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Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis's timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults, we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths.

Perelandra, the second novel in Lewis's science fiction trilogy, tells of Dr. Ransom's voyage to the paradise planet of Perelandra, or Venus, which turns out to be a beautiful Eden-like world. He is horrified to find that his old enemy, Dr. Weston, has also arrived and is putting him in grave peril once more. As the mad Weston's body is taken over by the forces of evil, Ransom engages in a desperate struggle to save the innocence of Perelandra!

Topics: Dark, Angels, Trilogy, Speculative Fiction, Allegory, Christianity, Space Travel, Adventurous, Inspirational, and Inklings

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062196934
List price: $7.99
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I read Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, last year and enjoyed it, awarding it four stars, but I found this one a lot less to my taste. While Out of the Silent Planet had theological elements they were not overpowering and I enjoyed the picture which Lewis created of Malacandra (or Mars). But in Perelandra, while the world building still caught my interest, large sections of the book are devoted to theological arguments which most definitely did not. And the absence of women from the narrative seen in Out of the Silent Planet changes in Perelandra to a portrayal of women as subservient and almost childlike. So not a hugely successful read, and disappointing given my reaction to the first book and the fact that C.S. Lewis's Narnia books were some of my favourite reads from childhood.Elwin Ransom, the philologist and Cambridge don who is the unlikely hero from Out of the Silent Planet, is again the main character in Perelandra. Sent to Perelandra (or Venus) by the Oyassa (or ruler) of Mars to carry out an unnamed task he finds himself in a watery world, where initially the only 'land' seems to be provided by large floating islands made of vegetation. Large and beautiful floating islands with flowers and trees and woods and birds and animals, which all rush up and down the huge waves which surge around the oceans of Venus. Rather than being wholly alone as he had feared, Ransom eventually meets a green-skinned 'human', referred to throughout as the 'lady', and eventually comes to realise that she and the 'king' are the only two intelligent beings on the planet. Biblical references come thick and fast: it is soon clear that Perelandra is a picture of Paradise before the Fall, and the 'king' and the 'lady' are the Adam and Eve of another world. But temptation soon arrives, in the form of the scientist Weston, Ransom's enemy from Out of the Silent planet, whose endless conversations with the 'lady' bring the planet to the brink.There is very little plot and most of the book deals with the temptation of the 'lady'. Theological arguments are not really my thing, but if they're well argued I'm prepared to give them a go: these just seemed flawed at times and to have noticeable holes in them. And I felt the allegories would have worked better if they had just been a little more subtle, these were just so obvious. In a similar way to his Narnia books, Lewis uses characters and creatures from various mythologies in this novel, and tries to tie them all together. I felt that in a children's book that was acceptable, but here he seems to be trying to create an allegory of an overarching theology, so why only use Western mythology? Isn't that a little Eurocentric?So overall not a brilliant book for me.more
This is the continuation from the book "Out of the Silent Planet". I did not enjoy the second part of this trilogy as much as the first. The story is told in an awkward manner in the third person. The entire "Space Trilogy" from Lewis has very Christian themes and whereas the religious imagery was subtle in the first book, it becomes overwhelming in the second. I will likely read the last installment just to see how it ends but I was not so impressed with Perelandra.more
I really enjoy this novel. I've read it twice and I love how deep it is and how Lewis writes. I don't have a lot to say about it though, other than it's really good.more
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Reviews

