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The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity.The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre propheticThe third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity.The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic dreams about a decapitated scientist, Alcasan. As Mark is drawn inextricably into the sinister organisation, he discovers the truth of his wife's dreams when he meets the literal head of Alcasan which is being kept alive by infusions of blood.Jane seeks help concerning her dreams at a community called St Anne's, where she meets their leader - Dr Ransom (the main character of the previous two titles in the trilogy). The story ends in a final spectacular scene at the N.I.C.E. headquarters where Merlin appears to confront the powers of Hell. About The Author: About the Author C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis, "Jack" to his intimates, was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. His mother died when he was 10 years old and his lawyer father allowed Lewis and his brother Warren extensive freedom. The pair were extremely close and they took full advantage of this freedom, learning on their own and frequently enjoying games of make-believe. These early activities led to Lewis's lifelong attraction to fantasy and mythology, often reflected in his writing. He enjoyed writing about, and reading, literature of the past, publishing such works as the award-winning The Allegory of Love (1936), about the period of history known as the Middle Ages. Although at one time Lewis considered himself an atheist, he soon became fascinated with religion. He is probably best known for his books for young adults, such as his Chronicles of Narnia series. This fantasy series, as well as such works as The Screwtape Letters (a collection of letters written by the devil), is typical of the author's interest in mixing religion...

Title : That Hideous Strength
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ISBN : 9780007157174
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 534 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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That Hideous Strength Reviews

  • Douglas Wilson
    2019-05-24 05:34

    Stupendous. Just great, and also read in January of 1990. Also read in May of 2009. Also read in June of 1985. Also read in July of 1980. Finished it again on an Audible version in August of 2015. And yet again in Audible in September of 2016. And one more time on Audible in July of 2017.

  • Stephen
    2019-05-09 08:06

    FIRST: A complaint from a member of my reading group who read the book ONLY because of the very cool bear on the cover: In defense of Mr. Angry Bear, I must agree that while the giant, kick-ass bear on the cover may not be exactly false advertising, it is certainly in the category of misleading...similar to beer commercials telling you "drink this beer and hot people will be all over you” when the reality is closer to “drink enough of our beer and you will think the people all over you are really hot.”Anyway, pissed off grizzlies and dishonest beer merchants aside, I will turn to the book itself. This is the final installment of the Space Trilogy which I have enjoyed significantly more than the Chronicles of Narnia (though I have only read the first 3 of the latter and so will reserve final judgment until I complete them). The plot of this story is somewhat complex and would be hard to explain in detail without spoilers so I will just provide some very broad strokes. In addition to expanding on the unique Christian-based mythology that Lewis introduced in the first two books in the series, he adds two new central themes. The first is a heavy dose of “Arthurian fantasy” which I though was somewhat unique in its delivery. The second, and the central premise of the book as a whole, is a harsh criticism of the philosophy of Logical Positivism (i.e., the rejection of theology and mysticism in favor of knowledge based on facts that can be objectively determined without resort to the individual views of the observer)*. This last theme is so pervasive in the the narrative, that I found it interesting to discover that this book is really a fictional version of the same arguments Lewis proposed in his non-fiction The Abolition of Man (which I hope to read as well in the near future). The story takes place in England and involves the struggle of our hero, Elwin Ransom (hero of the first two books), and his company of followers against the mysterious and powerful organization known as N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Coordinated Experiments) which embraces all of the evils (as Lewis sees it) of Logical Positivism. Ransom's group, on the other hand, adhere to a spiritually grounded version of Natural Law (i.e., that there are universal laws that are set by nature and that there are actions that can be seen as objectively good or objectively evil and not subject to selective interpretaiton by the observer)*.*NOTE: My summary of the Logical Positivism and Natural Law is very general and probably not very good, but hopefull sufficient for purposes of explaining the viewpoints of the opposing sides in the novel). As far as my reaction to the story, I think that the writing is excellent and the plot that Lewis creates is complex and nuanced and requires the reader to pay attention (something I usually like). I also think that his arguments in defense of Natural Law and against Logical Positivism are very passionate and well laid out, regardless of whether or not you agree with them. I always enjoy it when you can tell that an author really feels strongly for the subject matter he is writing about and that is certainly clear of this work. That said, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the preceding volumes, especially Perelandra which I thought was just fantastic. I think I was just not interested enough in the distinctions between the two central philosophies and so the central argument was not as compelling to me. Thus, while I enjoyed it, I was left a little disappointed based on my expectations left over from Perelandra. Still, overall it was a good conclusion to the Space Trilogy and this is certainly a series that I would recommend people check out, especially if they are fans of the Narnia series.

  • Mandy Stigant
    2019-04-24 07:21

    I finished it while 30,000 feet in the air. It was a night-time flight, and after I finished the last page i set it down, turned to look out the window and while my mind wandered and mulled on what i had just experienced with the book, I saw that we were skirting to the side of a storm. The lightning was bouncing from cloud to cloud and it wasn't unlike my thoughts and the way my heart felt; I was elated, and I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be when I finished that book -- short of outside the plane. With wings of my own.I will admit it took me 2 tries to read it. Not as easy to get through as the first 2 books are, because the beginning is a bit slow, even dry. On attempt #2, once I got through page 60 or so, however, I could hardly put it down, and it immediately became one of my favourite books of all time.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-04-26 11:31

