The (Anti-?) Space Trilogy aka Ransom Trilogy / Heavens Trilogy

 

 

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All good sci-fi series have at their heart some unique observation about man and his place in the cosmos.  Whether it be the swashbuckling defense of humanity in a James Tiberius Kirk, the divide between reason and emotion of a Commander Spock, or the youth and innocence of a Will Robinson, space seems to (rather oddly) bring out the humanity in its explorers.  C. S. Lewis’s ill-named Space Trilogy[1] [2] [3] (‘ill-named’ for reasons that will soon be made apparent) is no exception in this sense.  Set in a series of planetary explorations – the masculine-themed Mars or Malacandra in Out of the Silent Planet, the feminine Venus or Perelandra in Perelandra, and the finale on Earth, Thulcandra or the Silent Planet, in That Hideous Strength, where marriage of the masculine and feminine is examined – the series has at its heart a singular observation, which can be found in Lewis’s own spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy. Lewis describes his resistance to yielding to God with the attitude “I had wanted (mad wish) ‘to call my soul my own’ “[4]

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The Great Divorce

“Blake has written of the marriage of heaven and hell … I have written of their divorce” Lewis began his preface to his 1946 fiction dream sequence work, The Great Divorce. “Not that I think myself a fit antagonist for so great a genius,” Lewis confessed, but because ultimately reality presents us with an “absolutely unavoidable ‘either-or.’ “ Or, quoting George MacDonald: “No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little bit of hell in it.”

Our decisions in life cause our path to fork, and fork again, repeatedly, like the branches of a tree. Bad choices, evil choices “cannot be undone” Lewis points out, but we must rewind back to the point of error and re-choose, in a sense:  “Evil can be undone, but it cannot develop into good.” And no part of evil can be clung on to, if we would make the journey from evil to good, from hell to heaven.  “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven;” further, “if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell” Lewis puts it.

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Fantastic Literature: MacDonald, Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis

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JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis are perhaps the most well-known of a group of British writers who deeply influenced 19th and 20th century Literature, with their Christian faith as their foundation.   Their writings so popularized the explanation and defense of their faith that they became known as a school of Literary Apologetics, or the British School of Apologetics.  Each author produced popular works of either fiction, fantasy or detective novels in addition to their essays and non-fiction books.  Here, we will take a closer look at 19th century fantasy novelist George MacDonald (Scottish poet, author, journalist and pastor, 1825-1904), English journalist, essayist and author G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) in addition to Tolkien and Lewis, 20th century figures who claimed MacDonald and Chesterton as fundamental influences on their own writing.

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Heavens to Mergatroid – Planetary Themes in Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia

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Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia addresses the problem of finding some explanatory schema behind the seven somewhat disparate tales of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.  Close Lewis friend and confidante J.R.R. Tolkien, (sub-) creator of Middle Earth, home to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings epic fantasies, criticized them for their lack of a consistent literary or thematic background.  Numerous attempts have since been made to find a hidden theme linking the stories, with Ward citing  the following attempts …

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We read to know we’re not alone (aka An Experiment in Using an Experiment in Criticism)

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Author Ryan “Smokey” Grube and Friends: The Architect, James “Buzz” Aldrich of Near NASA-Houston, Emperor Douglas Maximus Smokey Robinson the Orthodox, Gandalf the Chalky, Luke Mr. Walrus and The Egg Man* J.S. Myers

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekoCaaxgHUw

Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. … in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.[1] – C.S. Lewis, Experiment in Criticism Continue reading