Planetary Peregrination—Reviewing C.S. Lewis’ Science Fiction


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 16, 2017.


Growing up I had those glow-in-the-dark planet decals attached to the ceiling of my bedroom. Space exploration and the study of astronomy always fascinated me and still grips my attention. As a kid, I even made sure my planet decals were proportionately spaced from the sun [the light in the center of my bedroom ceiling] as the real planets’ orbit around the sun!

I have maintained a love of space through my reading of both scientifically based works like Stephen Hawkings’ A History of Time and Space to sci-fi works like Spin by Robert Charles Wilson.

About five years ago, my cousin introduced me to another sci-fi series related to space—one by Clives Staples Lewis! You heard me right, the same C.S. Lewis who wrote great Christian apologetic works of The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity. The same C.S. Lewis who his endeared children with the Chronicles of Narnia.

Penned by the motivation of a literary challenge to delve into the genre of science fiction posed by his close friend J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis branched out and wrote three tales in The Space Trilogy. Because I want to share this amazing work, here is a brief review of the first book— Out of the Silent Planet.

Unfallen World

The basic theme of the book centers around the idea of what life would look like in an unfallen [without Original Sin] world. Out of the Silent Planet opens with the primary antagonists—Devine and Weston— kidnapping main character, Dr. Elwin Ransom. The kidnappers’ aim is to find another planet to colonize in hopes to perpetuate the human race. Ransom, Devine, and Weston end up on a mysterious planet known as Malacandra [more commonly known as Mars!].

malacandra mars

Malacandra: Lewis’ name for Mars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the book focuses on Dr. Ransom’s interactions with the planet’s hnau [a word used to describe rationale beings]. Ransom learns that the inhabitants of Malacandra do not suffer from the effects of Original Sin like humans from Earth do. A mutual respect between the species and self-less obedience to Maeldil [Jesus Christ] exist. Furthermore, he learns that angelic beings known as Oyarsa guides each planet in the solar system. What is different about Earth’s [called the Silent Planet] guardian is that our Oyarsa became Bent and led humanity toward a path of selfishness and destruction.

What Does it Mean to be Human?

The remainder of Out of the Silent Planet explores the relationship between the various Malacandrian species. Lewis juxtaposes this harmony against the strife daily seen on Earth.  What I really enjoy about this book is Lewis’ ability to imagine an unfallen world and ponder how that would concretely exist. His portrayal of the various species on Malacandra assumes that being a hnau [person] is not limited to a particular species.  Image a world where humans, dolphins, dogs, and chimps all are viewed as rationale beings who mutually respect each other and worship the same God!

out of the silent planet

Hrossa: the humanoid-otter species Dr. Ransom first encounters in Out of the Silent Planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Lewis’ tale is both a fantastical and metaphysical experience. The language of the hrossa, the first species Ransom encounters, is fun to learn. Moreover, the idea of an unfallen world definitely puts a new spin on space travel for me. Despite the book ending a bit philosophically, Lewis’ wit pervades Out of the Silent Planet. Without giving too much of the ending away I want to share a small quote from Out of the Silent Planet.

The chief Oyarsa [angel] in charge of Malacandra tells Weston,

“The weakest of my people do not fear death. It is the Bent One, the lord of your world, who wastes your lives and befouls them with flying from what you know will overtake you in the end. If you were subjects of Maleldil you would have peace” (p. 138-139).

The Verdict

Overall, I would give Out of the Silent Planet four out of five stars. My only real concern was initially the style of writing at the beginning of the book took a little getting used to. Nevertheless, I loved the theme and the relationship between Ransom and the three alien species. Having re-read this book multiple times I encourage you to check out your local library or search for this book online. This is a must have work for any ardent C.S. Lewis fan!

out of the silent planet

 

Related Links

Planetary Peregrination II- Reviewing C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra

Planetary Peregrination III- Reviewing C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength

The Challenge: How C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy Came Into Being

Thank you for sharing!

Laugh Your Way to Holiness: A Review of The Catholic Card Game

Catholic Card Game

Photo credit: catholiccardgame.com

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”

The Catholic Church has survived for 2,000 years because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the ability to not be too severe and rigid.

It has opportunities for joy and laughter. Catholic Card Game is a fruit of such balance found in Catholicism.

It’s like “Saint Thomas Aquinas meets Saint Philip Neri”!

Read more of my review by clicking the link 👇

Laugh Your Way To Holiness With Catholic Card Game

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 3

Hope you had a blessed weekend! Mondays get a bad rap but I’m trying to change that with another Catholic Meme Monday.

Enjoy the latest funny memes I discovered 👇

A classic Catholic meme! This one never gets old. 😉😂
A Noah’s ark meme I’ve never seen before.
Double whammy: Catholic and Lord of the Rings humor. 😜💍
Our God is greater!
The devil went down to the bowling alley?!? 🎳😂😁

That’s all I have this week. Stay alert for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.

May you have a blessed week! 🙏😊

Thank you for sharing!

Saint Catherine of Siena’s Miracle in My Life

The only Doctor of the Church who was neither ordained nor part of the consecrated life. Catherine was a third-order Dominican so technically part of the laity. So cool!

