I had a growing collection of books that I decided to get rid of and I thought, since they're in good condition, I'll sell them on ebay. What I earn would help feed my little book habit, while clearing the house of books whose only future was to collect dust and take up valuable shelf space.
It took three hours to photograph the books from every angle, inside and out, decide on a decent price and post. That was three days ago and so far, nobody is nibbling.
I'm trying not to check the status on my account every hour. Ebay is supposed to notify me if anyone orders a book.
Do people really make money selling off ebay? Maybe not with books unless you have a warehouse full. Oh well. It seemed like a good idea. Live and learn.
I am listening to some gorgeous music by Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 2 in C minor, conducted by George Solti
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Around the turn of the last century and a little before, a number of 19th century writers turned their hand to a brand new genre. Nowadays we call it Steampunk, which is just a hipster name for Science Fiction written during the late Victorian and pre WWI years.
Most of them painted a bleakish picture of our future. Maybe they were afraid of change or had a pessimistic view of man's ability to rein in the technological age the industrial age was ushering in. There were many unknown factors. Would the power received from all sorts of wonderful inventions make life easier for the general populace? Or would it make it easier for power mongers to destroy the world as it was known and create an enslaved class of proportions never before seen in the history of mankind?
H.G. Wells is our best known Science Fiction writer of the time and he certainly expressed in stark descriptions the sort of world we would all be living in if man learned how to become invisible or create giants or time travel.
Even E.M. Forster provides a provocative possibility in his short story "The Machine Stops" of how alienated humans could become to each other thanks to modern inventions "taking care" of our every need.
As much as I enjoy Wells, Forster, as well as any number of Steampunk authors, the fact is none of them inspire hope. The landscape is gray, desolate and godless.
Which brings me to why I love C.S. Lewis's Science Fiction trilogy so, so much.
Lewis has the ability to give the reader a clear-sighted view of man's heart (which is desperately wicked) while showing that there is a Power higher than that desperate wickedness that is ultimately going to triumph.
As a result, one finishes Lewis' Science Fiction heartened, encouraged, and ironically feeling greater love for humankind and hope for the future and the human race, at least a portion of us. Some of Lewis characters willfully rush towards eternal destruction.
Out of the Silent Planet is the first book in a trilogy. I have read the first and last and will soon start on the middle. There is a reason I read it out of order that I won't get in here, but this is the third time reading it so it doesn't really matter.
Our hero is Dr. Elwin Ransom, and the inset of the dustcover informs us that Lewis based this memorable character after his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkien.
Ransom is a philologist. Like Lewis and Tolkien were fond of doing, Ransom is on a walking tour through the countryside. Soon he is tired, hungry, and hopelessly lost. He approaches a house where he hopes for a little hospitality.
What he finds there, to his surprise, is an old schoolmate named Devine, the least favorite of his old schoolmates and with good reason as we'll see, and another man, Weston, who turns out to be a megalomaniac scientist. Of course Ransom doesn't initially know Weston is megalomaniac but he soon discovers it as he realizes the two man have nefarious plans for him.
Those plans consist of kidnapping him and taking him to another planet. The planet is called Malacandra and I won't tell you which planet that is so as not to ruin the surprise.
I also won't tell you too much of Ransom's adventures there for the same reason. However, being Lewis, the creatures are of such a sort as to inspire awe, fear, dread and respect and also love.
There are certain beings that exist there that are unknown to humans but actually exist on Earth as well. Because of humankind's fallen nature and the "bent" Oyarsa that rules the planet, these beings are invisible to the human eye. Man's corrupted eye cannot see them although originally they were supposed to.
Ransom learns all of this while he is on Malacandra after talking with the Oyarsa of the planet, but we meet him only later in the novel. We first meet the physical beings that Ransom can see and gets to know.
Eventually, Ransom discovers why Devine and Weston have brought him to Malacandra. But even they do not realize that they are merely tools unwittingly carrying out the evil intent of Earth's bent Oyarsa.
This final revelation is a prelude to the second and third novels in the trilogy.
This story is adventurous and suspenseful but most of all, it inspires the reader to care about all of the characters, even the bent humans, because Lewis is able to project his own unconditional love onto each person, terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and in turn make them lovable to us.
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