    I have a love/hate relationship with C.S. Lewis. There's a lot I admire in his writing but enough I deplore in his worldview that even though I keep being drawn to his works, I can't call him a favorite. I mostly loved The Screwtape Letters and Narnia, which I read as an adult, adored Till We Have Faces (my favorite Lewis work), was moved by his book A Grief Observed and found Mere Christianity and the first two books in the Space Trilogy interesting. There was only one book by him until this one that I had dropped mid-read because I found it just too exasperating--and that was The Abolition of Man. Significantly, he cites that book in the Preface saying he delineated in that essay the point he was making through fiction in this book. I noted in the first two books of the Space Trilogy that for all they might seem to fall into the science fiction genre, both books are actually anti-science fiction. In the first book Out of the Silent Planet, the hero, Ransom spoke of the purpose of the book as "a change-over from the conception of Space to the conception of Heaven." (And I prefer Space--greatly.) The thrust of the first two books is against the humanistic message of science fiction itself and the books decry the very idea of space exploration and colonization. That's very much a line that is continued in That Hideous Strength, but that isn't what caused me to put the book down deciding not to torture myself further. Yes, the anti-science, anti-technology line irked me. As did the evident contempt for all those who aren't believers in Christian orthodoxy--let alone atheists. And as an American and (small "r" and "d") republican and democrat I bristle at Lewis' evident fondness for the whole class system from how you address servants to the belief in the curtsy as an essential social skill to the love of monarchy--and what may seem quaint in that respect in Narnia just seemed at its most noisome here. But no, what really got to me was the attitude towards women. I've defended Lewis in reviews against those who have called him sexist based on Narnia. Truly, Narnia has wonderful heroines. Even compared in terms of current science fiction and fantasy what struck me was how important and strong were his female characters and how gender balanced were his cast of characters in a very testosterone-laden genre. But it really was just really too much in The Hideous Strength. The contempt heaped on "emancipated women," characters like Hardcastle that seem to signal that just being in an nontraditional profession for a woman means you're perverted and a fascist. And Jane. Oh, Jane. You know where I couldn't take it anymore? It was the "Pendragon" chapter. Here's two quotes: She said at last, "I suppose our marriage was just a mistake."The Director said nothing."What would you - what would the people you are talking of - say about a case like that?""I will tell you if you really want to know," said the Director."Please," said Jane reluctantly."They would say," he answered, "that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience."And...Jane said, "I always thought it was in their souls that people were equal.""You were mistaken," he said gravely. "That is the last place where they are equal. Equality before the law, equality of incomes - that is very well. Equality guards life; it doesn't make it. It is medicine, not food. You might as well try warming yourself with a blue-book.""But surely in marriage . . . ?""Worse and worse," said the Director. "Courtship knows nothing of it; nor does fruition. What has free companionship to do with that? Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not. Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends - comrades - do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed . . .""I thought," said Jane and stopped."I see," said the Director. "It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience - humility - is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality just where it ought not to be.No, just no. And yes, there were things I liked that make me wish I could tolerate this novel better. There's a reason after all I keep coming back to Lewis. He's a great writer with truly striking, shapely prose and at his best has a prodigious imagination and a winning sense of humor and a great way of infusing fiction with ideas--sometimes all too blatantly--but often brilliantly. Even here there were things I relished. His depiction of the process for instance by which Mark Studdock was corrupted was terrifically done. And I had to smile at the way he named his characters--very Dickensian. Some of those on the villain's roll included Lord Feverstone, Miss Hardcastle, Mr Frost, Withers, Steele, Curry. And you can't get better than the acronym for the sinister organization of baddies--N.I.C.E. And it's not as if I disagree with all of Lewis' message--the whole scenario of controlling humanity in the name of "Order" and scientific principle was chilling and resonated with me. I loved how Lewis was working in the Arthurian theme into a story set in mid-twentieth century England. And as I love the Arthurian genre, that was very much a highlight and it took a lot to finally break me away from that. But after that encounter between Jane and Fisher-King I thought it was time to part company before the urge to tear my book in half and start shredding the pages took hold of me--especially since this was about twice the length of the two earlier books. I couldn't imagine being able to get through the rest with my sanity intact.

  • Fr.Bill M
    2019-05-04 05:12

    This is Lewis' best treatment of sex, and probably the best treatment of sex by anyone, cast in the form of a novel. It is sooooooooo retro on the modern scene that it will either shock or outrage most folks who read it for the first time in the modern context.It is also some of the funniest stuff i've ever read in my life. Only a few paragraphs into a scene near the end of the book, which draws on the goings on at Babel, when the languages were confused -- well, it set off a laughing fit that lasted almost an hour. Must have been my mood, I suppose. But still -- brilliant!

  • John
    2019-04-24 11:07

    I've read "That Hideous Strength" several times, and it always has been my favorite of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy. But this time through, it captivated me in a way that it never has before. Only C.S. Lewis, with his combination of brilliance, scholarly knowledge, writing ability, wit and Christian world view, could have written this book.It is Lewis' most satirical book, even more so than "Screwtape Letters." It is probably his most sophisticated fiction work with the exception of "Till We Have Faces" (which is too sophisticated for me). As he tells us in a brief author's note, this is the fictional complement to Lewis' "The Abolition of Man," which is a critique of the British educational system. This sounds like a deadly subject for fiction, but it isn't in Lewis' skillful hands. And although this book was written in the 1940s in England, the themes remain on target in the United States today.It is helpful, but not necessary, to have read the first two books of the trilogy before reading "That Hideous Strength." The central character of those books, Ransom, plays a major role here as well. But the central characters in "Hideous" are a young, not-very-happily married couple, Mark and Jane Studdock. In the battle between good and evil that occupies this book, Mark is drawn in to the side of evil, Jane to the side of good. "Drawn in" is the phrase -- neither makes a conscious decision or realizes that good and evil are involved until late in the book. I think Mark represents the young C.S. Lewis. And I think "Bill the Blizzard" Hingest, a character who disappears early in the book, represents the mature C.S. Lewis in this dialogue with Mark:"I suppose there are two views about everything," said Mark."Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."The legend of King Arthur plays a significant role in "That Hideous Strength." The subject matter of "That Hideous Strength" is grim, and even gruesome at times. Needed comic relief is provided by Mr. Bultitude. I won't say anything more about him, because if I did it would ruin it for you.

