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Publisher's Summary

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis' chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

©1938, 1944, 1945 by C.S. Lewis Pte Ltd. (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the critics say

"A delightful fantasy." (New York Herald Tribune)

 "C.S. Lewis...is a master of fantasy." (Saturday Review

What listeners say about Out of the Silent Planet

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One of my favourite stories

One of my favourite books read to me by my parents growing up. It was a treat listening to it again and brought back so many memories. Great author and wonderful narrator! Now for the next one in the series....

2 people found this helpful

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I’m not usually a fan of old books

And this was no exception. It’s not bad, it’s just dry and I got so bored that I turned it off an hour in.

If you don’t mind the dialogue and a slower sci-fi drama you might like it.

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great story

It is a great story, my biggest gripe however is in the way with which the author tries to describe things that don't quite portray a clear picture

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Great old Science Fiction

CS Lewis spins a great story of space travel and first meetings with extra-terrestrial life with an old classic HG Wells story feel. But it hit me at an unique kind of emotional level. It made me remember how important it is for each one of us to look at our motives and our purpose and consider whether or not we are striving to rise above our base fears and thus truly connecting to and being of service to our fellow man and our planet. And also, do any of us alone really think we know enough to know what is best for ourselves, our community, and our planet. Maybe it is best to have an open mind and acknowledge that we are each amazing but basically flawed and always a work in progress.

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  • Nic
  • 2022-02-03

Nothing but amazing.

I haven't been this into any book for a long time. My imagination recived a workout in the best way possible.

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Beautiful story.

What a beautiful story. The main character using his knowledge, was able to show other sentient beings the best of humanity.

This was a surprisingly good story since I knew nothing but only picked it up because of the author.

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Very detailed imaginary story (Wonderful)

C. S. Lewis writes yet another masterpiece. A vivid description of a whole planet with different creatures without sin and fall. It is recommended for whoever thinks that Christian theology cannot encompass an extraterrestrial life.

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Very enjoyable and intreaging story.

Great opportunity to revisit this science fiction novel read and enjoyed over 30 years ago.

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I've listened to this dozens of times

This story captured my imagination so much that I've gone back to it over and over. I never would have thought that a Sci-Fi from the 1930s could capture me like this. I love the world Lewis created on Malacandra. I found it rich, imaginative, beautiful, and fun. I especially loved the inhabitants of this world (I'm being careful not to include spoilers). They are varied and delightful. I also loved the characters. Ransom, the word nerd, was a very thoughtful man, and generally a projection of Lewis himself, I thought. Hyoi, my goodness, I would love to be his friend. The varied peoples of this world were so interesting, and the mythology was so engaging for me, that I wished the book were much longer.

Geoffrey Howard did an excellent job with the narration as well. I could listen to him all day.

Note that this book is rather light on the science for a Sci-Fi. You won't find schematics for a rocket ship in here. Just a great story, and a great start to the trilogy (and in my opinion, better than the other books in the trilogy, although Perelandra was pretty good as well).

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Great Thoughtful Read!

As someone who has not spent a lot of time reading sci-fi, this was a great way to enter the genre. This is a quick read and the narration is great. This text is full of adventure but also theology and metaphysical considerations. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Phantom's Furnature
  • 2005-05-27

Original, complex, not middle of the road

Written in the 30's and poor science fiction [SF] (some of the science in it is wrong even by the knowledge of Lewis's day), this novel is incredible in imaginative detail and original concepts as well as in conveying real wonder, not just sense of wonder. The characters are fully realized (his hero even has some beliefs and attitudes he disagreed with) although having some cliche aspects, an intentional tool Lewis used in emphasizing the story's theme of GOOD against evil.

Not for anti-Christians although open minded atheists could enjoy it; Lewis fills the story with theology, spirituality, and deep philosophical considerations that point toward a God without being preachy - it's just from a spiritual perspective. Principles of morality, ethics, and honesty are a major componant of the story. Yes it's a simple plot as most good vs evil stories are. But he plays great games with fun aliens (giving each species its own characterization), plausible plantary environments, and weird (sometimes too weird) alien vegetation.

While the author is doing all of this, he finds time to give other SF writers lessons on how to deal with characters encountering alien languages - his protagonist is a philologist, a scientist of language. He makes learning a language seem easy and even fun. As for sociology, he put more detail into the aliens' cultures in this novel in 1937 than was to be found in most of the SF field of the day.

Not perfect in any respect, yet it is more original than the vast majority of SF published before or since. Some SF from recent decades improves on many of the science fictional aspects, but Lewis's spiritual/philosophical approach provides a distinctive point of view that hasn't been seen since his trilogy.

The following books get even better while more cliched in the theological aspects. The third book is a major work of fantasy while couched in SF terms. If Audible ever gets them, they are worth checking out.

169 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 2009-11-18

Good Writer and Reader

I downloaded this for road trips. There are two reasons why this is an excellent purchase.

1) C.S. Lewis is brilliant. His grasp of how space travel would happen and of spirituality is very gripping.

2) The person reading the book did an excellent job.

