Three very different novels,
This review is from: The Cosmic Trilogy: "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra" and "That Hideous Strength" (Paperback)
Out of the Silent Planet
This is an intriguing story of one man's encounter with the intelligent alien life forms on the planet Malacandra, better known to us as Mars. Lewis is very good at creating an alien way of life and a totally different philosophical outlook from that of humans. The religious undertones are well handled and subtly done - those who do not wish to acknowledge that dimension can just treat this as a very good SF novel rather ahead of its time in terms of its treatment of otherness.
Perelandra started off quite dramatically, but soon transformed into a plotless spiritual tract. I have no problem with Lewis's philosophy as the underpinning to a story, as it was in Out of the Silent Planet, but not when it replaces the story as it did here. The scene, however, was set for a more exciting story in the concluding part of the trilogy, That Hideous Strength.
That Hideous Strength
This final part of the trilogy is longer than the first two put together. It's a bit of a mixed bag though with more good than bad, certainly much better than the largely tedious Perelandra. The first three quarters are exciting, with a growing sense of foreboding about the amorality of the Institute's activities, with interesting things to say about science and religion and subjective v. objective philosophical viewpoints. But the last 100 pages were somewhat disappointing with the plot being obscured with opaque and rather arbitrary cultural references and seemingly random and inexplicable happenings, leading to a rather unsatisfactory conclusion.