  • Sharon Barrow Wilfong
    2019-04-25 04:28

    When I first read That Hideous Strength, it was my least favorite of Lewis' Science Fiction trilogy. Now I believe it is my favorite.Evil forces have gathered for a showdown on Earth. We have seen some of this in the first two books but now the "bent" Eldil and their minions are showing their hand in hopes of destroying Earth.It is insightful to see how much the evil Eldil hate mankind, because, of course, they hate mankind's Maker.They are a pragmatic sort, however, and tell whatever lies, power hungry, perverse men are willing to swallow to achieve that end.Our story starts out with a young couple, Jane and Mark. Jane and Mark are a modern, progressive couple and they have no patience with old fashioned notions of women and men's roles. Jane's ambition is to finish her thesis and Mark's ambition is to join the "inner ring" at the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments or N.I.C.E. for short.This starts the trouble because Mark is invited to join N.I.C.E. He thinks. They certainly have invited him and have intimated that they want him, but for what? He cannot get a definite answer as to what his occupation would be or that he is even hired. When he demands clarity, he is warned that he will offend the director. Anxious to please, Mark subsides.Meanwhile, Jane is having some very non progressive, non modern dreams. They are strange and disturbing and it seems they have something to do with an ancient man lying in a tomb.All is not as it seems, to coin a phrase. It turns out the institute is not interested in Mark but want Jane. Her dreams will tell them the location of this mysterious man. Why do they want him? They believe he possesses power that will help them control the world. At least that is what the men think. In reality, it is the Eldil who want the man to help them destroy the world. They play on certain men's lust for power to achieve their ultimate goals.Lewis creates a brilliant expose on human nature and our reality on a metaphysical level.Each person is a type and Lewis reveals their nature by narrating their thoughts to the reader. We smile and sometimes laugh in acknowledgement because we recognize ourselves and others in the different characters. We also are filled with loathing as we recognize the perversity and arrogance that characterizes so many people in our world.I especially appreciate his descriptions of the men at N.I.C.E. Each one wants something from the Eldil. One wants superior knowledge and scientific advancement; another seeks supernatural experiences, a third wants freedom to experiment on animals and humans for his personal increase in knowledge and biogenetic engineering. Not one cares how many people they expend to achieve their selfish goals and they see the Eldil as a means to their own ends without considering that they are actually meeting the Eldils' ends.In the end each of them find themselves, their person, individuality, and finally their soul, absorbed by the Eldil.Dr. Ransom, the man who traveled to the planets in the first two books, is keeping a group of people safe from N.I.C.E in his house. These are the few that have not either capitulated to N.I.C.E.'s side or been jailed. Jane, at first unwillingly, then later most willingly joins them.Ransom informs his small group that the scientists and professors at N.I.C.E. do not realize that the Eldil hate them as much as they hate everyone else and as soon as their usefulness is gone, these "intellectual" men will find themselves deserted and finally destroyed.There are moments of real horror. The Head of the institute turns out to be exactly that; the decapitated head of a criminal who was executed in France. One scientist obsessed with creating life from dead men, like his own Frankenstein, has invented a method to infuse the head with saliva, blood, and oxygen. The Head then speaks and gives orders.This is scary enough but worse revelations about the Head are around the corner and I won't reveal anything else so as not to spoil it for the reader.There are also turning points. This happens primarily in Jane and Mark who at first are against Ransom's side and his group in that they dismiss them as antiquated and backwards in their "old fashioned" thinking about morals or believing in a Spiritual world. Both come around as they personally experience undeniable evil.Mark's conversion is the best part. He transforms from being a self-absorbed toady to seeing N.I.C.E. for what it really is and no longer fears rejection of the "inner circle" or losing his job. Once he becomes fearless, he stops thinking only of himself and the reader sees Mark become more fully a man, more fully human as though the character change fleshes him out to where previously he was merely a thin out line of a person.I should point out that not all Eldil are evil. As we learn in the first book, Out of the Silent Planet, most Eldil are good. Only the ruling Eldil of planet Earth is "bent" as the good Eldil call it.And we eventually learn that Earth is not completely deserted by good Eldil. They are also here on Earth. They have traveled from other planets to battle the evil Eldil, something the bent Eldil did not anticipate.I find the whole story a perfect analogy to the battle going on Earth now between good and evil. And, as with all of Lewis' work. The reader is never deserted. We are reassured that good and the Author of good conquers evil. And again, we learn to love Lewis' characters as much as Lewis obviously loved people and consequently made lovable reflections of humans in his stories. We love them because we see them around us.Lewis once said of Nathaniel Hawthorne that "he shows the darkness in men without ever providing light to pierce that darkness" (I am paraphrasing because I wrote it down from memory).Lewis succeeds in piercing the darkness with his light-suffused stories.

  • KatHooper
    2019-05-15 05:33

    Originally posted at FanLit. Come visit us!http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi..."Nature is the ladder we have climbed up by. Now we kick her away."That Hideous Strength is the final volume of C.S. Lewis’s SPACE TRILOGY. This story, which could be categorized as science fiction, dystopian fiction, Arthurian legend, and Christian allegory, is different enough from the previous books, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, that you don’t need to have read them, but it may help to vaguely familiarize yourself with their plots. Generally, in the previous stories, Dr. Elwin Ransom has been to both Mars and Venus and discovered that the planets are governed by heavenly beings and that Earth’s governor is a fallen angel. These forces are at war and the fate of the universe is at stake.In That Hideous Strength, Ransom is back on Earth and is preparing a group of people who can fight the forces of evil. This evil is manifesting as a corporation called the National Institute of Coordinated Experimentation (N.I.C.E.) which is trying to purchase some wooded property owned by Bracton College at the University of Edgestow in England. To do this, they’ve had to exert their influence over some of the “progressive” faculty by getting them to buy into their subtle message of saving the human race through (but not obviously yet) sterilization, selective breeding, re-education, and biochemical conditioning. The end-goal, though they only talk about this in the inner circle, is a future in which the working class is no longer needed to support the brains that run the world. NICE wants the talents of the progressive faculty on their side as they generate propaganda, but they also want to recruit some more ancient magic — they plan to dig up the body of Merlin, which they believe may be buried on the college’s property.Dr. Mark Studdock, a sociologist and a new Bracton faculty member who doesn’t feel like he quite fits in yet, is tempted to join NICE when they offer him a high-status job. At first Mark is suspicious of the group and their recruitment methods and he’s bothered by the vague job description, but their insistence that they need him, their appeal to his vanity, and his low self esteem combine to make their offer seem attractive. Having left Bracton to join the NICE administration, Mark is unaware of the police tactics that NICE is using to make the college town comply with their new order. Meanwhile, also back at Bracton, Mark’s new wife, Jane, is having ominous visions. Thinking she may be going crazy, she seeks help and ends up among the group, lead by Dr. Ransom, which is fighting NICE.One thing that C.S. Lewis does so well in this novel is to portray the slippery slope of Mark’s gradual slide into evil which is caused by a lack of his own moral compass. Though he doesn’t realize it at first, he is foremost a people-pleaser. He wants to increase his status in the eyes of both his colleagues and his wife, and though he’s not actually concerned about his character for himself, he wants others to admire him. Wanting to seem both successful (financially and professionally) and of good character, and without any moral grounding of his own, he has no idea how to behave in this situation and eventually succumbs to the pressure. When he becomes better acquainted with NICE’s tactics and plans, the cognitive dissonance he feels leads him to wholly embrace the evil. It doesn’t help that Mark discovers that even when he tries to be good, there is no natural law that the universe must reward him for it.In contrast, characters who have a stronger sense of self, like Jane, have more concrete ideas about right and wrong and are not as easily influenced or corrupted. Yet Lewis doesn’t condemn Mark while wholly commending Jane. Instead, Mark’s inferiority complex seems heartbreaking, and Lewis makes Jane, an educated feminist, deal with her hatred of masculinity. Other good characters are forced to examine their own self-righteousness.Another thing that is beautifully done in That Hideous Strength is Lewis’ melding of the ancient and new, especially in England’s history — the dark ages with its ancient forest magic, mythical creatures, and irrational superstition, and the new age of rationalism, science and technology. Lewis also speaks eloquently about the difference between organized religion and real spiritual experience. There are also some lovely literary allusions in That Hideous Strength; no fantasy literature lover is likely to miss Lewis’ reference to the work of his friend J.R.R. Tolkien.That Hideous Strength is a deeply philosophical novel which, except for the mention of corsets, doesn’t feel dated though it was published in 1945. Some readers may not appreciate all the philosophizing, but I am always fascinated by C.S. Lewis’ ideas, finding them logical, enlightening, and superbly said. Some of these ideas can be found in his non-fiction works The Abolition of Man, Mere Christianity, God in the Dock, and probably others that I haven’t read. That Hideous Strength — in fact the entire SPACE TRILOGY — is a profoundly thoughtful and beautiful work of science fiction. I recommend Blackstone Audio’s version narrated by Geoffrey Howard.

