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16 of 16 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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Audiobook review (book would rate 5 stars)
Please note that this is not a review of the book, which I would award 5 stars. Unfortunately Amazon combine results for book and audio.

If the works of C.S. Lewis lent themselves to a cold, detached reading with faint undertones of rue, cynicism and superiority then Blackstone Audiobooks could be congratulated on their choice of reader for That Hideous...
Published on 11 May 2012 by Lodekka


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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)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars a bit of a letdown as there is nothing new, but well written, 28 Aug. 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is the end of the trilogy, for the first time entirely on earth. It is a fun story of earthy corruption, with lots of Christian details, and some surprise figures like Merlin. But ultimately, it is a good story that does not do much really new. So if you are a fan of Lewis, which I am, it is a pleasure to reach the end. What really distinguishes this is the elegant writing. Lewis was a master of prose and theme. But I did enjoy the first two much much more as path-breaking if amateur scifi.

Recommended for fans. They will not be disappointed. But readers in search of hard and origianl sci fi will not find much to love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lewis's Space Trilogy, 6 Sept. 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Hideous Strength (Paperback)
Not as well know as the "Narnia" series, he wrote the trilogy ending with this book in 1945. As is usually true of Lewis, no matter how well hidden, he is circling a serious point about devilry as imagined in 1945. The space stories of Dr Ransom reach a satisfying, appropriate climax with the help of Druid Merlin (yes, that one!) and a young female clairvoyant as they battle the powers of evil.

A thrilling adventure, slightly dated but enjoyable none-the-less.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars except this one raises all the bars and almost makes up for Perelandra's slowness bringing the whole story to a great climax. Le, 20 May 2015
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This is the strongest of Lewis' space trilogy and by far the most powerful. I was as glued to this as I was the first book of the series, except this one raises all the bars and almost makes up for Perelandra's slowness bringing the whole story to a great climax. Lewis touches very deeply into the spiritual realms in this very dark but intriguing finale.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars The last and most powerful of the cosmic trilogy, 4 Oct. 2013
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Despite the talking bear this is not as charming as Out of the Silent Planet but has a stronger message. Set firmly on earth it is a lesson in the banality of evil, and a warning against pursuing ambition at the expense of principles and loved ones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best of the triology, 15 Feb. 2013
RECEIVED FREE COPY FROM LIBRARY

A smart writer, Lewis saved the best for last in his space and time triology. He ties ancient Celt and Roman legend into a modern day state acting as God on earth.
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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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