Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy Series #1)

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy Series #1)

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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. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684833644
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 10/01/1996
Series: Space Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: Classic Edition
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 229,290
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

C.S. Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Mere Christianity. He died in 1963.

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1898

Date of Death:

November 22, 1963

Place of Birth:

Belfast, Nothern Ireland

Place of Death:

Headington, England


Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The last drops of the thundershower had hardly ceased falling when the Pedestrian stuffed his map into his pocket, settled his pack more comfortably on his tired shoulders, and stepped out from the shelter of a large chestnut-tree into the middle of the road. A violent yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate. Every tree and blade of grass was dripping, and the road shone like a river. The Pedestrian wasted no time on the landscape but set out at once with the determined stride of a good walker who has lately realised that he will have to walk farther than he intended. That, indeed, was his situation. If he had chosen to look back, which he did not, he could have seen the spire of Much Nadderby, and, seeing it, might have uttered a malediction on the inhospitable little hotel which, though obviously empty, had refused him a bed. The place had changed hands since he last went for a walking-tour in these parts. The kindly old landlord on whom he had reckoned had been replaced by someone whom the barmaid referred to as "the lady," and the lady was apparently a British innkeeper of that orthodox school who regard guests as a nuisance. His only chance now was Sterk, on the far side of the hills, and a good six miles away. The map marked an inn at Sterk. The Pedestrian was too experienced to build any very sanguine hopes on this, but there seemed nothing else within range.

He walked fairly fast, and doggedly, without looking much about him, like a man trying to shorten the way with some interesting train of thought. He was tall, but a little round-shouldered, aboutthirty-five to forty years of age, and dressed with that particular kind of shabbiness which marks a member of the intelligentsia on a holiday. He might easily have been mistaken for a doctor or a schoolmaster at first sight, though he had not the man-of-the-world air of the one or the indefinable breeziness of the other. In fact, he was a philologist, and fellow of a Cambridge college. His name was Ransom.

He had hoped when he left Nadderby that he might find a night's lodging at some friendly farm before he had walked as far as Sterk. But the land this side of the hills seemed almost uninhabited. It was a desolate, featureless sort of country mainly devoted to cabbage and turnip, with poor hedges and few trees. It attracted no visitors like the richer country south of Nadderby and it was protected by the hills from the industrial areas beyond Sterk. As the evening drew in and the noise of the birds came to an end it grew more silent than an English landscape usually is. The noise of his own feet on the metalled road became irritating.

He had walked thus for a matter of two miles when he became aware of a light ahead. He was close under the hills by now and it was nearly dark, so that he still cherished hopes of a substantial farmhouse until he was quite close to the real origin of the light, which proved to be a very small cottage of ugly nineteenth-century brick. A woman darted out of the open doorway as he approached it and almost collided with him.

"I beg your pardon, sir," she said. "I thought it was my Harry."

Ransom asked her if there was any place nearer than Sterk where he might possibly get a bed.

"No, sir," said the woman. "Not nearer than Sterk. I dare say as they might fix you up at Nadderby."

She spoke in a humbly fretful voice as if her mind were intent on something else. Ransom explained that he had already tried Nadderby.

"Then I don't know, I'm sure, sir," she replied. "There isn't hardly any house before Sterk, not what you want. There's only The Rise, where my Harry works, and I thought you was coming from that way, sir, and that's why I come out when I heard you, thinking it might be him. He ought to be home this long time."

"The Rise," said Ransom. "What's that? A farm? Would they put me up ?"

"Oh no, sir. You see there's no one there now except the Professor and the gentleman from London, not since Miss Alice died. They wouldn't do anything like that, sir. They don't even keep any servants, except my Harry for doing the furnace like, and he's not in the house."

"What's this professor's name?" asked Ransom, with a faint hope.

