Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I just finished reading

This is the second book of C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy: Perelandra.

Since I had already read the first book in the series, Out of the Silent Planet, and since I had bought the third one (That Hideous Strength) because it was on sale for four dollars, and since I held a Barnes and Noble gift card with twenty dollars on it, I thought I would go ahead and get Perelandra to round things out. And, since I had already read the first one, I naturally gave the second one a chance.

In short, this story is not bad. But if you're thinking of reading it, be warned: it is entirely about religion, more so than the first book. As Alan from Blogonomicon said here, the only thing science fictiony about Perelandra is that it takes place on Venus rather than Earth. This seems to be Lewis's attempt to write an explanation of how he sees the Christian religion, to "justify the ways of God to men," as John Milton described his reason for writing the classic poem, Paradise Lost.

In Lewis's work, Ransom, the protagonist from Out of the Silent Planet, travels by angel power to Venus, called Perelandra. There he meets that planet's Adam and Eve figures, and he literally battles Satan to keep him out of the still-young paradise. The story starts off kind of slow, but it picks up when Ransom and the Devil start beating the crap out of each other and engage in a pursuit across the ocean and underground where magma flows and strange beasts lurk. Unfortunately, this isn't until page 128 of a 190-page book.

But it's not a bad read. If you like this kind of stuff, give it a try. It's not a long book. But if you're turned off by religious tales or if you're not Christian and therefore might be unfamiliar with some of the religion's finer points, you might want to give it a pass because some of the references might seem obscure.

Hopefully soon I will start on the next book, That Hideous Strength. I'm curious to see where Ransom will go from here.


AlanDP said...

The last book has a quite different atmosphere. But I'll say no more than that.

Albatross said...

It seems that way. I briefly thumbed through it today, and it looks to have a completely different feel. I look forward to starting it, but I don't know when I will.