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on 3 September 2016
A timeless classic that sets scene for trilogy.. wonderful description s some great differences put forward re scenery and culture. Thought provoking the way it subtlety challenges accepted social norms and thinking.
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on 9 May 2008
I put off reading this book for a very long time and I regretted doing so almost as soon as I'd begun reading it. It's a complete breath of fresh air (the age of this story defies belief). Lewis' writing style is flowing, his ideas timeless and his delivery both profound and universal. However `Out of Silent Planet' is by no means a perfect story.

This is a short book, close to a novella in length, which is very useful if you're concerned that perhaps the material won't be to your liking. But while I appreciated the brevity, which allowed for good pacing, I would have preferred more character development, especially in regards to the protagonist who is given only the most basic attributes. There's no real sense of Ransom as a person- he's purely the `everyman'- reacting as most people would in his situation, which obviously has its advantages, but struck me as a hesitancy on the author's part to provide him with any distinguishing features. He seemed to me to be less of a person and more of a walking, talking story-telling device, the vehicle for an idea, one designed to entice as large a readership as possible into Lewis's science-fiction themes. Consequently, Ransom never shows very much emotion, even at the untimely demise of one of his closest newly made companions on Malacandra. So rather than a character-driven adventure, the end result is instead an analytical and well-plotted exploration of classic science-fiction themes and is a story that often sacrifices warmth and intimacy between characters for grand themes and logical thought progressions.

But the story works, there's no doubt about it- `Out of the Silent Planet' is a truly compelling tale and one that I heartily recommend. With so many examples of fiction treating aliens as nothing more than the off-worlders next door, it's really refreshing for a story to explore how exactly a human being would react to the first-hand experience of meeting the member of another species in the flesh, to invalidate all our imaginative assumptions, all our vague wonderings and lofty expectations, and to reward readers with creatures wholly outside our species' realm of experience. At times confusing, but consistently thought-provoking, inherently flawed, but impressively timeless.
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on 18 September 1998
This was a great novel, but it had it's flaws. The plot line of Out of the Silent Planet is excellent, perhaps one of the best sci-fi plots I have come across, but the characterization is something to be desired. Don't get me wrong, the charcters were plenty entertaining and Lewis developed them nicely, but they are a little bit one sided. By that I mean that Dr. Ransom (the main character of the story) is all good -- he has no bad traits. And the antagonist(s) are the same way, they are bad, plain and simple. Personally I like a little bit of ambiguity... just somthing to make the story a little more interesting and a little less predictable. The reason for this aspect of Lewis' characters is probably because of the religous message embeded in the story, for most religons have characteristics of pure love and pure hate rather than ambiguous qualities that I am talking about. (Don't let the religon and deeper meaning thing scare you off, it's still great sci-fi!) Besides the whole religous reasoning, the characters may be a little lacking simply because this is one of Lewis' earlier works, thus he had not likely had much experiance in character development. If you like fantasy and havn't read The Chronicles of Narnia, you may want to read those first (they are also by C. S. Lewis), but otherwise I recommend this novel (despite the negative connotation of this review :). It is, overall, well written and thoroughly entertaining. You definately will not be able to put it down.
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This is the first book in C.S. Lewis's amazing Space Trilogy. These books are far less known than Lewis's Narnia series or even his Mere Christianity or The Screwtape Letters, yet it is just as good as any of those writings and goes to show the versatility of Lewis as an author.

This first book begins with our hero, Dr. Ransom, out for a walking tour in the countryside, dressed in that shabby way for which professors are renowned. His foes are his former schoolmates Devine and Weston. These men believe they need a human sacrifice, and by capturing Ransom they have their victim, for they have made a spaceship and are taking Ransom to Malacandra the red planet.

Once on Mars, Ransom escapes his captors, meets many species, and finds out that on Mars there has been no `Fall' and Ransom from Earth or the Silent Planet is a bit of an oddity. People from earth are considered to be `bent' in nature, from the original sin of the fall.

Follow Ransom as he treks across a strange world, and must find the courage to risk it all to save not only an alien race, but also, possibly his own soul.