"I don't know, I'm sure, sir," said the woman. "The other gentleman's Mr. Devine, he is, and Harry says the other gentleman is a professor. He don't know much about it, you see, sir, being a little simple, and that's why I don't like him coming home so late, and they said they'd always send him home at six o'clock. It isn't as if he didn't do a good day's work either."

The monotonous voice and the limited range of the woman's vocabulary did not express much emotion, but Ransom was standing sufficiently near to perceive that she was trembling and nearly crying. It occurred to him that he ought to call on the mysterious professor and ask for the boy to be sent home: and it occurred to him just a fraction of a second later that once he were inside the house -- among men of his own profession -- he might very reasonably accept the offer of a night's hospitality. Whatever the process of thought may have been, he found that the mental picture of himself calling at The Rise had assumed all the solidity of a thing determined upon. He told the woman what he intended to do.

"Thank you very much, sir, I'm sure," she said. "And if you would be so kind as to see him out of the gate and on the road before you leave, if you see what I mean, sir. He's that frightened of the Professor and he wouldn't come away once your back was turned, sir, not if they hadn't sent him home themselves like."

Ransom reassured the woman as well as he could and bade her good-bye, after ascertaining that he would find The Rise on his left in about five minutes. Stiffness had grown upon him while he was standing still, and he proceeded slowly and painfully on his way.

There was no sign of any lights on the left of the road -- nothing but the flat fields and a mass of darkness which he took to be a copse. It seemed more than five minutes before he reached it and found that he had been mistaken. It was divided from the road by a good hedge and in the hedge was a white gate: and the trees which rose above him as he examined the gate were not the first line of a copse but only a belt, and the sky showed through them. He felt quite sure now that this must be the gate of The Rise and that these trees surrounded a house and garden. He tried the gate and found it locked. He stood for a moment undecided, discouraged by the silence and the growing darkness. His first inclination, tired as he felt, was to continue his journey to Sterk: but he had committed himself to a troublesome duty on behalf of the old woman. He knew that it would be possible, if one really wanted, to force a way through the hedge. He did not want to. A nice fool he would look, blundering in upon some retired eccentric -- the sort of a man who kept his gates locked in the country -- with this silly story of a hysterical mother in tears because her idiot boy had been kept half an hour late at his work! Yet it was perfectly clear that he would have to get in, and since one cannot crawl through a hedge with a pack on, he slipped his pack off and flung it over the gate. The moment he had done so, it seemed to him that he had not till now fully made up his mind -- now that he must break into the garden if only in order to recover the pack. He became very angry with the woman, and with himself, but he got down on his hands and knees and began to worm his way into the hedge.

The operation proved more difficult than he had expected and it was several minutes before he stood up in the wet darkness on the inner side of the hedge smarting from his contact with thorns and nettles. He groped his way to the gate, picked up hi

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The New York Times This book has real splendor, compelling moments, and a flowing narrative.

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.