  • Jacob Aitken
    2019-05-06 05:33

    This is easily human literature's finest hour. CS Lewis, in what is easily his masterpiece, gets in one's face about the reality of the New World Order and of the possibilities of real, effective Christian resistance to it. But the true evil is not democracy. It is diabolical, to be sure, and monarchy is definitely to be preferred, but the true battle takes place on "the unseen world." Lewis puts "spiritual warfare" in a rather direct, most uncomfortable light. Christians piously prat about spiritual warfare, but most believe deep down in their hearts that demons aren't real and aerial beings really don't inhabit our world. Lewis destroys that notion.Lewis’ interweaving of Merlin and the “eldils” is perhaps more brilliant than Lewis himself realized.We Christians believe in angels because the Bible says so. But do we really? I think Lewis is letting on a little more than most people realise. Lewis is a medievalist and despite so-called advances in science and technology, he retained much of the old cosmology (cf chapter 3 in *Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature*).Most Christians until the Enlightenment (a period by no means friendly to Christianity) believed in beings who weren’t human but also weren’t divine, yet were quite active in the world. One british scholar has pointed out how perfectly-orthodox Irish theologians were able to posit such beings while maintaining a rigorous monotheism.The piercing of the human psyches in this novel is stunning. Words fail me at this moment. Imagine every most incredible adjective, and that is what the book is like.

  • Alicia
    2019-05-09 10:06

    I wrote my college essay on this book as it had the most profound influeI wrote my college essay on this book as it had the most profound influence on me in my teenage years. But that's not to say that it's a book aimed at young people. C.S. Lewis is known as a Christian writer and it's true that there are elements of Christianity in this book, as well as some very conservative ideas about women, I might add! But that's not what the book is really about. The hideous strength that Lewis writes about is that compulsion that we feel to be part of a group, beyond friendship, it's a need to be a part of something. This can be a positive thing, this belonging, but it can also be very negative if you are willing to make sacrifices, terrible compromises, in order to justify yourself to the group. More than a cursory treatment of mob psychology, That Hideous Strength challenges us to be self-critical on a day-to-day basis and be brave enough to be true to ourselves even if that means that we give up the very comfortable feeling of belonging. This book has not made me an outsider; it has helped me understand how some people feel such a compulsion to be in the 'inner circle' that they are willing to negate themselves and others.

  • Julie Davis
    2019-05-05 05:32

    As with the other two books in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" I found this one difficult to get into and, yet, once I got past the indefinable point where it was no longer a struggle, I couldn't read it fast enough. Consequently this was a 24-hour book for me. It is a testament to Lewis's imagination and writing skill as to how different all three of the books are in this trilogy, while simultaneously all carrying out the same basic theme. No wonder J.R.R. Tolkien loved them.Speaking of Tolkien, I was stunned to see Numinor mentioned twice and Middle Earth once in this book. I never dreamed there was such a deliberate, direct connection between this book and the Lord of the Rings, which was not yet published in its entirety when this book came out as Lewis says in the introduction. One can see the way these books and LOTR go hand in hand with similar themes, although expressed differently through the authors' different styles.This book itself was really terrific and left me striving to be a better person, to be truer to myself, as did the other two. Not many other books really leave one feeling that way.

