Out of the Silent Planet

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Out of the Silent Planet
CSLewis OutOfTheSilentPlanet.jpg
First edition
AuthorC. S. Lewis
Cover artistHarold Jones
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesThe Space Trilogy
GenreScience fiction novel
Published1938 (John Lane (first))[1]
Media typePrint (hardcover & paperback)
Pages264 pp (first edition, hard)
Preceded byNone 
Followed byPerelandra 

Out of the Silent Planet is a science fiction novel by the British author C. S. Lewis, published in 1938 by John Lane, The Bodley Head.[2] Five years later it was published in the U.S. (MacMillan, 1943). Two sequels were published in 1943 and 1945, completing the so-called Cosmic Trilogy or The Space Trilogy.[a]

The fragment of another sequel, evidently set prior to Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, was published as The Dark Tower in a 1977 collection of short fiction by Lewis (deceased 1963) and essays by four others, The Dark Tower and Other Stories (Collins, ISBN 0-00-222155-1)


The trilogy was inspired and influenced by David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus (1920).[3]

According to biographer A. N. Wilson, Lewis wrote the novel after a conversation with J. R. R. Tolkien in which both men lamented the state of contemporary fiction. They agreed that Lewis would write a space-travel story, and Tolkien would write a time-travel one.[4] Tolkien's story only exists as a fragment, published in The Lost Road and other writings (1987) edited by his son Christopher.

A "NOTE" precedes the text of the story: "Certain slighting references to earlier stories of this type which will be found in the following pages have been put there for purely dramatic purposes. The author would be sorry if any reader supposed he was too stupid to have enjoyed Mr. H. G. Wells's fantasies or too ungrateful to acknowledge his debt to them."


The story starts out by following an unnamed pedestrian taking a walking tour throughout the English countryside. The man is later identified as Dr. Elwin Ransom, a linguistics professor. He is looking for a place to stay the night and stumbles upon a small cottage where a woman is desperately waiting for her son to return. Ransom agrees to help her in hopes he might be able to stay the night at The Rise, the estate where the woman's son works.

At the front door, Ransom hears shouting and struggling inside. When he hurries around back, he sees Weston and Devine trying to force Harry, a dull-witted young man, to enter a structure on the property against his will. Ransom intervenes, and Devine sees him as a better prospect than Harry for what he and Weston have in mind. With Weston's grudging consent, Devine offers Ransom a drink and accommodations for the night.

After enjoying what he thinks is a glass of whiskey and water, Ransom realises that he has been drugged. He tries to escape but is subdued by Weston and Devine. When he regains consciousness he finds himself in a metallic spherical spacecraft en route to a planet called Malacandra. The wonder and excitement of such a prospect relieves his anguish at being kidnapped, but Ransom is put on his guard when he overhears Weston and Devine deliberating whether they will again drug him or keep him conscious when they turn him over to the inhabitants of Malacandra, the sorns, as a sacrifice. Ransom takes over work as cook and scullion, but appropriates a knife and plans to escape when he gets the chance.

Soon after the three land on the strange planet, Ransom gets his chance to run off into the unknown landscape, just after he sees the Sorns—tall alien creatures who terrify him. Ransom wanders around, finding many differences between Earth and Malacandra, in that all the lakes, streams, and rivers are warm; the gravity is significantly less; and the plants and mountains are strangely tall and thin.

Ransom later meets a civilised native of Malacandra, a hross named Hyoi, a tall, thin, and furry creature. He becomes a guest for several weeks in Hyoi's village, where he uses his philological skills to learn the language of the hrossa and also learns their culture. In the process he discovers that gold, to the hrossa as "sun's blood", is plentiful on Malacandra, and thus is able to discern Devine's motivation for making the voyage. Weston's motives are shown to be more complex; he is bent on expanding humanity through the universe, abandoning each planet and star system as it becomes uninhabitable.