This is a first book in an amazing series. Try it - you won't be disappointed.
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on 17 April 2015
The prose may feel a little dated to some 21st century ears, but in some ways that is quite nice, and who is to say that in the future we may not return to a more formal and genteel form of language.
But the important point is that the story feels real and is engaging and certainly ahead of its time.
It is interesting that a lot of the author’s own philosophical and Christian perspectives are expressed in fairly subtle form throughout, but you really wouldn't expect anything else; it's there if you want to see it. But Lewis could be understated be and this is ultimately sci-fi, so if religion is not your thing and you are not looking for it, it's inclusion really won't 'spoil' your enjoyment of the book.
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on 13 September 2009
In this, the first of Lewis' Cosmic Trilogy, three men travel - one unwillingly - to Malacandra (Mars), and there they encounter the different lifeforms of the planet. C.S. Lewis, ever the Christian Thinker/Apologist, explores the utopian possibilities of a world where very different intelligent life-forms live sympathetically side by side, each fulfilling its own special role and respecting others' differences.
The events and conversations expose and confront the 'bent' ways of a fallen earth: Thulcandra - the Silent Planet of the title, and challenge us with the idea of other, better ways.
Like all Lewis' narratives, the plotting is simple, and it is certainly not 'science' fiction; he addresses almost no scientific issues at all, unlike say, Jules Verne, who revelled in working out as much of the science as possible when he also took adventurers into other worlds.
Narnia for adults? Perhaps.
Lewis gives us, as always, a book of ideas intended to make us reflect, and he succeeds.
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on 8 August 2014
Disclaimer :CS Lewis wrote his space trilogy decades before space travel became a reality. For his generation the notion that afterall there could be sentiment beings on Mars and Venus was perfectly possible. So, having got that out of the way what would a Christian Philologist imagine?

Of course this is not just any Christian, or any philologist, this is the brilliant Lewis himself. Fasten your seatbelt for an extra-ordinary journey into space with the kidnapped Oxford don and philologist Professor Ransom. Ransom's unique skills mean that not only is he able to learn the languages of the extra-ordinary beings he meets on Malacandra (the true name, we learn for Mars) but perhaps his journey was somehow predestined.

Out of the silent planet is the first in the space trilogy. Once read never forgotten.
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on 20 October 1998
Five out of five is way to high -- the characters are plastic, the narrator has a set of annoying mental habits, and the odd descriptions of a truly odd world are often downright confusing. Three out of five is too low -- the book is original and often paints its colorful world with grace and style. (3.5?)
This book IS like Narnia -- a book of Christian ideas told in with almost adolescent simplicity. The reason you'll like it is because, occasionally, it hits home. And when it does, you realize that the world C.S. Lewis is painting, however simple, is one you would like to see more of.
If you need a quick idealistic reprieve from your modern world, give it a try.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2002
First published in 1938 and regarded as a classic this is the first part of a trilogy. Owing a certain amount to H.G. Wells this first book is about a voyage to another planet, Mallacandra, which is what the 'natives' call their planet. For the most part this is an adventure which could be considered fantasy or science fiction. The category on the back is fiction/literature (ooh, literature! - I must be well read now!).

As you probably know, Lewis's books were usually allegories of christian beliefs. I found this didn't really get in the way of a good adventure story and probably enhanced it...
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on 20 January 2014
Forgetting just how intelligent Lewis is, this was a wonderful refresher into the imagination of such a great writer. It was impossible not to sink into such a fantastic world, and I was reading parts to my husband just to share with him how wonderful it really was. Details such as language, and how it can change the perception of "civilisation" gave me so much to think about, and despite it being remarkably short you feel for the hnau Ransom meets on his adventure.

I would recommend this to anyone, and personally will be starting the second in the trilogy in the minutes after I have finished this review. Science-fiction has this wonderful way of challenging the norms of life, and this was so subtly done so as to not exclude those who would read it without a philosophical mind. It would be far too easy to begin to hope that the descriptions were truth, and has so much to continue to think about, I will be enjoying this in my memory for a good long time to come.
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