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That Hideous Strength (Voyager) Paperback – 3 Jul 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (3 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006281672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006281672
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 651,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The New Yorker"

In his usual polished prose, the author creates an elaborate satiric picture of a war between morality and devilry.



"The New Yorker"

If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.



"Los Angeles Times"

Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.



"The New Yorker"In his usual polished prose, the author creates an elaborate satiric picture of a war between morality and devilry.

"The New Yorker"If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.

"Los Angeles Times"Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.

"The New Yorker" If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.

"Los Angeles Times" Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.

"The New Yorker" In his usual polished prose, the author creates an elaborate satiric picture of a war between morality and devilry. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

She had begun by dreaming simply of a face. Its expression was frightening because it was frightened. The face belonged to a man who was sitting hunched up in one corner of a little square room with white-washed walls – waiting, she thought, for those who had him in their power to come in and do something horrible to him. At last the door was opened…She could not make out what the visitor was proposing to him, but she did discover that the prisoner was under sentence of death. Whatever the visitor was offering him was something that frightened him more than that. The visitor, still smiling his cold smile, unscrewed the prisoner's head and took it away. Then all became confused.

The third novel in C.S. Lewis's classic sci-fi trilogy begins with Jane Studdock's horrific nightmare. The next morning she sees the same face in a newspaper – a brilliant French scientist guillotined for poisoning his wife. Jane has the growing feeling that she is being warned of something real and sinister. Her husband, Mark, meanwhile, is drawn into the National Institute for Co -ordinated Experiments, which is engaged in a plan to control human life.

'An extravagant mingling of dream and realism…excellent and thrilling reading'
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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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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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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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?
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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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