The hrossa honour Ransom greatly by asking him to join them in a hunt for a hnakra (plural hnéraki), a fierce water-creature which seems to be the only dangerous predator on the planet, resembling both a shark and a crocodile. While hunting, Ransom and his hrossa companions are told by an eldil, an almost invisible creature reminiscent of a spirit or deva, that Ransom must go to meet Oyarsa, the eldil who is ruler of the planet—and indeed that he already should have done so. He hesitates to respond to the summons, as he wishes to proceed with the hunt. Hyoi, after killing the hnakra with Ransom's help, is shot dead by Devine and Weston, who are seeking Ransom in order to take him prisoner and hand him over to the séroni. Ransom is told by Hyoi's friend (another hross named Hwin) that this is the consequence of disobeying Oyarsa, and that Ransom must now cross the mountains to escape Weston and Devine and fulfil his orders. On his journey, Ransom finally meets a sorn, as he long feared he might. He finds, however, that the séroni are peaceful and kindly. Augray (the sorn) explains to him the nature of Oyarsa's body, and that of all eldila. The next day, carrying the human on his shoulders, Augray takes Ransom to Oyarsa.

After a stop at the dwelling place of an esteemed sorn scientist, wherein Ransom is questioned thoroughly regarding all manner of facts about Earth, Ransom finally makes it to Meldilorn, the home of Oyarsa. In Meldilorn, Ransom meets a pfifltriggi who tells him of the beautiful houses and artwork his race make in their native forests. Ransom then is led to Oyarsa and a long-awaited conversation begins. In the course of this conversation it is explained that there are Oyéresu (the plural) for each of the planets in our solar system; in the four inner planets, which have organic life (intelligent and non-intelligent), the local Oyarsa is responsible for that life. The ruler of Earth (Thulcandra, "the silent planet"), has turned evil (become "bent") and has been restricted to Thulcandra, after "great war," by the Oyéresu and the authority of Maleldil, the ruler of the universe. Ransom is ashamed at how little he can tell Oyarsa about Earth and how foolish he and other humans seem to Oyarsa. While the two are talking, Devine and Weston are brought in guarded by hrossa, because they have killed three of that race. Weston does not believe Oyarsa exists and tries to terrify, then pacify the Malachandrians with decorative beads, but is unsuccessful. Oyarsa sends him away with orders to hrossa to dip his head in cold water. Oyarsa then directs a pfifltriggi to "scatter the movements that were" the bodies of Hyoi and the two other hrossa, using a small, crystalline instrument; once touched with this instrument, the bodies vanish. Weston is brought back from the water, and makes a long speech justifying his proposed invasion of Malacandra on "progressive" and evolutionary grounds, which Ransom attempts to translate into Malacandrian, thus laying bare the brutality and crudity of Weston's ambitions.

Oyarsa listens carefully to Weston's speech and acknowledges that the scientist is acting out of a sense of duty to his species, and not mere greed. This renders him more mercifully disposed towards the scientist, who accepts that he may die while giving Man the means to continue. However, on closer examination Oyarsa points out that Weston's loyalty is not to Man's mind – or he would equally value the intelligent alien minds already inhabiting Malacandra, instead of seeking to displace them in favor of humanity; nor to Man's body – since, as Weston is well aware of and at ease with, Man's physical form will alter over time, and indeed would have to in order to adapt to Weston's program of space exploration and colonization. It seems then that Weston is loyal only to "the seed" – Man's genome – which he seeks to propagate. When Oyarsa questions why this is an intelligible motivation for action, Weston's eloquence fails him and he can only articulate that if Oyarsa does not understand Man's basic loyalty to Man then he, Weston, cannot possibly instruct him.

Oyarsa, passing judgment, tells Weston and Devine that he would not tolerate the presence of such creatures, but lets them leave the planet immediately, albeit under very unfavorable orbital conditions. Oyarsa offers Ransom the option of staying on Malacandra, but Ransom decides he does not belong there, perhaps because he feels himself unworthy and perhaps because he yearns to be back among the human beings of Earth. Oyarsa gives the men ninety days' worth of air and other supplies, telling the Thulcandrians that after ninety days, the ship will disintegrate—so that whether they make it back to Earth or not (which is unlikely given the orbital conditions), they will never return to Malacandra. Weston and Devine do not further harm Ransom, focusing their attention on the perilous journey home. Oyarsa had promised Ransom that the eldila of "deep heaven" would watch over and protect him against any attacks from the other two Thulcandrians, who might seek to kill him as a way of economizing their air and food supplies; at times, Ransom is conscious of benevolent presences within the spaceship—the eldila. After a difficult return journey, the space-ship makes it back to Earth, and is shortly "unbodied" according to Oyarsa's will.

