"C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia are rightly beloved by millions as a modern masterpiece of fantasy and as a gentle introduction to Christian theology as well. Not as well known, but just as deserving of a place on a discerning reader's bookshelf are his only works of science fiction, sometimes known collectively as the Space Trilogy.
"Out of the Silent Planet was first published in 1938; it was followed by Perelandra in 1943; and That Hideous Strength was published in 1945. As with the Narnian series, the Space Trilogy can be read on two levels; as an entertaining fiction, but also as a thoughtful exploration into Christian ethics and morality.
"Strictly speaking, by today's scientific standards the Space Trilogy is more allegory and fantasy than SF—by no means is it "hard" science fiction. But when written, Lewis was on ground familiar to other genre authors of the period. The novels take place on Mars (Malacandra), Venus (Perelandra) and come to a final climax on Earth (Thulcandra). Lewis goes into no details regarding propulsion systems or planetary orbits; nor does he posit starships with blasting phasers and matter transmitters as you'd find in a Trekian space opera.
"Lewis' purpose in publishing the Space Trilogy was evangelical. From the final chapter of Out of the Silent Planet: 'What we need for the moment is not so much a body of belief as a body of people familiarized with certain ideas. If we could even effect in one percent of our readers a change-over from the conception of Space to the conception of Heaven, we should have made a beginning.'
"Does the Space Trilogy succeed as evangelical material? That depends on the individual reader and their approach to the novels. Personally, my answer is yes. . ."
". . .The Space Trilogy is truly a profound work of fiction. It succeeds on all levels, as entertaining (but not light) reading and at a deeper level as an introduction to Christian philosophy. Unlike the Chronicles of Narnia, I wouldn't suggest these books for young children; in particular, the final book can be disturbing and is at times quite violent. I'd also suggest that the books be read in order; each one builds up to the next and might be quite confusing read out of sequence.
"Don't fear that you must be a Christian to enjoy the Space Trilogy. C. S. Lewis had a gift that speaks to all; of any faith or for that matter, none. However, if you approach these books as an Agnostic or Atheist, don't be surprised if you come away with serious questions about mankind's place in the cosmos."—Jeff Elkins
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