Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet
The Space Trilogy, Book 1
By C.S. Lewis

This first book in C.S. Lewis’ so-called ‘Space Trilogy’ or ‘Cosmic Trilogy’ follows the adventures of Dr. Elwin Ransom on the planet Malacandra. Ransom is kidnapped by a pair of fellow scientists who have secretly built a spaceship. When they reach the planet Malacandra, they try to hand him over to a group of native creatures, sorns, but Ransom escapes, becoming lost on the strange world.

He meets and lives with a village of hross, who teach him the ways of Malacandra. He eventually is brought before the governor of the planet, Oyarsa, where he learns that everything he knows about the universe, religion, and humanity in general is completely and utterly wrong.

Interwoven with bits of religion, philosophy, mythology, fantasy, and science fiction, Out of the Silent Planet is not truly a member of any of these genres. Rather, it is a brief study of ‘civilized’ human ideals and motives couched within a fairy tale.

I first picked up this book when I was about thirteen, and at the time I knew nothing of C.S. Lewis beyond his Chronicles of Narnia. I only made it through the first couple of chapters before I grew tired of the style and slightly philosophical nature of the book. I was looking for a true adventure story, and this didn’t fit the bill. I would not recommend it to younger readers, simply on the basis that they will likely grow bored with the narrative style, but as an adult I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next in the trilogy.

This review originally appeared 21 September 2012 on

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