Book Review: That Hideous Strength

That Hideous Strength
Space Trilogy, Book 3
By C.S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength is the third book in Lewis’ Space Trilogy or Cosmic Trilogy, and on the surface it diverges greatly from the previous two books. It follows the adventures of a young couple, Mark and Jane Studdock, as he becomes deeply enmeshed in an institution known as the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments, or N.I.C.E. As Mark falls in deeper with the people of N.I.C.E., Jane increasingly becomes dissatisfied with their life together and she is haunted by strange dreams. A friend gives her an address, where she comes into contact a group of people led by Dr. Ransom, who is now known as the Director. Virtually crippled by his injury on Perelandra, Ransom works to destroy the rising threat from the evil eldils on Earth, and Jane must work with him before it is too late.

I don’t know if it was the setting of this book or something else, but I didn’t enjoy That Hideous Strength nearly as much as Out of The Silent Planet and Perelandra. It seemed to move a lot slower than the previous books and it didn’t hold my attention as easily.

The book continued the struggle against evil from the previous novels, eventually ending in a temporary resolution to the conflict. I would recommed reading this book for continuity’s sake, but the previous stories could stand on their own without it.

There are several references to sex, and it seems to be a minor theme in parts of the novel, so it is probably not appropriate for younger readers. There is nothing explicit, but the themes are beyond younger readers’ understanding. There are also several graphic scenes of violence which would probably not be appropriate for a younger audience.

This review originally appeared 6 October 2012 on

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