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Out of the Silent Planet 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 131 reviews.
haylee.jalyn More than 1 year ago
I am a devoted fan of Lewis and also a bit of scifi lover, so I was so excited the first time I heard of these books. Like his "Chronicles of Narnia" books, Lewis draws out a Bible-based story and idea in this space-travel plot, but unlike that series, these are written for an adult audience with more than just a friendly comparison to Christ or the Christian walk. These draw on much more profound questions in a person's belief and faith. I found this books thought provoking and totally interesting. Because of this, however, the story was a little dense and it took me longer than usual to read this small book. Even so, I loved it and I would recommend it to any fan of his.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In C.S. Lewis¿s science fiction classic, Out of the Silent Planet, we follow the journey of Dr. Elwin Ransom, a Christian philologist. With incredible wit and imagery, Lewis imprints a captivating story upon our mind. During a pleasure walk, Ransom inadvertently falls into some deep entanglements, is kidnapped, and transported to another planet. Here he finds a fantastic world, of pink and purple and green plants, warm blue rivers and lakes, chill air, and narrow green mountains that nearly pierce the planet¿s atmosphere. Furry, intelligent creatures dwell there, and angels walk the planet regularly. Throughout his stay on this planet, Ransom sees the evil effects of greed and humanism, and finds the Creator¿s handiwork in other parts of the universe. This is more than just a fantasy story. It is a journey into the realms of the soul, the spirit, the heart, and the mind -- one that will leave you exhilarated an encouraged. ---Ryan Robledo Author of the Aelnathan
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like science-fiction novels, you won't be able to stop reading this unpredictable story. A suspenseful space tale about one man's thrilling adventures on Malacandra (Mars). It has great characters, a captivating plot, and flawless description of the Malacandrian landscape. I recommend this novel because of its original and exciting storyline.
JeanFairclough More than 1 year ago
C. S. Lewis as far as I know was the first writer to create beautiful environments in science fiction writing. So much of today's science fiction is set in dark, foreboding places and oddly (in my opinion) includes medieval weaponry and warfare in futuristic ugly places. C. S. Lewis creates environments that would be fun to travel through in a videogame -- rolling hills that actually roll along taking you somewhere, thinking of wanting a cool mist on a hot day causes it to happen, catching giant fish to ride them somewhere. Friendly, beautiful creatures with whom to converse. I wrote somewhat about the trilogy in my review of Perelandra, so won't repeat it here, except to say I enjoyed it when I was 15 years old and in even wider ways recently at the age of 68. The narrator Geoffrey Howard is very good -- this is, if you have not yet discovered, very, very important to an audiobook. I really like the main character of this book. I really like the way C. S. Lewis inspires me to philosophize and analyze and in plain language, inspires me to think beyond the mundane.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To enjoy this book, remember that it was written in the late 1930s in England--it will not read like a 21st century American novel. Some familiarity with Platonic philosophy and medieval cosmology will help as well. Thus equipped, you will soon find that this book is a whole lot more than the 1930's pulp fiction that it pretends to be. In this book Lewis challenges our notions of self-identity, the primacy of the human race, and the supremacy of scientific materialism and technology over spirituality and the arts. In this brief work is much wisdom that is applicable to the current clash between modernism and post-modernism. Pay close attention to the epilogue, where clues are given to the true intentions of the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this many years ago, and was pleased to find tje ebook and that I still enjoyed it. It is harder now to get by the hilarious impossibilities that we realize make impossible Lewis' vision of life on Mars or Venus, but this is something you have to work through to appreciate any older sci fi. It is well worth this minor mental discomfort to enjoy the outstanding quality of his prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really made me think as I was reading it.Then when finished couldn't wait to start the second of the series.
lunaprecipita More than 1 year ago
The entire trilogy was not what I expected from C.S. Lewis. However, all three books are entertaining and interesting in their own right as science fiction. At the same time they are an allegory of the Christian journey. They are all fast -paced and quick reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lewis books never fail to pull the reader into the adventure and I was pleased to find the same with Out of the Silent Planet. Out of this world characters, devious villans, humble hero and help found in the most unlikely places. Great book for group reading and discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are some of the greatest liturature ever to be written. PLEASE finish the sieres. Other sci-fi is impossible to believe, but sometimes I wonder if Lewis is not just retelling a real life experience.
bitterblackale More than 1 year ago