  • Michael
    2019-05-17 05:14

    The reader who comes to “That Hideous Strength” for the first time after reading “Out of the Silent Planet” and “Perelandra” could be excused for wondering how it fits in with the rest of the Space Trilogy. It bears little resemblance to its companion volumes. There is no journey through space, no exploration of strange, beautiful worlds, and no alien races. Dr. Ransom, far from being the central character, is absent from the first third of the book, Lewis makes no appearance at all, and nowhere are there hints of an un-fallen creation. The story is more complicated, the cast of characters larger, and the scale of the battle between good and evil far greater, and far more subtle, than the first two books. From every angle, “That Hideous Strength” appears to be stubbornly Earthbound and cut from a completely different cloth.Those, however, who are familiar with C.S. Lewis, know that there is always more to his books than meets the eye. In spite of the many substantial differences between That Hideous Strength and its predecessors, the patient and careful reader will discover profound similarities, and an even more profound, startling and ambitious purpose. When the book opens, a young, progressive, academically minded couple is making the difficult transition from single to married life. Mark Studdock is a fellow at a small college trying to work his way into an influential inner circle in the hopes of advancing his career. His wife, Jane, works at home on a dissertation. Mark is forced to spend long hours at the college wrangling for position and his wife is, understandably, frustrated. But the trappings of a domestic soap opera disappear before they can take root. Jane begins to experience visions of a gruesome, disembodied head speaking to her in a strange tongue and a giant, ancient man about to be awakened from an ages long sleep. Deeply disturbed by her visions and her husband’s absences, Jane sets aside her progressive feminism to consult the housemother of her former college, the very old-fashioned Mrs. Dimble. Older, wiser, childless but still matronly, Mother Dimble invites Jane to consult with a man she refers to as “The Director” who lives in a mansion at St.-Anne’s-on-the-Hill. Mark, in the meantime, succeeds in penetrating the inner circle of his college, only to find that there is a deeper circle still, larger, more influential, and connected with an organization known as the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments, or the N.I.C.E. The N.I.C.E. exists, ostensibly, to de-couple science from the restrictions of government, streamlining discovery and facilitating invention. Freed from the shackles of government oversight and accountability, it exercises a great deal of power both within its walls and in the world outside. Mark is encouraged to pursue a position with the N.I.C.E., and is invited to spend a long weekend there to secure the situation. He and Jane each depart without the other’s knowledge for their respective destinations, moving in opposite directions physically and spiritually. Mark learns that nothing about the N.I.C.E. bears any resemblance to its name. Those who exercise power there draw him in, manipulating his desire to be included and fear of being left out. He is disoriented by a combination of ugly secrets, lies, and frightening mysteries until he slowly realizes that, not only is his career in jeopardy, but his life, his wife’s, and the future of everyone in England. Jane, too, is drawn in to the inner circle of the mansion at St. Anne’s, but she is attracted by a Good that is absolute and beautiful. There are secrets and mysteries at St. Anne’s, but, far from being manipulative and disorienting, they bring clarity and freedom. Her discoveries lead her to a life that is larger, richer and more beautiful than she had ever imagined. As Jane and Mark learn more about St. Anne’s and the N.I.C.E., the plot of “That Hideous Strength” deepens and the pace quickens. They find themselves caught on opposing sides of a new battle in a war as old as time. They both encounter characters and situations that, though normal in appearance, possess a subtle strangeness. The mundane around them melts away, and they find themselves in an old faery tale world of kings and wizards, monsters, evil faeries, lesser gods and animals that are far more than mere beasts. When the battle is joined, all of these will play their part. Many will die and be overthrown, but much will also be restored to its rightful place before the end. To reveal more about the story would be to rob the reader of the delights too numerous to mention. Suffice to say that there is more than enough to entertain and satisfy the imagination of even a superficial reader. But “That Hideous Strength” is about so much more than just its story. It is as rich and full of various types of meaning as “Faery Queene” or “The Divine Comedy”, and his purpose is no less ambitious than Spencer’s or Dante’s.Primarily, “That Hideous Strength” is about redemption, and that on many levels. At the highest level is about the redemption of Mark and Jane. When they are introduced, neither of them are likeable. Mark’s fixation with being in the most progressive inner circle betrays a desperate insecurity. It is more important for him to be in the know than to know anything worthwhile or to know his wife. His enemies play on this weakness to ensnare him in the culture of the N.I.C.E. For most of the book, he is willing to do anything to be on the inside, ignoring the evil around him, descending to ridiculous levels of self-deception and compromise, almost to the point of sacrificing his wife. Jane is equally vapid, devoted to a feminist ideology bent on the abandonment and destruction of anything remotely feminine. She eschews the traditional roles of male and female in marriage, especially that of bearing children. She carries a hidden resentment of her husband simply because he is a man. The road to redemption for both of them is perilous, but as they travel it, they become more and more attractive, more like the kind of people we might like, and want to be like.Deeper than the redemption of Mark and Jane, it is about the redemption of marriage and childbearing. In Mark and Jane, he embodies the prevailing mindset about marriage among the more intelligent and affluent; that marriage is a partnership of mutual convenience, an arrangement between equals. It is sterile and dry, ignoring the obvious differences between men and women in the name of political correctness. Sex is for recreation and entertainment. Children are an imposition, a necessary evil for the purpose of perpetuating the race, to be disposed of in childcare and state schools as soon as possible so that we can have our time back. Lewis dares to step in and say “no”. Marriage is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman where each gives their all for the other. There are no equals in marriage. Men and women are so different that equality does not enter the equation. Marriage cannot be about getting our rights as equals. If we insist only on equality, marriage fails because we focus on what we are getting and making sure that it is equal to what we are giving. If marriage is to work, men and women must give their all as men and women to be servants of one another. This is one of the hardest lessons about marriage, but when it is learned, when we come to grips with the glorious complementary inequality between man and woman, it makes marriage the most beautiful of relationships. Lewis also makes the bold claim that one of the chief aims of marriage is childbearing. When we intentionally prevent conception, we violate the created order of things. The physical pleasure that accompanies copulation is a byproduct of the act that produces children, not the other way around. It was never meant to be only a form of entertainment, but re-creation in the truest sense of the word. It is in the mutual submission of marriage and the successful rearing of children that we find joys that far transcend mere physicality. All of this is accomplished without preaching or quoting Scripture. Instead, Lewis uses illustrations of healthy marriages and prose that borders on poetry to shame the cold institution that passes for marriage today. For example, in one of the most famous episodes in the book, the Director confronts a stranger in a battle of wits and words that includes the following exchange:"The Stranger mused for a few seconds; then, speaking in a slightly sing-song voice, as though he repeated on old lesson, he asked, in two Latin hexameters, the following question: 'Who is called Sulva? What road does she walk? Why is the womb barren on one side? Where are the cold marriages?'Ransom replied, 'Sulva is she whom mortals call the Moon. She walks in the lowest sphere. The rim of the world that was wasted goes through her. Half of her orb is turned toward us and shares our curse. Her other half looks to Deep Heaven; happy would be he who could cross that frontier and see the fields on her further side. On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages are cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, they do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm by devilish arts, for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty (delicati) in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place.'" In another passage, the same stranger asks permission to kill Jane for the crime of avoiding conception. "...the Stranger was speaking and pointing at her as he spoke.‘Sir, you have in your house the falsest lady of any at this time alive.’‘Sir, you are mistaken. She is doubtless like all of us a sinner; but the woman is chaste.’‘Sir,’ said [the stranger], ‘know well that she has done in Logres a thing of which no less sorrow shall come than came of the stroke that Balinus struck. For sir, it was the purpose of God that she and her lord should between them have begotten a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years.’‘She is but lately married,’ said Ransom. ‘The child may yet be born.’‘Sir,’ said [the stranger], ‘be assured that the child will never be born, for the hour of its begetting is passed. Of their own will they are barren: I did not know till now that the usages of Sulva were so common among you. For a hundred generations in two lines the begetting of this child was prepared; and unless God should rip up the work of time, such seed, and such an hour, in such a land, shall never be again.’‘Enough said,’ answered Ransom. ‘The woman perceives that we are speaking of her.’‘It would be great charity,’ said [the stranger] ‘if you gave order that her head should be cut from her shoulders; for it is a weariness to look at her.’"This is a common enough argument against contraception and abortion; who knows how many great men and women have been killed in the womb? The physician who would have found a cure for cancer, the engineer that would have discovered a clean, renewable source of energy; have they died before they could give their gift to the world? It is impossible to know. Juxtaposed against the justly harsh critique of contemporary marriage are the healthy marriages of Mother Dimble and her husband Cecil, and Arthur and Camilla Deniston. They provide an attractive model of what marriage can be. Though far from perfect, their marriages are marked by a love that is other-centered and self-sacrificial. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but the weaknesses provide opportunities to serve, not correct. A beautiful example of this comes when Mother Dimble and another resident of the mansion are discussing their husbands:"'That's how they treat us once they're married. They don't even listen to what we say,' I said. And do you know what she said? 'Ivy Maggs,' said she, 'did it ever come into your mind to ask whether anyone could listen to all we say?'"Mother Dimble does not chide her husband for not listening to every word she said. She understands that men do not work that way, and serves her husband by allowing him to be a man. The promise of beauty in marriage and childrearing is alive in the Dimbles and the Denistons. By divine intervention, Jane and Mark are given the opportunity to enter into both. Going even deeper, "That Hideous Strength" about the redemption of beauty and innocence on Earth. In both “Out of the Silent Planet” and “Perelandra” he created scenes of heartbreaking beauty amid a setting of un-fallen, innocent creatures. At first glance, “That Hideous Strength” is devoid of those things. But near the end, there is a chapter devoted to reconciliation that takes place in a scene of humble domesticity: a bridal chamber in a simple cottage, with a fire on the hearth and dinner cooking on the stove. After the horror of the recent battle, it is breathtakingly beautiful, and Lewis’ purpose comes into sharp focus. He had to take us away from Earth to Malacandra and Perelandra to reintroduce us to beauty and innocence. Our eyes and consciences had to be reopened and refreshed, and we had to be reminded of the hideous nature of evil, before he could bring us back to Earth and show us that beauty and innocence can still be found here. The infection had to be removed before we could remember health.There is so much more that could be discussed. There is the redemption of the relationship between man and the lower animals; there is a critique of the evils of postmodernism, there are contrasts and ironies galore, and the bringing together of elements of Arthurian legend, medieval cosmology, and even the curse of the Tower of Babel to tie all of it together. There is also his love of language, which is equal to that of Tolkien and every bit as enjoyable, though of a slightly different savor. But I have gone on long enough. There are treasures in “That Hideous Strength” rich enough to reward all who are willing to take the plunge, and I heartily encourage everyone who comes this way to do so.

