Monday, December 15, 2008


I first read C.S. Lewis's science fiction trilogy well before I discovered Narnia. I am no particular fan of either science fiction or fantasy, tending — when I do read fiction — rather toward historical fiction or mysteries. But I both enjoyed and admired Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by Tolkien, and at about the same time - not yet realizing that Tolkien and Lewis were friends — I read Out of the Silent Planet and then the others. My favorite of the three by Lewis is Perelandra [or Voyage to Venus in Britain]. Lewis was particularly good at helping you imagine something beyond your experience, for instance the fruit that grew on the floating island on Perelandra:
.... He picked one of them and turned it over and over. The rind was smooth and firm and seemed impossible to tear open. Then by accident one of his fingers punctured it and went through into coldness. After a moment's hesitation he put the little aperture to his lips. He had meant to extract the smallest, experimental sip, but the first taste put his caution all to flight. It was, of course, a taste, just as his thirst and hunger had been thirst and hunger. But then it was so different from every other taste that it seemed mere pedantry to call it a taste at all. It was like the discovery of a totally new genus of pleasures, something unheard of among men, out of all reckoning, beyond all covenant. For one draught of this on earth wars would be fought and nations betrayed. It could not be classified. He could never tell us, when he came back to the world of men, whether it was sharp or sweet, savoury or voluptuous, creamy or piercing. "Not like that" was all he could ever say to such inquiries. As he let the empty gourd fall from his hand and was about to pluck a second one, it came into his head that he was now neither hungry nor thirsty. And yet to repeat a pleasure so intense and almost so spiritual seemed an obvious thing to do. ....
A fine site called has published a "lightly edited" doctoral thesis by Pete Lowman about the absence of any presence of the real God in the contemporary novel. The introduction is "The Loss of God in the Novel." Among the chapters available online are those about The Lord of the Rings and Lewis's science fiction trilogy:
Read the books themselves first.

The image is of the paperback cover of my first copy of the first book in the trilogy. - Who are you God? - Chronicles of Heaven Unshackled - Part 0 - Introduction

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.