Magrat Garlick wrote:I am on the second Perelandra of the Cosmic trilogy, I do like it but I am not really a Sci-Fi fan (though I do like Star Wars, but not Star Trek - I am more a Fantasy person than Sci-Fi!)
He's a fascinating writer is Lewis and I really cut my fantasy 'milk' teeth on the Narnia Chronicles. They was 'approved reading' in class but they only really looked at the 1st 3 books (so The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian & Voyage of the Dawntreader
). The thing that people tend to gloss over with Lewis and especially with the Narnia books with their population of talking animals and mixed bag of fairy folk and creatures of classical and medieval myth is that he's a very moral and Christian writer. Of course the sacrificial nature of Aslan (a little bit of a jump to reconcile Christ as being a lion in its natural state I know
) correlates like mad with the Crucifixion and Resurrection. I even had the shock of my life when one of the teaching nuns (I was at an RC secondary school) made us read through the bit in Dawntreader (SPOILER ALERT)
where Eustace manages to shed several layers of dragon skin after being particularly and despicably nasty as some kind of rejection of evil and rebirthing ephithany
- and of course that put me right off the books completely for a while!
The Silver Chair
was my joint favourite - gotta lurve Puddleglum as he's such a miserable git! - along with The Last Battle
. The latter's an amazing book and if you never got that far in the series I recommend it very highly for its imagery and dealing with the nature of heaven and redemption.
Lewis was famously friends with Tolkien who was a fairly devout Roman Catholic and he was influential in Lewis's conversion and the fact that he was a convert (to the Church of England) I think shows through all his books as he was a passionately moral writer but with a very strong spartan and oddly intolerant attitude to ‘weakness’ of the spirit although this softened somewhat after his marriage in later life. His work on the Cosmic Trilogy
though concerned with the trappings of sci-fi are, I think more related to fantasy with Christian themes and motifs, and the second book, Perelendra
with it's parallels to the Christian creation tales certainly is highly imaginative and more original than the first Out of the Silent Planet
. The last of the Trilogy That Hideous Strength
I found quite a disturbing book and very powerful indeed. The hero of the series a philologist (the science of linguistics) named Ransome (with a fondness for Switzerland and hiking is demonstrably based on Tolkien) and both Narnian and Middle Earth philosophic themes are seen in the series, with a very heavy dash of Arthurian principles and the Holy Grail story in the last book as Ransome, dying but still quietly strong in his faith, leads his friends to literally fight the Devil for the moral survival of the human soul in the modern universe.
On my ‘must read eventually’ list is the Screwtape Letters
which are a letters style tale of an elder demon advising a younger on how to corrupt a soul – apparently it was required reading for aspiring Jesuits after its publication and in fact the Hell it depicts is highly similar to Pterry’s Eric
with Astfgl’s Demonic Bureaucratic Regime… so again a link into Discworld perhaps, although I don’t know if Terry did use that as a source of inspiration it certainly is a devilishly similar solution