The first book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity.
Sometimes I really like “going back in time” and read some of the old books in the genre. This one had been on my to-read shelf for a while. Unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment.
The book is of course old so one would expect the science in it to be somewhat outdated and that it is indeed. Luckily there is very little science in this book since the little there is would have been outdated already when it was written.
Okay, fair enough. It is an old book after all. Unfortunately there is little real adventure in this book. Sure, Ransom is stranded on Malacandra (supposedly Mars) and he is discovering the planet, the inhabitants and making new friends. However, it is all happening in a fairly dull and long-winded manner. What is worse is that most of the conversation is made up of downright boring philosophical and (pseudo)religious dialogues between Ransom and various alien entities.
Lewis is also goes to great lengths in painting the humans as a horrible species that have lost their (religious) roots and divine mentor. It all ends up to a rather dull, even a bit depressing, book. I’m afraid that the only real enjoyment I had of this book was the somewhat old-fashioned use of the English language which was quite fun to read.