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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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of The Cosmic Trilogy, 9 Mar 2000
By A Customer
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 on but - read this book! The influence of Charles Williams' thrillers on 'That Hideous Strength' have been noted before now. In my opinion they are eclipsed by this, a definate curates' egg in English Literature.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move Over, Huxley and Orwell., 6 May 1998
By A Customer
Lewis' apocolyptic vision of where mankind is headed hits far closer to the mark than the more widely read visions such as Brave New World and 1984. This is because Lewis recognizes that the evil lies not in technology or even politics but in the human heart.
Lewis also shows a deeper understanding of how society functions -- as an investigative researcher I can vouch for the accuracy of his portrayal of how nefarious organizations manipulate the press, for example. He grasps what other writers never even seem to comprehend -- that it is the small choices made daily that lead down the path to Hell.
As philosophy, as social commentary, or as a rolicking good story, That Hideous Strength is a compelling read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than you might think, 16 April 2008
By 
Mark Grindell "Mark Grindell" (Driffield, East Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: That Hideous Strength (The Cosmic Trilogy) (Paperback)
This book is curious, at the very least because at the time it was published there was a mild fuss over the possibility that Lewis was referring to parallel organizations and individuals quite close to hand. I am aware of at least two communities of Christians who bear an astonishing resemblance to those in the book; and this intrigues me greatly. Were those communities real distant cousins of St Annes?

...and whether or not that is true, his ability to puts words and music to some of the most vexing characters you may ever meet is extraordinary. I never get tired, for instance, of Lewis's depiction of Wither, and Frost is even more strange; both are characteristically mundane and quite terrifying. Close to central to the book' focus is the idea that any individual can unwisely decouple themselves from the warmth and happiness that accompanies the human experience in exchange for knowledge and power. In this case, obviously, you would say "forbidden knowledge and power", but by examining this in extremis, we can read this both as entertainment, and as admonition for lesser and more common problems in our own cosmos.

Well, to more detail. Lewis's story here is/was tremendously ahead of it's time - dreams of a hideous experiment, ostensibly concerning rehabilitation engineering (which is the proper term) whose consequences spill out far further into destructive metaphysics and politics, would work well in the 21st century in the hands of any of the contemporary directors (though I'm not sure they would interpret the main content of the book so very well), but regardless, there is here an acute pace and imminent feeling of decision and action that overbears nicely into the current frame; it's not really suitable for children but teenagers will lap it up.

Arthur? Merlin? Eldils? Words whispered to a pet bear? ...and that is another piece of marvellous descriptive prose; that part where Mr Bultitude's world view and whose pre-Adamite furry mind shows him to be quite a formidable character... The happiest of endings, where Mr Bultitude the bear finds a mate, everyone finds each other, and the angels dance?