Exactly what out-of-this-world sci-fi ought to be: a great adventure that also gives readers a look at humanity from the eyes of aliens with a lot of classic sci-fi elements from the likes of Verne, Wells, and Conan Doyle, and it is one that very much belongs on the same shelf as those great ones! It's also a good supposition story for those who believe in a god to consider the extra-terrestrial implications of an eternal supreme being.
JakeReedAz 15 days ago
C.S. Lewis' classic space trilogy is a daunting read for anyone who chooses to place themselves in the shoes of the story's main character, Dr. Ransom. Lewis challenges our perspectives and our faiths through the trials and experiences of Dr. Ransom as he adventures in the Silent Planet. This book is a must read for any science fiction fan, religious or not.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kind of boring until the end. I liked the philosophy and the set up that every planet has it's own god and then there's an overall god.
djaquay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Utterly wonderful, lightly touching on things of a spiritual nature (lightly, that is, compared to, say, Lewis's Narnia books). Even more surprising, for me, considering that it was written in the 1930's. I'll be proceeding on to the other two in the trilogy directly.
deanc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A different sort of a book for Lewis, if one's primary reference is his classic works of practical theology. One of his earliest books published (1938), the story was, as he states in the preface, inspired by the work of H.G. Wells (and I suspect others--like his good friend Tolkien, who had published the Hobbitt just the year before). It is a commendable foray into the world of sci-fi covered by a thin veneer of theological musings. If intelligent life does exist on other planets, then maybe somewhere they've gotten a better handle on how God intends for them to co-exist than we have here on earth. However, even if life exists only here, there is certainly more to reality than meets the eye. We are not alone--there is a whole world of almost visible reality around us, if we but open our spiritual eyes to see. The characters are interesting, the events and dialogue are plausible (considering the genre), and the writing is excellent, as one would expect of Lewis. At 158 pages it's a quick read and a good introduction to the celebrated Space Trilogy.
bonbooko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really refreshing and entertaining. Clear english writing. I listened to the trilogy in audiobook format, and that was really effective.
janoorani24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A really delightful early science fiction book. One of the things I loved was the way Lewis explains Mars' surface features using what little was known about the surface in 1938. His descriptions of space travel and arrival on an alien planet are quaint and improbable, but he seems to have tried to base his writing on scientific fact as he perceived it then. I really enjoyed the book and will try to find the other two in the trilogy to read.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Out of the Silent Planet is an early example of science fiction. The protagonist, Ransom, is kidnapped and sent into space, eventually arriving at a planet called Malacandra (he finds out later that it's our Mars). A lot of it is simply an exploration of the landscape and its species - hopefully the other books in the trilogy will be less tiresome in that regard, now that we've had our introduction - but there are some good bits of religion and morality at the end. It turns out that the people of Malacandra think of Earth as the "silent planet," literally godforsaken, compared to their own society where their god interacts with them. Which is interesting, and hopefully will make for a good jumping-off point for the rest of the trilogy
dreamingtereza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While That Hideous Strength appeals to my lifelong love of Arthurian legend and Perelandra is unquestionably the strongest of the trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet remains my sentimental favorite. Lewis's vivid descriptions are simply breathtaking, and the lengthy dialogue between the Oyarsa and the silly, evil humans on trial for murder is rather thought-provoking. Besides, "pfifltriggi" is absolutely one of the most fun words ever created.
mustreaditall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the only Lewis I've read aside from the Narnia series. Being as I was raised dirty heathen, I didn't pick up on the Christian aspects of his writing until later, and that still isn't the first thing that springs into view when I read him. Just so you know.I think my favorite parts of this one are the descriptions of Ransom lying in the spaceship, watching space go by. For someone who'd not only obviously never been to space, but didn't even have any descriptions from others who had, Lewis paints a detailed and engrossing picture of the teeming heavens. The whole book is obviously influenced by HG Wells' First Men in the Moon, but not enough to keep it from being very much its own novel.Now, don't get me wrong - there's a fairly simplistic "man is often evil due to the presence of Satan/bent Oyarsa on Earth, but the peoples of Mars are good, kind, and wise because they have true angels/true contact with God" theme running through the novel. Being as it's Lewis, I guess that's par for the course, and it didn't keep me from enjoying the story itself. I was intrigued