  • Emilia P
    2019-05-22 09:36

    That Hideous Strength is the final book in the C.S. Lewis's Ransom trilogy. The first two books find Ransom on Mars and then Venus, exploring their flora and fauna,meeting their inhabitants and speaking with their eldils, which are somewhere between the planets spiritual essence and its guardian angel..while we discover how (the Christian) God works on other planets.This third book finds Ransom back on earth, preparing for an interplanetary response to the threat of apocalypse, which is about to come at the hands of overeager scientists and academics who are doing the devils work, some knowingly and some because of their own ignorance and disconnectedness from the real world. They are a pretty nasty bunch. Eventually, albeit briefly, he gets Merlin on his side and uhmmm... calls down the gods (from their corresponding planets). Merlin and the gods as ancient magic are neutral, so its okay that the Christian heroes co-opt them. Which, needless to say, I love, since it takes a big man to really celebrate the reality of non -Christian elements being important in the Christian tradition.I loved this book. C.S. Lewis is at his best, blending the everyday human experience with the huge huge questions of existence and god. You know he's being a little didactic, but he sets up his characters so you really feel like its something that they are learning too. Mostly I like this series because its about how God is so much bigger and has so much more work to do than just our human stuff, but we still have a duty to him. Three cheers. Phew.

  • Mike Fendrich
    2019-05-06 06:21

    This is probably my 3rd or 4th time reading this book. If Lewis understood anything, he understood the arid desert of modernity and its absolutely crippling effect on what it means to be human (among many, many, many!! other things). The most fascinating theme of the book is the opening of Mark and Jane Studdock's eyes to a life beyond abstraction and "complete objectivity", (reason alone). Can't recommend it highly enough.

  • Laura
    2019-05-24 08:36

    I read this the way I've read almost all of C.S. Lewis' writing: first, by sheer determination even though it makes only a little sense to me; then re-reading a second time with appreciation. I almost always start his books, admire his ideas but realize I'm pretty puzzled by most of it, and then go back and re-read the book and realize how brilliant it really is.Even though it is the last book in his trilogy, as a non-fantasy reader I think I should have started here. This is the least fantastic book of the trilogy and contains the most recognizable setting (a modern university full of intellectuals who value objectivity, embrace materialism, and worship science) and features the most relatable characters (like Jane! Finally a girl I can relate to!)Set in a fictional British university, we first meet Mark Studdock--a young professor trying to climb the ranks of academia not by his knowledge or skill, but by getting chummy with the 'in' crowd. Unbeknownst to him, the in-crowd has recently aligned themselves with an organization called N.I.C.E., an acronym which disguises their real intentions to apply science to all social problems and to sterilize the planet and re-educate people in order to promote the all-powerful human above the disorder of nature. Meanwhile, his wife has been experiencing--rather against her will--prophetic dreams that lead her towards a group of people who are opposed to N.I.C.E. and all that it stands for. Mark and Jane clearly symbolize the objective approach and the subjective approach, and their marriage represents the necessary unity between these two approaches that makes us human. I'm not going to pretend I got all the symbolism in this book (that is something I'd love to keep discussing with other fans of Lewis' work!) but I did recognize the way this story fleshes out ideas found in The Abolition of Man. I doubt anyone could fully appreciate this novel without at least some knowledge of Lewis' argument in The Abolition of Man and his essay on the Inner Ring http://www.lewissociety.org/innerring.php though I do think the story stands on its own merits. I'm sure there is hardly a thesis about this book that hasn't already been written, but this book begs to have an essay or two written about it.Using my Lewis formula (read, then re-read), I think I ought to go back and re-read the whole trilogy again so I can experience the brilliance. It's a good thing all of his works deserve a second reading anyhow.(Why 3 stars? I've decided the stars are there for me, to determine how much I enjoyed a book, not to reflect how brilliant the book actually is. Purely subjective. Hence, a three.)

