Most people associate C.S. Lewis with The Chronicles of Narnia but his body of work encompases far more, including a science fiction trilogy that is available for the first time in ebook format. Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in the trilogy, tells the tale of a man kidnapped, taken aboard a spaceship, and transported to Malacandra or, as we know it, Mars.
Dr. Ransom is not a man of action and adventure, but an academic, and he is ill-prepared to deal with his captors. They plan to turn him over to the creatures of Malacandra as a form of sacrifice, hoping it will allow them to eventually loot the planet and return to Earth as wealthy men. On landing, Ransom manages to escape and there his real adventure begins. As he explores Malacandra and meets the aliens who call it home, he begins to understand them, and himself, in an entirely new way.
Reading this feels like reading classic science fiction, and really, it doesn’t get much more classic. This was originally published in 1938, long before we sent men into space or walked on the moon, but Out of the Silent Planet still captures the wonder and danger of discovering a new world in a way that resonates today. Malacandra is a beautiful and vivid world, but you’ll find that exploring it along with Ransom will turn into an exploration of the human spirit at it’s best and worst.
A copy of this book was provided for review.