by the idea of the various Martian races seeing each other as both human and animal (and thereby not needing pets in the way that Earthlings seem to, as a connection to the animal world within our own culture). I suspect that some folks right here see other races/nationalities the same way, and not in the respectful way Lewis lays on his creations.You know, I think this book (or the whole series - I haven't got far enough into it to know) helped inspired L'Engle when she wrote A Wrinkle in Time. Ransom's discussions with the different races is echoed in some of the childrens' encounters as they travel outward from Earth. Plus, there's the image of our planet being shrouded or silent - set apart from the rest of creation.final thought: It really all comes down to whether your believe that "Our right to supersede you is the right of the higher over the lower." I don't, and I enjoy the case made by Lewis on the matter as much as I enjoy his descriptions of the petrified Martian forests and the bright, warm stretches of space.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in Lewis¿ ¿Space Trilogy¿ (so called even though the 3rd book takes place entirely on earth). The hero of the series, Ransom, is kidnapped and taken to another planet where his captors plan to offer him as a sacrifice to the beings on that planet in order to gain their favor so that they can exploit the riches of this new world. This example of early science fiction is fascinating¿Lewis was much less interested in the science part than the ¿fantasy¿¿would make this book interesting in any event. However, as is usual with Lewis, the story has much more to say about the state of humanity than with the aspects of science he exploits to carry the story. It¿s interesting that both Ransom and his captors fail to understand the inhabitants of this alien planet.
Venqat65 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I have read it many, many times and the part that really stands out in my memory is when one of the creatures from Malacandra explains to the protagonist that it is not normal (it is bent) to wish to relive a period of time over and over again. Each part of a lifetime is a wonderful and unique thing and we should enjoy every second and not long to relive what is past.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the Narnia series in 4th grade and again in my mid 20s before I gave them all to my nephew. I've read some of Lewis' more "adult" works, [The Screwtape Letters] and more recently, [The Great Divorce]. This book (and I'm guessing the trilogy) seems to be a bridge between those works. Unfortunately, it didn't hold my imagination the way Narnia did. I felt it concentrated more on landscape than on characters and in the case of the main character, I didn't feel he was believable. The depth found in his other books also wasn't there. I'm still going to give the others in the trilogy a chance at some point since I've enjoyed Lewis' work up to this point, but I'm in no rush to do so.
macii on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did it! I finally conquered reading this book!!! This was my third attempt and I was able to complete it. My first two times the book seemed a bit long, descriptive and "heady," but this time the tale kept pulling me forward. Two types of my recent literary readings caused me to be more appreciative of the story. First, my fairly new (within the past two years) enjoyment of Star Wars books, where you explore different planets and lands. Secondly, I've deemed this summer as the "Summer of Lewis" where I've been reading C.S. Lewis' works like mad! I've grown familiar with his writing style and some of his reoccurring themes. Every time I read Lewis I feel as though my brain must be growing in some capacity or another."Out of the Silent Planet" is the first of Lewis' Space Trilogy. Dr. Ransom is taken captive on a space ship and where they eventually land on the planet of Malacandra. It is a planet it our own solar system, but you need to read the book to discover which one. He escapes from his captors and journeys to discover the planet.Conversation is a large part of the story and through Ransom's encounters with the species of a different world Lewis puts forward theological ideas. He is able to discuss sin, death, eternity, full life (not mortal life), love that becomes twisted to sit as a god--to name a few.I loved this book and am looking forward to the next in the trilogy (but I don't know when I might take it up). For those unfamiliar with Lewis, I'd suggest reading a few of his essays (The book "Mere Christianity" is a great place to start) and his book (its short and an easy read) "The Great Divorce." I would also advise you to skim over some biographical information, but I do not know that this is a necessity, just interesting.
trinityM82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good, though his musings on the connectivedness of the world are interesting - you can tell that he is Christian, but he's trying to fuse science with Christianity in a time really when there wasn't even a whole lot of resentment between the two. His narration is strange - every once in a while the "I" narrator breaks in, breaking the flow of the story so he seems godlike, but at times not seemingly very important to the overall cohesiveness of the story. at the end we find out Ransom is telling all this to a buddy after finding the word Oyarsa in ancient texts so it all comes out as there is basis, and the last few pages seem like a justificaiton for the entire tale - that it is indeed true and why it was at first presented as fiction.