  • Brandy Painter
    2019-04-24 06:18

    Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! How many times can I use that word or one of its synonyms in describing anything written by C.S. Lewis? Not enough. This book, the third in the Space Trilogy, is the best of the three.That Hideous Strength deals with a Britain on the verge of dystopia. An organization known as the N.I.C.E. is moving to take over the nation and its strength will usher in the hideousness referred to in the title. Like in most dystopian novels there is a small group of individuals who see the danger and is fighting against it. However, unlike its counterparts in other novels, this group does not rely on the strength of their individual wills and merits to fight the evil machinery of government. Their strength is in a higher power and they are fully aware that their struggle, while important, is only a small part of the greater battle raging in the Universe around them. They are humble in the realization that they are at most minor players and observers in a battle that is not their own to win or lose. Hope for the future is a solid reality in the plot of this novel and not some nebulous feeling or nonexistent force as it is in most dystopian novels. And woven into all of this is the legend of Arthur Pendragon and Merlin. Modern British fantasy meets ancient British mythology and the result is spectacular. Into the plot C.S. Lewis has injected the themes and philosophies he explores in his non-fiction works The Abolition of Man and The Four Loves. As is typical for his fictional works this aspect does not overshadow the beauty of the story he is telling. It is not a lesson he is teaching but is the story itself. Genius.

  • Jacob Aitken
    2019-05-09 08:25

    Easily Lewis's best work. This should be on the front shelves at every Christian book store. Lewis frighteningly predicted the rise of the scientific, planning state. For those who laugh at "conspiracies" of the New World Order, read this book and tell me I am wrong. Try it. But unlike other books on the New World Order, Lewis advocates (or at least Dr Ransom does), fighting back. And not just fighting back with abstract ideas, but also with revolvers.Lots of memorable moments: Ransom explains manliness and marriage, beards, and many other things. Shows how the planning state creates disasters in order to bring in their pre-arranged solution.If more Christians who frequented Lifeway and other silly bookstores started reading this instead of Lucado and Yancey, things in America would be a lot different.

  • John Jr.
    2019-04-27 04:12

    First, a reminiscence. I continue to be surprised by my mother, though she died three years ago. She gave at least one volume of this trilogy to me when I was a young adolescent and finally gave the third to me some 40 years later, at Christmas 2000. I imagine she understood that, insofar as they're allegorical, Lewis's Narnia books derive from a formerly great literary tradition, but she knew as well that they were meant for children; she had no interest in them herself (that I can recall) and never expected that I would either. Lewis's so-called Space Trilogy, on the other hand, is thoroughly adult. By giving its volumes to me over the years, my mother honored what she saw as my intelligence, beginning before my mind had developed much and extending throughout her life.Some comments: It’s a fine and lovely book, often very funny (the dithering speech of the Deputy Director is an example, as are the maneuverings for position among the academics), wondrously imaginative (Merlin himself figures into the story, and the beings that appear to be angels are presented in terms of the old planetary gods of the astrologers--Mercury, Venus, and the like), and a good deal concerned with ethics and morality. This is a rare combination; in fact, the feel of the book, the flavor that results from Lewis’s particular combination of those ingredients, is something I’ve never encountered elsewhere. Maybe the biggest surprise is that it’s clearly a Christian book, by virtue of the metaphysical hierarchy that informs its world, yet one finds very little mention of Christian beliefs and practices: Christianity is an aspect of the story, not one of its subjects. (One could wish for the same from many of today’s Christian artists.)Some quotations that I copied into my journal:Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven’t you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children--and the dogs. They know what snow’s made for.That’s Denniston, one of the “good guys,” talking. They’re clearly not ascetics; their simple, direct (and, as his own words suggest, childlike) response to a sensual experience is one reason we like them.If you pick up some rotten thing and find this organic life crawling over it, do you not say, “Oh, the horrid thing. It is alive,” and then drop it?… Minerals are clean dirt. But the real filth is what comes from organisms—sweat, spittle, excretions. Is not your whole idea of purity one huge example? The impure and the organic are interchangeable conceptions.… You would understand if you were peasants. Who would try to work with stallions and bulls? No, no; we want geldings and oxen. There will never be peace and order and discipline so long as there is sex. When man has thrown it away, then he will become finally governable.… The world I look forward to is the world of perfect purity. The clean mind and the clean minerals. What are the things that most offend the dignity of man? Birth and breeding and death.This is Filostrato, one of the scientists attached to the “institute” that’s a front for the dark forces, the initials of which are N.I.C.E.. What he outlines is part of their project to improve the condition of man.…they had discovered the state of Merlin: not from inspection of the thing that slept under Bragdon Wood, but from observing a certain unique configuration in that place where those things remain that are taken off time’s mainroad, behind the invisible hedges, into the unimaginable fields. Not all the times that are outside the present are therefore past or future.A filigree of fine phrasing and idea creation.…he was past the age at which one can have night fears. But now … he felt those old terrors again.… Materialism is in fact no protection. Those who seek it in that hope (they are not a negligible class) will be disappointed. The thing you fear is impossible. Well and good. Can you therefore cease to fear it? Not here and now. And what then? If you must see ghosts, it is better not to disbelieve in them.Simply good writing (an explanation wrapped up with an aphorism), though of course the anti-materialist point serves Lewis’s larger purpose.It isn’t to his wife that a man turns under the influence of aphrodisiacs.A comment by Frost, another of the bad guys. The statement has a degree of truth that’s not undercut by the identity of the speaker.In case anyone wonders about the source of Lewis's title, the title page of this edition gives it as follows:The Shadow of that Hyddeous StrengthSax Myle and More It Is of Length.—Sir David Lyndsay, from Ane Dialog,describing the Tower of Babel

