Perelandra (Voyage to Venus)

By C.S. Lewis

Rating: 2 stars

This is the second in Lewis’s Space trilogy, which started with Out of the Silent Planet. It’s been a while since I read it, but I quite enjoyed the first book, but the second has been a real chore to work through. It’s less a novel and more a theological discussion and, in my opinion, not a very good one at that.

The basic plot, what there is of it, sees Dr Elwin Ransom travelling to Perelandra (Venus) to find that planet’s Eve being tempted by the devil, possessing the body of his old enemy from the first book, Dr Weston. Most of the book is taken up with what Ransom’s encounter with the Lady of Perelandra and his argument with Weston. The arguments put forward in the book for Christianity didn’t seem that convincing to me, they seemed like the arguments of a man who couldn’t cope with the rate of progress of his time.

And towards the end, when he realised that he can’t out-argue Weston, he resorts to physical violence. He tries feebly to justify this by saying something like it being a new world and new rules, but it really doesn’t pass muster. His arguments weren’t as strong as his enemy’s so he resorted to violence. So he “wins” by brute force, rather than through discussion. Just like religions have done for millennia.

I’d avoid this book, unless you’re interested in a theological debate, although even there, I’d say it’s somewhat unsound.

Book details

ISBN: 9780330281591
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 1943

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