Ransom himself half-doubts whether all that happened was true, and he realises that others will be even less inclined to believe it if he should speak of it. However, the author (Lewis, appearing as a character) who did not previously know of Ransom's adventure, fortuitously writes to Ransom asking whether he has heard of the medieval Latin word "Oyarses" and knows what it meant. This prompts Ransom to let Lewis in on the secret. Ransom then dedicates himself to the mission that Oyarsa gave him before he left Malacandra: stopping Weston from further evil. Ransom and Lewis then collaborate—in the story, not in real life—to compose and publish Out of the Silent Planet under the guise of fiction. They realise that only a few readers will recognise their story as describing "real" events, but since they anticipate that further conflict with Weston or the Bent Oyarsa of Earth will be forthcoming, they also desire simply to familiarise many readers with the ideas contained therein.


  • Dr. Elwin Ransom – A professor of philology at a college of the University of Cambridge, hence gifted with languages. He befriends first many hrossa, then some sorns, and at last Oyarsa.
  • Dr. Weston – A thick-set physicist, savage, arrogant and greedy, who considers himself ultra-civilised. He mocks "classics and history and such trash"[5] in favor of the hard sciences and imperialism and, boasting to Ransom about his achievements in interplanetary travel, declares, "You cannot be so small-minded as to think that the rights of an individual or of a million individuals are of the slightest importance in comparison with this."[6]
  • Dick Devine – Later a politician, Weston's "power-hungry accomplice"[7] possesses "that kind of humour which consists in a perpetual parody of the sentimental or idealistic clichés of one's elders."[8] "He was quite ready to laugh at Weston's solemn scientific idealism. He didn't give a damn, he said, "for the future of the species or the meeting of two worlds."[9] He instead is motivated solely by greed for wealth and seeks to exploit Malacandra for its gold.
  • Hyoi – Ransom's first hross friend; they meet in Chapter 9, and Hyoi begins to teach him the Old Solar language and the practical philosophy of the hrossa. Hyoi is murdered by Weston.
  • Hnohra – An older hross who teaches Ransom to speak Old Solar.
  • Augray – A sorn who saves Ransom from near death on his freezing mountain-top, asks him many questions about Earth, and carries him to Meldilorn to meet Oyarsa.
  • Kanakaberaka – A pfifltrigg who carves Ransom's portrait onto a stone at Meldilorn.
  • Oyarsa is undying, wise, and compassionate. He is the greatest eldil to visit Malacandra and functions as its ruler. Oyarsa tells Ransom that he "sent for" Ransom to visit him from Thulcandra (thus establishing Ransom's special qualities in later books).


Peter Nicholls describes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra as "planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted and not known directly by most humans. These two books are powerfully imagined, although their scientific content is intermittently absurd."[10]

Anna K. Nardo (in Extrapolation, summer, 1979) wrote that "as the reader travels with Ransom into Deep Heaven, he too is introduced to worlds where myth comes true and where what are merely artificial constructs to delineate kinds of poetry on earth become living realities in the heroic world of Mars and the pastoral world of Venus. Through identification with Ransom, the reader tastes what, Lewis seems to believe, is almost impossible in the modern world: pure epic and pure lyric experiences."[7]

Robert McClenaghan writes, "Out of the Silent Planet, the shortest and most straightforward of the [Space Trilogy] books, incorporates many of the elements of classic science fiction, including a space flight, meetings with fantastic aliens, and an extended depiction of another planet. Were it not for the theological backdrop (which comes into focus only toward the story's end), Out of the Silent Planet could pass as merely a well-written and exceptionally erudite pulp novel."[11]

John Gosling, on his website devoted to The War of the Worlds, wrote that the novel "is a very well written and important piece of Martian science fiction."[12]

Hrossa, séroni, pfifltriggi[edit]

On Malacandra there are three native species of hnau, reasoning species such as humans ("sentient races" in popular science fiction terms).