  • Daniel
    2019-04-23 06:20

    A work without which I think it must be very hard to understand either ourselves or our times.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-04-26 09:12

    I started this book with a certain amount of trepidation. I'd liked the first book in this series a lot, but while I had been enchanted with the descriptions of Venus/Perelandra, I was frustrated by the outcome of the second book as a whole. Which way was this going to go? Well, somewhere in the middle. In general, the book was entertaining to read, with occasional passages that made me stop and take a deep breath. It's one of those things where some of the things he says sound fantastic, and then he says something else frustrating, and I just have to wait for a minute for that to pass through me before I can press onward.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Jake McAtee
    2019-05-07 05:25

    The best of the series. I'd love for the rest of my life to be about building a St. Annes to fight N.I.C.E.'s

  • Corey
    2019-05-17 08:15

    Baller.

  • John
    2019-04-26 12:14

    Definitely my favorite of the three.

  • Mike
    2019-05-23 11:36

    A few spoilers here....I read this in the Kindle three-books-in-one version. My original paperback turned out to have been an abridged edition (abridged by Lewis himself) but the Kindle version was the original full book, full of more explanations, and digressions, and conversations than I remember in the original. This must be my third read of the book, but apart from some general remembrances of the story, the details had pretty much gone (it's probably thirty or forty years since I last read it). I'd forgotten how grim and violent the ending is, with the almost wholesale slaughter of the NICE people, and I'd forgotten the earthquake that destroys the town most of the characters live in, and how the College that's at the centre of the mistaken thinking is destroyed. I think I'd even forgotten Merlin's appearance - though I did remember that he and the tramp had switched places. The book ranges over so much: wrong and right thinking about life, and especially marriage (the book becomes increasingly erotic, in the best sense, as it heads towards the end). Science and its wrongheaded views are the focus of the plot, but behind all this is the wonderful overwhelming sense of Creation and how everything is ordered in a way we barely suspect. While a bunch of the characters are Christians, this isn't an evangelical book. For Lewis Christianity is much bigger and broader and universal even than most of us think. I note that this book is considered the third of a 'space' trilogy. But our usual view of space and science fiction is nothing like Lewis's. He melds together mythology and history and gods and goddesses (who aren't what we usually think, either) and science and space travel all into one glorious story. The best thing is to let him sweep you along - and the book, even in its unabridged form - has a great pace about it, and let him whirl you into a much broader understanding of pretty much everything!Terrific!

  • ladydusk
    2019-04-23 07:16

    I read this on Kindle.I really enjoyed this book. There was so much that Lewis had to say and show. The evil was really evil, and the layers were peeled back slowly, slowly to the final climax. The evil is so evil it doesn't seem possible to defeat.The good was really good. Waiting, abiding, sojourning, trusting God. That's generally a good plan.I love, love, love that Lewis solves SciFi problems grounded in history. In Out of the Silent Planet he used Classical Astronomy. Here we see historical characters and a historical train of thought. We see mythological representations of Mars, Venus, and the other planets. We see that God's creation waits the freeing of Tellus.I was left wanting more tying up of loose ends. (view spoiler)[I wanted to know who the new Pendragon was. The dismissal of characters by Ransom was kindly and well done, but I wanted to hear more from Mark and Jane. (hide spoiler)]I'm glad I finally tried out the series this year. It was worth the time investment. I think reading an annotated version of this and some of Lewis' backing ideas and allusions would be fascinating.

  • Rogan
    2019-04-26 04:09

    This book took me forever to read. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and I am glad I finished the series, but it was a daunting task. I know it was only 380 pages but it felt like 1500. I would find myself actually reading out loud because I honestly had no idea what was trying to be said. Also shout out to Kindle for having an integrated dictionary, that was huge. I wouldn't recommend this book to all of my friends, but if you are looking for a challenge feel free to start here.

  • Joel Arnold
    2019-05-14 12:24

    The last of the Lewis' Space Trilogy was the most interesting to me. The plot tension held me throughout most of the book while the events and development were extremely shocking. Unfortunately, I got too involved to take any decent notes while I was reading. Looking back, I felt like it was worth it to read the other two books, just for the sake of getting to this one. Excellent read.

  • Thadeus
    2019-05-08 04:21

    The finale to the trilogy was strong, but definitely less ‘other-worldly’ than the previous two. This in no way takes away from the brilliant story-telling of Lewis in this series. Much of the build up in this story reflects the human experience (particularly if you either work in a college or university, or if you live in the United States today).The story follows the development of a state-organization that basically does social engineering and it’s takeover of a small town that is home to a college with a long history. I saw quite a lot of connections to the takeover of language and the media that ‘progressives’ have accomplished in the United States today in the descriptions of the propaganda and tyranny that occurs in the book.The whole series is great, this one seems to touch most upon social implications of societies today.Highly recommended!

  • Kelby Carlson
    2019-05-06 07:21

    Definitely the weirdest thing Lewis ever wrote. Read it not so much for the plot itself but for the writing, character studies, and philosophical musings.

  • Alex
    2019-05-02 04:15

    This is a really hard one to rate compared to most of the books I've read this year. It is a fiction story, meant to take the reader down a certain path, but it is also a story about ideas and reality and materialism and greed and what it means to be a man and a woman and a Christian. There is a lot to chew on in this book. I think it is one of those stories where a re-read or two or ten would do a world of good in understanding Lewis' point and message. Overall I liked it. It's one of the very few fiction books I felt the need to underline. The characters in the story are well made for their purpose. The interactions within the story make sense. The character's motivations and progressions make sense and are interesting. And the mundanity of life are on full display in an engaging and interesting way. If you are looking for a light book, pick something else. If you are looking for a book that wants you to question and then seek to understand the motivations and conclusions of the world around you, this is a great book - no great series - to pick up and read through.