Take your pick. I have no idea if Lewis honestly meant these things by allegory or something more literal; he always seems to write far beyond anything I ever experienced (or at least, so I think most of the time) but there are strange things in the world to be sure. And we are there, embedded into that world; as evidence for that, gaze into a mirror some time. We are all stranger than we know.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Hideous Strength is the best of the Space Trilogy, 18 Aug 1997
By A Customer
It seems that people either like That Hideous Strength the best or least of the Space Trilogy. I think the reason is that That Hideous Strength is very different than the other two books. It took me a couple of chapters to realize that this book was not going where Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet went, but when I realized that I could enjoy the book on its own merits. In fact, this is my favorite book in the trilogy. Although a Christian theme runs throughout the trilogy, when it is presented in That Hideous Strength it becomes more accessible. The evil in the book could and does happen. The basic good in the book is no less extraordinary (with certain exceptions). The adventures of Ransom on other planets in the first two books of the trilogy were to prepare him for the battle on Earth in That Hideous Strenth. An interesting phenomenon of this book for me was that when I was reading about Mark and the N.I.C. E. I longed for the story to switch to Jane and the group at St. Anne's. The people at N.I.C.E. were so disagreeable and petty and backstabbing that it made me realize what C. S. Lewis was saying about the nature of evil (or the devil). This book can be read for its story alone, but it is much more rewarding if you think about the ideas and beliefs present as well.
Even if you are not religious or a christian the book can inspire you to think about what you believe in.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating conclusion to the space trilogy, 24 April 2002
By 
This novel is a wonderful conclusion to CS Lewis' space trilogy, which began with Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra (also published as Voyage to Venus). I use the word 'wonderful' in it's fullest original meaning i.e. full of wonder.
That Hideous Strenght was one of the first SF books I bought and is at least in part responsible for the five crammed bookcases which now house my collection.
Lewis has blended classical, Arthurian, medieval legend and allegory for the climax to the story of Ransome.
The book is suffused throughout with Lewis' Christian beliefs and philosophy but don't let that put you off - as an agnostic bordering on atheist myself I can assure you that it doesn't detract from the book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic, wise, 13 Oct 2000
By 
Extollager (Mayville, ND United States) - See all my reviews
I turn to this novel again and again. Lewis put everything he loved into it -- references to J R R Tolkien's mythology, allusions to the theories of Owen Barfield and the poetry of Charles Williams; love of British countryside and weather; economic insights that have won praise from Wendell Berry - - many more examples could be given.
And it's a thrilling story, with psychic dreams, an Orwellian science fiction theme, and a satisfactorily Jacobean climax.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel, 12 Aug 2001
By A Customer
C S Lewis was one of the finest writers of fantasy before the term was coined; in the wake of his friend J R R Tolkien's "The Hobbit" the field expanded from Wellsian Martians and Morlocks to encompass parallel and imagined worlds rather than grim futures. This book, the third in the trilogy about Ransome and Weston, takes the Pendragon myth as its central theme, and explores the impact on a nightmarish Orwellian "modern" Britain of the return of Merlin. While Lewis's (1945) views can appear reactionary, his love for England and its open arms and acceptance of other cultures and influences (barring totalitarianism of either wing) is evident throughout. More humourous, more adult, less bible-bashing than Narnia. A truly wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel, 12 Aug 2001
By A Customer
C S Lewis was one of the finest writers of fantasy before the term was coined; in the wake of his friend J R R Tolkien's "The Hobbit" the field expanded from Wellsian Martians and Morlocks to encompass parallel and imagined worlds rather than grim futures. This book, the third in the trilogy about Ransome and Weston, takes the Pendragon myth as its central theme, and explores the impact on a nightmarish Orwellian "modern" Britain of the return of Merlin. While Lewis's (1945) views can appear reactionary, his love for England and its open arms and acceptance of other cultures and influences (barring totalitarianism of either wing) is evident throughout. More humourous, more adult, less bible-bashing than Narnia. A truly wonderful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness Garnished with Pantheism for a Wilder Ride, 8 Jan 2009
This review is from: That Hideous Strength (The Cosmic Trilogy) (Paperback)
Lewis, like his friend and fellow philologist Tolkien, dealt in the creation of realistic myth. This well paced novel culminates his Space Trilogy, commencing with Out of the Silent Planet and continuing with Perelandra, based on the theme of natural and beneficial order versus the illusion of unchecked, destructive "human progress."

While one may take objection to many of Lewis's ideas on religion - I myself do - the unseen world of the eldils, or angels - both good and bad - that he constructs is so grandiose and fascinating that I for one forgive him all offences.

The story opens quietly in a small English town, where a modern young woman - modern for 1945 that is - endures the frustrations of marriage to an underpaid fellow of a minor university. From this innocent beginning, the pair become entrapped by the machinery of a satanic group bent on world domination.

Step by step they are enticed into a satanic plan for world domination, yet, while the plot snares them with all the devilish menace that a reader could wish for, its grasp on their lives is achieved by everyday, believable manipulations: the threatened loss of employment, the flattery of recognition, the temptation of money, power and fame. Eventually the Satanists overreach themselves, and the novel culminates in an imaginative battle of good and evil, with both spiritual and brute physical forces on either side.

The writer George Orwell argues that the inevitable triumph of good over evil weakens the novel, but I don't agree. To me, its charm lies not in its ending but in the skill with which the story is told. It says much for this story, that though science has overtaken it during passage of half a century and more, its lives as though written today.

I particularly enjoy Lewis's construction of opposed hierarchies, and the subtlety with which both good and bad characters are drawn. But how remarkable it is that we are often drawn more to the bad characters! My favourite amongst these is Wither, an ancient villain, whose massive but crumbling intellect hides behind a façade of amiable vagueness as he schemes his way towards ultimate power.

Ending on this note, is it not strange and intriguing that a strong Christian apologist like professor Lewis should need to spice his calm beliefs with garnishes of magic, naturism and warlike demigods?

Graham Worthington, author, Wake of the Raven
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 4 Jun 1999
By A Customer
The third and final book in C.S. Lewis's science fiction trilogy is a curious mixture of 1984 style science (but written before it and more realistic!), ancient British mythology (Merlin is a major character) and more of the mythological stuff from the other books, which is too reliant on Graeco-Roman legends for my liking. I'd certainly describe it as more of a mixture of 1984 and fantasy than "real" science-fiction (not necessarily a bad thing). Having said all that, it is definitely a good read and tackles issues in science and sociology well, in addition to the question of how normal people become bad, which he does possibly as well as, but very differently to Dostoyevsky in "Crime and Punishment", as well as showing the way out. It also provides a climax (of a kind) to the trilogy.
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That Hideous Strength (The Cosmic Trilogy)
That Hideous Strength (The Cosmic Trilogy) by C. S. Lewis (Paperback - 5 Dec 2005)
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