Saint Catherine of Siena pray for us!

Quick story 👇

Signs were pointing to another impending miscarriage.

This would have been our fifth. Every other pregnancy ended in pain and sadness.

The timing wasn’t the greatest either. My wife was going to miscarry on Mother’s Day 2018.

We had our parish priest administer the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in hopes for healing.

We petitioned Saint Catherine to intercede and protect my unborn child.

Since May 2018, every night we ask for the intercession of Catherine of Siena as a way to thank her and God.

Avila Catherine Geraldine trying to help me exercise. Lol

By the grace of God my daughter was safely born and is energetic.

We named (middle name) our daughter after the Sienese saint.

Learn more about this incredible saint👇

Catherine of Siena—Pious Paladin for Today’s Current Clergy Corruption

Thank you for sharing!

Product Review― The Rosary Prayer Card

“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.”

– St. Padre Pio

Catholic Rosary meme

Happens all the time. 😂

Spiritual warfare has been going on since the beginning of time. The Devil tempted Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 to disobey God. This led to the Fall and humanity losing Original Justice.

God loved his creation so much He sent his only Son Jesus Christ to save us through the Paschal Mystery. The Rosary is the prayer which tells the story of Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection. It is an important and effective defense against Satan.

The world is speeding up and it’s easy to get lost in the rush of social media or the latest fad.

But reflecting on the the Life of Jesus is more necessary than ever. Enter the Rosary Prayer Card. I received this item from Everydayprayerco. 

Rosary Prayer Card

Simple and durable. It survived my kids playing with it!

Rosary Prayer card

Super sleek design. Fits perfectly in your wallet!

A rosary doesn’t always fit in your pocket (and let’s be honest it ALWAYS gets tangled). The benefit of the Rosary Prayer Card  is fits inside your wallet. Since putting the card in my wallet I have been more mindful to pray the Rosary. As a father to four young children, it’s easy to get distracted by their shenanigans. The prayer card is a simple way to keep my focus on Jesus and Mary.

Consider giving the Rosary Prayer Card as a graduation or confirmation gift. The youth is our future and they need Jesus and Mary in their life! Everydayprayerco had great customer service and my kids enjoyed praying the Rosary with this new prayer tool. Visit their website today and purchase your own Rosary Prayer Card.

Thank you for sharing!

Why Luke Has Best Start to any New Testament Book

Saint Luke

 

 

 

 

As a person who graduated with a history major for my undergraduate degree, Saint Luke has always held a special place in my academic heart. Although Saint John’s Gospel starts with a beautiful and theological exposition, nothing truly compares to the how “the beloved physician” starts his Gospel!

know your audience

 Know your Audience

Luke dedicates his gospel to a person named Theophilus. Scholars hold that this name may be referring to a singular person or a general audience. The reason for believing the latter possibility is because the Greek word Theophilus translates to “lover of God”. Regardless of Luke’s intention, I found it interesting and significant that he adds this dedication. Along with the dedication, Luke gives us the purpose of his writing his account. Here is the exact text of his dedication to Theophilus:

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received (Luke 1:1-4).

Credibility

From the onset of his Gospel Luke provides his sources. Relying on eyewitness testimonies, Luke is likely a second-generation Christian who had some contact with the original Twelve Apostles.

Additionally, Luke seems to take careful time to sift through these sources utilizing both his reason and gift of the Holy Spirit which inspired him. Luke says, “it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past (1:3 Revised Standard Edition). What this means is that Luke carefully examined his sources like any reasonable historian.

seems legit

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, Luke tells Theophilus (us- as lovers of God) the purpose of his writing. Chapter one verse four the evangelist wrote, “That you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed” ( Revised Standard Edition). Interestingly enough, the Greek word katécheó translates to mean “informed” refers to teach. Katécheó forms the basis of the English word “catechize”. Catechesis was already happening  between Jesus’ Ascension and the time of Luke!

Conclusion

St. Luke is unique among the gospels in that his writing is the only one that specifically details his sources and authorial aim. I firmly believe that one of the reasons for the Lucan text to be included in the New Testament canon was to appeal to people who rely first and foremost on reason. People like myself crave a rationale basis for various ideas. I love St. Luke’s gospel because of its faith-filled content and intellectual appeal. I hope to discuss Luke second work, the Acts of the Apostles—especially in celebration of this Easter season!

Related Links

3 Things “The Hobbit of the New Testament” Taught Me

2 Reasons Why Jesus’ “Failed” Miracle is the Turning Point of Mark’s Gospel

Luke is Unique

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 2

Saint Philip Neri wrote, “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” In today’s messed up world we need all the joy we can get. Memes are a simple way to share your thoughts and laughter with others.

Here’s another issue of Catholic Meme Monday!

A classic Catholic meme!
An enticing extinction theory. What would prediluvian PETA say about this?
The faith journey is never finished.
It’s still Easter season!
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

That’s all I have this week. Stay alert for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.

May you have a blessed week! 🙏😊

Thank you for sharing!