Out of the Silent Planet
Starting in January 2020, the Mythgard Academy will look at the first book in C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet. This is the first book by Lewis to be selected for the Mythgard Academy, and it was chosen by a very generous donor as part of Signum University’s Donor Appreciation Program.
Out of the Silent Planet tells the story of the philologist Dr. Ransom, who is drugged and stuffed into a rudimentary spaceship and sent to the planet Malacandra (Mars). As it turns out, the planet is populated with plants, animals, and sentient creatures who have a sort of communion with all the other planets – except Earth, which they refer to as the Silent Planet. Dr. Ransom sets out on a journey of discovery to learn more about both the world he was sent to and the nefarious plans of his abductors.
Lewis wrote Out of the Silent after a discussion with his good friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, in which they each agreed to right a “modern” speculative story – Lewis a space travel tale and Tolkien a time travel tale. Lewis finished his story and published it in Britain in 1938 and the U.S. in 1943; Tolkien’s story, which he called The Notion Club Papers, was never finished, though his drafts were later published in The Lost Road and Other Writings, which we covered previously in Mythgard Academy.
Out of the Silent Planet is generally viewed positively as an early “space romance” (in the classical sense of the word “romance”). It sits within the tradition of earlier writers like H.G. Wells, whom Lewis mentions in a prefatory note, and later space exploration stories like Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, and Larry Niven’s Ringworld. Along with the other books in the trilogy, it remains one of Lewis’s most popular fiction works, second only, of course, to his Narnia tales.
Out of the Silent Planet is available in many formats from Amazon and other vendors. No particular copy is preferred for the Mythgard Academy seminar.
Schedule for Out of the Silent Planet
Out of the Silent Planet will meet on Wednesdays at 10 pm Eastern Time
Week 1: Ransom’s Calling
Read: Chapters 1-5
Date: January 8, 2020
Week 2: First Encounters
Read: Chapters 6-10
Date: January 15, 2020
Week 3: Hross and Hman
Read: Chapter 11-15
Date: January 22, 2020
Week 4: All the Hnau Crowd Around
Read: Chapter 16-18
Date: January 29, 2020
Read: Chapter 19, Postscript
Date: February 5, 2020
Date: February 12, 2020