"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.
"This, the second book of the trilogy, is an analogy of the Garden of Eden. The Bent One/Satan of Thulcandra sends his servant Weston to accomplish the downfall of its Adam and Eve, called the King and Queen. Ransom is send to Perelandra by Maleldil/God to defeat the designs of the Bent One.
"Ransom finds Perelandra a world covered by water, dotted by free-floating islands rich with animal life and plants. Little in the way of fixed land is to be found on Perelandra; in fact Maleldil's edict to Perelandra's King and Queen is that while they may visit these areas during the day, they may not spend the night. When Ransom first meets the Queen, she has been parted from her King when floating islands drift apart. Here, he and Weston battle for the Queen's soul.
"Weston, as Eden's serpent, attempts to persuade the Queen to violate Maleldil's edict and spend the night on fixed land. He beguiles her with stories of the women of Earth: 'They are of a great spirit. They always reach out their hands for the new and unexpected good, and see that it is good long before the men understand it. Their minds run ahead of what Maleldil has told them. They do not need to wait for Him to tell them what is good, but know it for themselves as He does.' The images Weston paints are of noble, heroic, self-sufficient females and Ransom himself is enthralled and comes to doubt his purpose on Perelandra.
"Finally, Ransom comes to the realization that he has been sent to Perelandra as Maleldil's physical tool, not a mere observer, and he enters into single combat with Weston. Ransom triumphs in battle and the King and Queen are reunited with Ransom as a witness. Unlike the Garden of Eden, on Perelandra, temptation has been defeated and Satan has lost. God's original vision for Perelandran humanity may take flower."
—Jeff Elkins (to see more of his Space Trilogy review, click here.)
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