with a large cast of human characters. The previous books had only two or three human characters, all the aliens being stereotypes. The working class characters in THS are patronising stereotypes but there's not many of them. CSL was an academic and can therefore...
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by Aquilonian


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part 3 of the trilogy, 26 Aug 2008
By 
G. Horsham (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I struggled with this book, I have to admit, making two separate attempts to complete it, but ultimately I did and I enjoyed it.

The Cosmic Trilogy, of which this is the final part, opened my eyes to Lewis's phenomenal creative and brilliant literary talent. There is so much more to Lewis than the Narnia chronicles. Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra relate the science fiction space travel story, to other worlds, of Ransom, the central character. In That Hideous Strength, the story is based on Earth, with Mark Studdock playing the wayward human and N.I.C.E. the organisation trying to bring the downfall of mankind. Ransom plays a smaller part, together with Mark's wife Jane, both of whom try and show the righteous way. The analogy with Adam and Eve and the serpent is clear.

Like most of Lewis's books, there are lots of Christian analogies throughout, which you can take or leave as you please. They certainly do not detract from a great story.

Lewis and Tolkien went to college together, and both were members of the Inklings literary group. Possibly Tolkien is more in the public spotlight these days, however, the more you read Lewis, the more you just get blown away by his writing.

I recommend reading the trilogy and persevering. Reading That Hideous Strength on its own may be possible, but would make a lot more sense if the 2 others are read first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start but finishes strongly, 21 Jun 1998
By A Customer
As a fairy tale, this book starts off rather slowly (as many fairy tales do), but the action eventually picks up and the ending is good. Besides the story line, this book presents a more right brained approach to the things Lewis wrote about in THE ABOLITION OF MAN, as well as a depiction of the groups he talks about in his essay "The Inner Ring", the 6th chapter of his book THE WEIGHT OF GLORY. Lewis manages bring in several other mythologies into his own story, including Numinor (from his friend J.R.R. Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS) and Merlin (from the Arthurian saga). If you can patiently work your way through the start of this novel, the body and ending of it will reward your efforts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 April 2008
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This is the third and final book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. This book was written as a sequel to the immensely popular Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra but Lewis also wrote it so that the story can stand on its own. So if you haven't read the first, you can start here.

That Hideous Strength, unlike the first 2 books in this series, where Ransom leaves earth and fights evil in space and on other planets, the battle in this book takes place on earth.

Ransom must lead a group of faithful believers against National Institute for Coordinated Experiments or N.I.C.E., an organization that believes that Science can solve all of humanity's problems. He must battle the people in this organization, super aliens trying to invade and control earth and use its population against other planets and against God.

On top of all of that, Merlin has arisen from his long sleep and has arisen in England's time of greatest need. But the question is, who will find him first - N.I.C.E. or Ransom and his team? The fate of the world, and possibly the universe, rests on this question.

Lewis called this story an adult's fairy-tale. It is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and a book that will keep your attention as you raptly turn the pages to find out where Lewis will lead you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 April 2008
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: That Hideous Strength (Paperback)
This is the third and final book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. This book was written as a sequel to the immensely popular Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra but Lewis also wrote it so that the story can stand on its own. So if you haven't read the first, you can start here.

That Hideous Strength, unlike the first 2 books in this series, where Ransom leaves earth and fights evil in space and on other planets, the battle in this book takes place on earth.

Ransom must lead a group of faithful believers against National Institute for Coordinated Experiments or N.I.C.E., an organization that believes that Science can solve all of humanity's problems. He must battle the people in this organization, super aliens trying to invade and control earth and use its population against other planets and against God.

On top of all of that, Merlin has arisen from his long sleep and has arisen in England's time of greatest need. But the question is, who will find him first - N.I.C.E. or Ransom and his team? The fate of the world, and possibly the universe, rests on this question.

Lewis called this story an adult's fairy-tale. It is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and a book that will keep your attention as you raptly turn the pages to find out where Lewis will lead you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The abolition of man, 18 Dec 2010
"That hideous strength" is a science fiction/fantasy novel by British writer C.S. Lewis, otherwise mostly known for his children's tales about Narnia. Lewis wrote a "space trilogy" for adults, of which "That hideous strength" is the concluding part. The novels of the trilogy can be read independently of each other.

The plot of the novel revolves around a secret, evil brotherhood. The brotherhood, known as NICE, are a kind of anti-humanist, technology-worshipping Satanists. Their ostensible goal is to give humans eternal life through some kind of cloning. NICE probably symbolize the evils of modern, industrial civilization (and its enchanting allure). Their real goal is, in effect, the abolition of man. The rituals of NICE are based on conspiracy theories about secret Templar and Masonic rituals. Indeed, there is a strong atmosphere of conspiracy thinking in the novel. I'm surprised that it's almost never referenced by conspiracy theorists. Of course, the conspiracism is a literary device. There is nothing in Lewis' non-fiction indicating that he believed in conspiracies. Once again, my guess is that NICE is a symbol of modern science gone mad, and modernity in general being turned against humanity.

