Documented Book Review
I am reviewing the book Out of the Silent Planet, by C. S. Lewis. This is a science fiction story about inter galactic planetary travel and some alien-beings that a man meets out in space who ironically help him to realize the true intentions of human nature.
What really made this story interesting to me is that a man on a walk about, named Ransom, did not want to travel into outer space to meet alien creatures; he was simply on a personal journey for something new, while touring the countryside of Britain. When looking for a place to stay for the night, Ransom meets a woman who is searching for her retarded son. Ransom decides to help her, thinking that it will get him a bed for the night. Down the road, Ransom stumbles upon an old college mate at a house where the retarded boy was. The women’s son was held the captive of a megalomaniacal physicist. Ransom, who was only trying to help find the boy, ends up getting drugged, kidnapped, and then forced to go along with a diabolical plot to travel to another planet, and be traded as a slave for gold. Weston and Devine are the two who take Ransom in the place of the women’s retarded son, mainly since it is apparent that no one will look for Ransom if he is missing, because he is alone on his tour.
Weston and Devine have already traveled through space to Malacandra (a foreign planet), and they need a human being as an offering to the aliens who live there. After their arrival to the planet, Ransom escapes from the clutches of his captors and is on an adventure for survival. He is forced to eat the planets vegetation to stay alive, and ends up meeting a Hross (one of the three types of creatures on the planet). Ransom decides to learn the language of this alien and takes up the Hross’s offer to live in his village. The Hross get directions from an Eldil (a spirit) to take Ransom to their leader Oyarsa (a Great Eldil leader) so that the aliens can understand the human’s proposes for being on this planet.
Along the way to Oyarsa, Ransom requires the help of a Sorn, a second of the three types of creatures that lives on Malacandra. Sorns are tall, which allows them to travel great distances in short amounts of time. When they arrive at their destination (Meldilorn), the Great Spirit Oyarsa has a long conversation with Ransom and the other humans, about humankind, and wants to know why they are on his planet. The conversation leads Oyarsa to an understanding about humanity, and it also describes the peaceful intellect of the aliens to the humans, as well as the different connections to the same God.
Oyarsa makes an agreement with the humans to let them travel back to their planet unharmed and requests that they never return to Malcandra because, ”the hearts of man are wicked”(Lewis), and he does not want that wickedness on Maleldil’s planet (their God).
This book ends with Ransom awakening in the spaceship on Thulcandra—the Silent Planet (Earth), Devine and Weston are long gone from the ship after Ransom awakes, which leaves an opportunity for this story to expand into a sequel. Ransom is a very flat heroic character. I believe that the author wants the reader to feel this character is wholesome and good. If Ransom’s goodness were to change it would be a bad thing for the greater good of humanity, when it came to the out come Oyarsa could have decided for the human characters.
Devine and Weston are the villains of the story. They are looking to get rich off the innocence of an unsuspecting planet that does not value gold the way that earthlings do, mainly because there is an abundance of it. The flat characterization role falls on Weston. He does not budge at all when it comes to the magnificence of a higher being; he believes that humans are the ultimate authority of the universe and that humans should rule everything.
Devine on the other hand decides that when he see how intelligent and all mighty this Oyarsa is,...