I read Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, last year and enjoyed it, awarding it four stars, but I found this one a lot less to my taste. While Out of the Silent Planet had theological elements they were not overpowering and I enjoyed the picture which Lewis created of Malacandra (or Mars). But in Perelandra, while the world building still caught my interest, large sections of the book are devoted to theological arguments which most definitely did not. And the absence of women from the narrative seen in Out of the Silent Planet changes in Perelandra to a portrayal of women as subservient and almost childlike. So not a hugely successful read, and disappointing given my reaction to the first book and the fact that C.S. Lewis's Narnia books were some of my favourite reads from childhood.Elwin Ransom, the philologist and Cambridge don who is the unlikely hero from Out of the Silent Planet, is again the main character in Perelandra. Sent to Perelandra (or Venus) by the Oyassa (or ruler) of Mars to carry out an unnamed task he finds himself in a watery world, where initially the only 'land' seems to be provided by large floating islands made of vegetation. Large and beautiful floating islands with flowers and trees and woods and birds and animals, which all rush up and down the huge waves which surge around the oceans of Venus. Rather than being wholly alone as he had feared, Ransom eventually meets a green-skinned 'human', referred to throughout as the 'lady', and eventually comes to realise that she and the 'king' are the only two intelligent beings on the planet. Biblical references come thick and fast: it is soon clear that Perelandra is a picture of Paradise before the Fall, and the 'king' and the 'lady' are the Adam and Eve of another world. But temptation soon arrives, in the form of the scientist Weston, Ransom's enemy from Out of the Silent planet, whose endless conversations with the 'lady' bring the planet to the brink.There is very little plot and most of the book deals with the temptation of the 'lady'. Theological arguments are not really my thing, but if they're well argued I'm prepared to give them a go: these just seemed flawed at times and to have noticeable holes in them. And I felt the allegories would have worked better if they had just been a little more subtle, these were just so obvious. In a similar way to his Narnia books, Lewis uses characters and creatures from various mythologies in this novel, and tries to tie them all together. I felt that in a children's book that was acceptable, but here he seems to be trying to create an allegory of an overarching theology, so why only use Western mythology? Isn't that a little Eurocentric?So overall not a brilliant book for me.more
This is the continuation from the book "Out of the Silent Planet". I did not enjoy the second part of this trilogy as much as the first. The story is told in an awkward manner in the third person. The entire "Space Trilogy" from Lewis has very Christian themes and whereas the religious imagery was subtle in the first book, it becomes overwhelming in the second. I will likely read the last installment just to see how it ends but I was not so impressed with Perelandra.more
I really enjoy this novel. I've read it twice and I love how deep it is and how Lewis writes. I don't have a lot to say about it though, other than it's really good.more
This is the second book in the "Space Trilogy" that began in Out of the Silent Planet. I've seen the titles on several science fiction recommendation lists, and the books are considered classics of the genre, but if you've read the first two books, it's evident that what Lewis wrote was consciously un-science fiction. That's not simply because of the liberties taken with science--pretty much all science-fiction writers do that. Einstein's theory of Relativity tells us nothing can exceed the speed of light, and our science tells us any inhabitable planets are years and years away at that top speed, but it doesn't stop such contrivances as "hyper-drive" and "warp drive." Nor is it so much that this isn't so much fiction about science and technology as it is Christian allegory. Early on in Out of the Silent Planet I thought it obvious these books have much more in common with Milton or Swift than Verne or Wells. That's only underlined in this novel which is basically a Paradise Lost set on Venus, with the "Green Lady" as an unfallen Eve and Weston from the previous novel in the role of the serpent--and it's very Miltonian in the way he attempts to subvert her. But then all great science fiction has its underlying message. You can't read Isaac Asimov's Naked Sun or Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or even Scott Westerfeld's Specials without being aware of a message, even if it's much more blatant in Lewis.Part of Lewis' message though is against the humanistic thrust of science fiction itself. In the last book, Ransom spoke of the purpose of the book as "a change-over from the conception of Space to the conception of Heaven." This book talks of the very idea and dream of space exploration, particularly as envisioned in science fiction, as opening "a new chapter of misery for the universe." There's an anti-Reason and anti-science streak in Lewis--and Christianity--I've always found unattractive very evident here. And at times I found his Christian polemic eye-rolling. Especially early on when one absurdity of the doctrine of bodily resurrection is pointed out to Ransom and he counters with this idea of the "trans-sexual." (Admittedly, a lot of the giggle-worhiness of the moment comes from a contemporary meaning of the term Lewis could not have anticipated.) I see Ransom's arguments as much as a sophistry as those of Weston. (Much of Weston's cant is strikingly contemporary--when he rants against "dualism", I can't help but think of a friend's tirade against "binaries.") Like another reviewer though, I did find it disconcerting that Lewis--or at least Ransom--feels violence is a great resolution to a conflict when you're losing an argument. In other words, for all that so many have pointed me to him as a Christian apologist with a brain who would appeal to an intellectual, I don't find Lewis convincing.So why did I keep reading anyway despite all I found dreary, unappealing and unconvincing? Well, partly because I do want to read the conclusion, That Hideous Strength, because I hear it deals with Arthurian legend. But there's also that I have no doubt when I'm reading him that Lewis is a first rate writer with a first rate mind. He's a pleasure to read, despite his didacticism. And you know, I've seen Lewis accused of racism and sexism in Narnia. I thought that a bum rap even while reading Narnia for several reasons, but it's only cemented in my mind that's wrongheaded reading these two books. The first book stands as a great refutation and repudiation of racism and imperialism to my mind, and the books stand out to me as the anti-thesis of xenophobia, with imaginative alien worlds that stand very much in contrast to more paranoid scenarios of alien beings. It's evident--and all the more resonant knowing the first book was published in 1938 and this one in 1944--that Lewis very much does not believe color or shape matters. Lewis might be an Englishman and in many ways conservative--that doesn't make him a Kipling. And while I can see a patriarchal thrust to the "Green Lady" and her King... Well, admittedly, I might not feel that way if I hadn't read Paradise Lost recently and noted all the ways Milton ground the very idea of Eve being an equal into dust... but in contrast Lewis doesn't come across as misogynistic to me given this book is practically, Paradise Retained, Or Milton Fan Fiction.So, yes, a superbly written and at times thought-provoking (even if at times hair-pulling) book worth the reading, even if it lacks the charm of the Narnia books. And a short, fast paced read too.more
So great! Lewis' thought screams from the pages of this book, as it does from "Out of the Silent Planet" (As of this writing, I have yet to read "That Hideous Strength," but it's next.) Just for the allegorically and dialogically _nonfiction value_ of this book alone (that is, nonfiction content in the form of symbolism and commentary by the narrator or conversation between fictional characters), it is an exceedingly worthy read!more
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