Lewis was a fairly conservative Christian, and "That hideous strength" is therefore imbued with a Christian message and various supernatural elements. The scientists of NICE, at least initially, believe that they have cracked the secret of immortality through scientific means. In reality, their bizarre laboratory has been taken over by demons! NICE are challenged by a small group of Christians, led by the mysterious Elwin Ransom, who always reminded me of Jesus. Another supernatural character is the wizard Merlin. More annoying are the patriarchal elements of the story: marriage is for life, women should obey their husbands, and so on. Ransom is a pretty bad marriage counsellor! Another disturbing kind of Christian morality comes across when Merlin exclaims: "I'm not immoral. The only people I ever killed were heathen Saxons". So that makes it alright, then?

Still, my main problem with "That hideous strength" isn't the conservative Christian message. Obviously, a Christian writer will write Christian books. The novel goes somewhat astray on two other points. First, there is a disconnect between the first part of the novel (almost a suspense thriller) and the second part, where Lewis introduces elements of Arthurian romance and a unexpected cross-over with the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien (!). I don't mind supernatural elements in sci fi novels, but these feel like the wrong kinds of supernatural elements. A charismatic revival is thrown in for good measure at the end, presumably as a foretaste of the apocalypse. Once again, the reader is left wondering what on earth is going on...

The other problem I have is that Lewis somehow wanted to write a novel about pretty much everything. The introduction of a bear in the story becomes an opportunity to preach against pantheism. On another page, Lewis discusses various ways of approaching a spiritual conversion experience. And what attitude should true Christians have towards the House of Windsor? Stay tuned for a theologically correct answer. Rather than developing two or three (Christian) themes, Lewis wants to develop them all. It's almost as if he forgot that he was writing a novel, rather than a non-fiction book!

That being said, I nevertheless found "That hideous strength" interesting, even intriguing. The criticism of mad science, phoney progress and secret elites was particularly interesting. As a secular "leftist", I presumably criticize society from almost exactly the opposite vantage point compared to a conservative Anglican.

Still, it can hardly be denied that "science" and "progress" untempered with morality are...evil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have it on paper, I want it digital, 1 Jan 2012
By 
George Lashkhi (Tbilisi, Georgia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
But seems I can't have it - for some obscure reason amazon.com refuses to sell me one as I'm in Europe, and amazon.co.uk proceeds to tell me I should buy it on amazon.com as this ebook they sell through UK site is for UK residents only

Seeing as there are no shipment expenses involved or anything of the kind at all, I can't see the reason behind the affair. Discriminating, I call it, and highly so.

I've rated it 5 stars, but that would be the book's merit, not the chaps selling it :D
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Hideous Strength, 27 Dec 2009
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This book started slowly and was clearly of its own era but it became absolutely fascinating as I realised just how much the ideas and imagery had either influenced or were part of subsequent science fiction themes. It was very good on the analysis of character, relationships and motivation, had some splendid passages of philosophical thought and depiction of landscape. Anyone who has ever felt powerless in a corrupt atmosphere, where words are twisted, right and wrong confused and power abused would fully appreciate the denouement.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly "Fantastic"!, 7 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Lewis apoligizes for a slow start in having to describe the "mundane". This, however, sets the stage for the fantastic. Never before had Greek mythology or the Arthurian legends held any appeal for me. This book happily marries these
themes to a worldly mindset out of control. Much time is spent on the introspect which accents the physical events in
the story. Enjoy!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very Lewis, 11 May 1997
By A Customer
As a story, That Hideous Strength is of a lesser calibre than Out of the Silent Planet or Perelandra, the other books in the Cosmic Trilogy. As an allogory and as an exploration of ultimate Truth, however, That Hideous Strength is a wonderful book; it is theology dressed up as a story and, so long as one acknowledges this, it is a deeply satisfying book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Culmination of the 'Perelandra' trilogy, 16 Feb 2014
By 
K. Gajewski (Accrington Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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An excellent read - plot, characterisation and writing skill are all evident in this novel. It carries a fictional working-out of themes C S Lewis explores in his famous extended essay 'The Abolition of Man' but is never overly moralistic. It carries a dire warning of the perils associated with rejection of objective truth. A must-read for those concerned by the disintegration of the Christian consensus in contemporary 'Western' civilisation.
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That Hideous Strength (Voyager Classics)
That Hideous Strength (Voyager Classics) by C. S. Lewis (Paperback - 3 Dec 2001)
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