52 Books: Book 18

I just completed Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. It is the second book in a science fiction trilogy that Lewis wrote. The first book, Out of the Silent Planet, introduces us to the main character of the series: Ransom. In the opening book, Ransom finds himself a hostage who is being taken to Malacandra {or Mars}. Ransom learns that Mars is an old planet and that none of the planets have had contact with anyone from Earth in a very long time.

In the second book, Ransom is sent to Perelandra {also known as Venus}. Here he discovers that Venus is a relatively new planet and the only humans are one woman, The Lady, and one man, The King. It soon unfolds that the story of temptation in the Garden of Eden is playing out before Ransom’s eyes.

Early in the book, Weston, one of the scientist’s that took Ransom hostage in the first book, arrives on the planet. Weston no longer appears to be inhabiting his own body and Ransom realizes that an evil force is controlling the scientist’s body {much like the serpent in the Garden of Eden was used}. Weston {or the Un-man as Ransom comes to call him} methodically works to convince The Lady of Venus to break the only rule of the country. Un-man has cunning arguments, is cruel to the creatures of Perelandra and never seems to tire. Eventually Ransom realizes that he has been sent to Venus to help prevent The Lady from giving in to temptation so that history does not repeat itself.

I found this to be a very intriguing book. Ransom’s inner dialogue raises a lot of questions: Did Eve resist in the garden for many days? Weeks? Years perhaps? If an elephant had trampled on the serpent would the temptation have been killed with it? Would the temptation have come in another form if Eve had been able to resist?

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was thought provoking and I look forward to reading the final book in the series: That Hideous Strength.

Excerpts from the book:
It is the idea that humanity having now sufficiently corrupted the planet where it arose, must at all costs contrive to seed itself over a large area: that the vast astronomical distances which are God’s quarantive regulations must somehow be overcome.

It surprised him that he could experience so extreme a terror and yet be walking and thinking – as men in war or sickness are surprised to find how much can be borne…

The image or her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul. The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy’s true aim.

Inner silence is for our {human} race a difficult achievement.

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