We listened to it over 4 trips. It made the drive something to look forward too! I am about to download the next two in the series.

67 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 2012-10-30

Perfect

Would you consider the audio edition of Out of the Silent Planet to be better than the print version?

Close

What did you like best about this story?

The Hnakra

Which character – as performed by Geoffrey Howard – was your favorite?

Ranson

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I liked it so much, I forced myself to take it slow

Any additional comments?

What an incredible book. Better than Narnia, Better than Middle Earth. If I could go to any one of them, I'd go to Malacandra and the Handramit.

22 people found this helpful

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  • SAinCA
  • 2012-04-24

Gripping, provoking and how true

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Lewis' grasp of the best and worst of humanity is clearly portrayed in a fast-moving, thought provoking story, where one can relate great principles and insights to the non-listener. Though some may not be drawn to science-fiction novels, the lack of techno-overkill is refreshing enabling the listener to enjoy the story for itself and the themes embarked upon in part 1 of this trilogy.

What did you like best about this story?

The eye-openers Ransom experiences, particularly the appreciation of the traits of each species he encounters that are so contrary to the attitudes formed before meeting them - pre-judging others is such a stupid predisposition...

The use of so many English words long fallen into disuse is very refreshing and stimulates the listener's vocabulary back above the 6th-grade norm of so much of modern "literature". The language Lewis uses paints graphic word pictures that few others approach. This is classic writing!

What does Geoffrey Howard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brings tangible emotion to the listener that is clearly in keeping with the context and his speaking pace is fast, which keeps one's attention.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The honor and respect given to the three hrossa killed by the "bent men".

Any additional comments?

Truly a great novel; highly recommended for its language and story, but predominantly for its themes and messages.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 2005-07-22

Fantastic fantasy...

C.S.Lewis does it again. I am never disappointed with any of his fiction, and this time is no different. This book can only be fully appreciated when read in the full trilogy. It's just a shame that Audible.com doesn't carry 'Perelandra' (or 'Voyage to Venus', as it is otherwise known), which is the pinnacle of the trilogy.
The style of this book may seem dated, but the themes are so profound and perennial that this book will resonate with the reader for a long long time, if one reads carefully and with an eye to such themes (Lewis never writes superfluously).
For the true Lewis fan, who understands his purpose, you will not be disappointed!

28 people found this helpful

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  • jeremy smither
  • 2011-03-05

GOOD BOOK

I am an athiest and I did not want to be pounded with a religious message and to my delight I was not, C.S of course is going to thread it in at times but its not so much as to annoy the listener. I say for a science fiction book this one is pretty good.

37 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heidi
  • 2006-10-13

You'll love this book....

Another wonderful tale by C.S. Lewis. In fact, my ten year old son enjoyed this story as much as I did! Although the deeper points of this enchanting story may be lost on the young, the beauty of this book is that it has a philosophical aspect that draws in the mind while sparking the imagination. We can't wait to read the next book in the series.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph Bickham
  • 2012-08-13

Fantastically Awesome

What made the experience of listening to Out of the Silent Planet the most enjoyable?

The book is very well written, the story is creative and thought provoking.

What did you like best about this story?

Lewis is fantastic at creating a picture, even another world in his books by details and well crafted characters that pull you into the story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Howard
  • 2012-04-16

Great Lewis Classic

Would you try another book from C.S. Lewis and/or Geoffrey Howard?

I am a life long C.S. Lewis fan. I have read everything he has written with a few exceptions. Geoffrey Howard's reading was adequate. Certianly not annoying but a less monotone voice would have been perferable.

What other book might you compare Out of the Silent Planet to and why?

There really are no comparisons to this book. An anti thesis to it would be HG Wells' "First Men in the Moon". Most people would say the HG Wells book is the better work, I would not be one of those.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He did not detract but he was a bit monotone. I've had to endure much worse narrators than this one.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It depends on who made it and what actors are in it. There are certain actors I cannot stomach no matter how good I think the movie may be. The last movie that was made from a C.S. Lewis book was the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. They gutted the Lewis story in that movie and it was really quite sad because it is the best of the Narnia stories.

Any additional comments?

If this were done by a better Narrator, I would purchase it again. The main problem was the the chapter navigation in the book is all messed up and doesn't seem to work on my IPOD at all. You can play it from beginning to end but you cannot jumb from chapter to chapter.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dagnabbit
  • 2016-10-09

Outstanding tale, thought provoking

Would you consider the audio edition of Out of the Silent Planet to be better than the print version?

No, the print version of this and the following two in the series, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, are joys to read... and while the audio versions are a treat on the go, if you're settling down for a long winter's evening with a book, take on the paper version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ransom, the perplexed and human hero, humbled with a hammer of reality when he faces the magnitude of the cost of his selfishness, and then moves on manfully. Not the time to apologize endlessly in hopes of some sort of balm from the one he fatally injured - the deed is done and its time to go do something about it. Smart and true

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Little less breathy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many. The episode where Ransom goes privately to explain what has happened in our own world - we are not admitted to that conversation - but when they emerge, the king of that world is visibly moved and stunned, and ready to act. very stirring.

3 people found this helpful