“The second book in the Lewis' Space Trilogy series finds Dr. Ransom making the the trip to Perelandra (Venus), a beautiful land of floating islands and extraordinary creatures. He meets the Green Lady, untouched by evil, shame or guilt. Ransom's old nemesis, Weston soon shows up and ends up being...”see full review » see other reviews »
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“This book was just so slow for me. I know it was amazingly written, and I will give kudos to Lewis for creating a fascinating alternative Eden. I just could NOT get through it. It dragged and dragged for me. Parts with obvious parallels to the Adam and Eve story were very interesting, but...”see full review » see other reviews »
“This is the second book in the "Space Trilogy" that began in Out of the Silent Planet. I've seen the titles on several science fiction recommendation lists, and the books are considered classics of the genre, but if you've read the first two books, it's evident that what Lewis wrote was consciously un-science fiction. That's not simply because of the liberties taken with science--pretty much all science-fiction writers do that. Einstein's theory of Relativity tells us nothing can exceed the speed of light, and our science tells us any inhabitable planets are years and years away at that top speed, but it doesn't stop such contrivances as "hyper-drive" and "warp drive."
Nor is it so much that this isn't so much fiction about science and technology as it is Christian allegory. Early on in Out of the Silent Planet I thought it obvious these books have much more in common with Milton or Swift than Verne or Wells. That's only underlined in this novel which is basically a Paradise Lost set on Venus, with the "Green Lady" as an unfallen Eve and Weston from the previous novel in the role of the serpent--and it's very Miltonian in the way he attempts to subvert her. But then all great science fiction has its underlying message. You can't read Isaac Asimov's Naked Sun or Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or even Scott Westerfeld's Specials without being aware of a message, even if it's much more blatant in Lewis.
Part of Lewis' message though is against the humanistic thrust of science fiction itself. In the last book, Ransom spoke of the purpose of the book as "a change-over from the conception of Space to the conception of Heaven." This book talks of the very idea and dream of space exploration, particularly as envisioned in science fiction, as opening "a new chapter of misery for the universe." There's an anti-Reason and anti-science streak in Lewis--and Christianity--I've always found unattractive very evident here. And at times I found his Christian polemic eye-rolling. Especially early on when one absurdity of the doctrine of bodily resurrection is pointed out to Ransom and he counters with this idea of the "trans-sexual." (Admittedly, a lot of the giggle-worhiness of the moment comes from a contemporary meaning of the term Lewis could not have anticipated.) I see Ransom's arguments as much as a sophistry as those of Weston. (Much of Weston's cant is strikingly contemporary--when he rants against "dualism", I can't help but think of a friend's tirade against "binaries.") Like another reviewer though, I did find it disconcerting that Lewis--or at least Ransom--feels violence is a great resolution to a conflict when you're losing an argument. In other words, for all that so many have pointed me to him as a Christian apologist with a brain who would appeal to an intellectual, I don't find Lewis convincing.
So why did I keep reading anyway despite all I found dreary, unappealing and unconvincing? Well, partly because I do want to read the conclusion, That Hideous Strength, because I hear it deals with Arthurian legend. But there's also that I have no doubt when I'm reading him that Lewis is a first rate writer with a first rate mind. He's a pleasure to read, despite his didacticism. And you know, I've seen Lewis accused of racism and sexism in Narnia. I thought that a bum rap even while reading Narnia for several reasons, but it's only cemented in my mind that's wrongheaded reading these two books. The first book stands as a great refutation and repudiation of racism and imperialism to my mind, and the books stand out to me as the anti-thesis of xenophobia, with imaginative alien worlds that stand very much in contrast to more paranoid scenarios of alien beings. It's evident--and all the more resonant knowing the first book was published in 1938 and this one in 1944--that Lewis very much does not believe color or shape matters. Lewis might be an Englishman and in many ways conservative--that doesn't make him a Kipling. And while I can see a patriarchal thrust to the "Green Lady" and her King... Well, admittedly, I might not feel that way if I hadn't read Paradise Lost recently and noted all the ways Milton ground the very idea of Eve being an equal into dust... but in contrast Lewis doesn't come across as misogynistic to me given this book is practically, Paradise Retained, Or Milton Fan Fiction.
So, yes, a superbly written and at times thought-provoking (even if at times hair-pulling) book worth the reading, even if it lacks the charm of the Narnia books. And a short, fast paced read too.”
“The second book in the Lewis' Space Trilogy series finds Dr. Ransom making the the trip to Perelandra (Venus), a beautiful land of floating islands and extraordinary creatures. He meets the Green Lady, untouched by evil, shame or guilt. Ransom's old nemesis, Weston soon shows up and ends up being possessed by evil, seeking to convince the Green Lady (Eve on Earth) that Maledil (Jesus) really wants her to disobey so she can become "older" (the term for wisdom). In a stark contrast with the events on Earth, Ransom's intense struggle with Weston ends up with the destruction of Weston and the ushering in of paradise with the Green Lady and the King. An extraordinarily rich and profound spiritual allegory. ”BARRY L. DAVIS wrote this review Wednesday, July 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love Ransom's journey as he realizes that sometimes you must physically battle against a seemingly invincible evil.”Applesnort wrote this review Monday, July 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Parallels the story of Eve, only in this story there is someone there to help provide a voice of reason. Also, a lot of focus on spiritual warfare.”David Locke wrote this review Sunday, March 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My favorite reading of the three books simply because Lewis crafted some extremely beautiful, fantastical sentences--sentences that I could visualize and harmonize with in complete enjoyment. Here Ransom goes to another planet and encounters different allegorical conflicts, but it was the syntax and langauge that Lewis used that thralled me.”Mark V wrote this review Tuesday, February 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was good, I liked Out of the Silent Planet better. A lot of references to Christianity that I didn't recognize at first.”Tar Heel wrote this review Sunday, January 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm sure that there are many deep undertones to these books. I'm just not very good at picking up on those kinds of things.”Dr. H. wrote this review Thursday, January 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Probably one of my favorite fictional works. This books offers an incredible picture of what man was like in Paradise and the nature of the fall.”jrinta wrote this review Monday, December 31, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The first two thirds of this novel are excellent - full of enchantment and a really griping sense of drama at the potential loss. The final section somewhat lost my attention - perhaps it is a little long in the celebration, perhaps it is just that the tension had been so great that once relieved you can't avoid anti-climax? ”Gwilym wrote this review Wednesday, November 14, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No