The hrossa (singular hross) resemble bipedal otters or seals, and are somewhat taller and thinner than humans. Ransom finds them beautiful: "covered, face and all, with thick black animal hair, and whiskered like a cat ... glossy coat, liquid eye, sweet breath and whitest teeth" (p. 59, Chap. 9). They live in the low river valleys (handramit in the speech of the eldila) and specialise in farming, fishing, and performing arts such as dancing and poetry. They are especially gifted in making poetry; yet they refuse to write it down as they believe that books ruin words and poems. Their technical level is low, and they wear only pocketed loincloths. The boats that they build are similar to our canoes. They add an initial /h/ sound to their words. Their sense of humor is "extravagant and fantastic" (Chap. 18). In the sequels it is made clear that the language of the hrossa is the primary Old Solar language, and that the languages of the other two species are late derivatives of it.

The séroni (singular sorn; the plural is sometimes given as sorns) are thin, fifteen-foot-high humanoids having coats of pale feathers and seven-fingered hands.[b] They live in mountain caves of the high country (harandra in the speech of the eldila), though they often descend into the handramit where they raise giraffe-like livestock. They are the scholars and thinkers of Malacandra, specializing in science and abstract learning. Their technical level is high, and they design machinery, which is built by the pfifltriggi. Although they can write, they do not compose written works of history or fiction as they feel the hrossa are superior at it. Their sense of humor "seldom got beyond irony" (Chap. 18).

The pfifltriggi (singular pfifltrigg) have tapir-like heads (with a bulge at the back implying a large brain) and frog-like bodies; they lean their elbows on the ground when at rest, and sometimes when working with their hands. Their movements are quick and insectlike. They are the builders and technicians of Malacandra. They build houses and gadgets thought up by the séroni. They are miners who especially like to dig up "sun's blood" (gold) and other useful and beautiful minerals. Their sense of humor is "sharp and excelled in abuse" (Chap. 18).

Malacandra's hnau are "unfallen": free of the tendency to evil and sin that plagues humans. Ransom describes the emotional connection between the races as a cross between that of equals and that of person to an animal, mirrored in the way that humans tend to anthropomorphise pets. Members of the three races do not believe any one of the races to be superior to the others; they acknowledge, rather, that no single race can do everything.


  • Arbol — the Sun (Field of ArbolSolar System)
  • crah — final section of a poem
  • eldil, pl. eldila — being of light, similar to a spirit, angel
  • GlundandraJupiter
  • handra — earth's element, land, planet
  • harandra — high earth, plateau (Tai Harendrimar = "Hill of Life")
  • handramit — low earth, valley
  • hlab — language (Hressa Hlab = language of the hrossa, identical to Hlab-Eribol-ef-Cordi = Old Solar Language)
  • hluntheline — long for, yearn for, desire (for the future)
  • hnakra, pl. hnéraki — a vicious aquatic beast hunted by the hrossa. Its qualities could be those of a shark and a crocodile. Lewis may have borrowed the word from Germanic nicor, Old English niker(en), meaning "sea monster",[citation needed] or from the monster that is the object of Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark".[13][14]
  • hnakrapunt, pl. hnakrapunti — hnakra-slayer
  • hnau — rational creature
  • honodraskrud — ground-weed (honodra perhaps being an alteration of handra, + skrud "weed")
  • hressni — female hrossa
  • hross, pl. hrossa — one of three species of hnau on Malacandra (Hressa Hlab = language of the hrossa). It is notable that hross (cognate with the English word horse) is the word for horse in some Germanic languages (Modern Icelandic, Old Norse, Old Saxon and Frankish) descended from the Proto-Germanic hrussą. Whether Lewis used this etymology as a basis for his use of the word, or came up with it independently is not clear.
  • hru — blood (hence arbol hru, gold)
  • Malacandra — a compound noun, formed with the prefix Malac and the noun handra, which latter means earth, land, or planet, and referring to the fourth planet from the Sun; in English: Mars
  • Maleldil — the second person with "the Old One" and "the Third One." Rules Oyarsa.
  • Oyarsa, pl. Oyéresu — (Title) Ruler of a planet, a higher-order eldil
  • Perelandra — a compound noun, formed with the prefix Perel and the noun handra, which means earth, land, or planet, and referring to the second planet from the Sun; in English: Venus
  • pfifltrigg, pl. pfifltriggi — one of three species of hnau on Malacandra
  • sorn, pl. séroni — one of three species of hnau on Malacandra (Surnibur = language of the séroni)
  • Thulcandra — a compound noun, formed with the prefix Thulc, meaning "silent", and handra, meaning earth, land, or planet, referring to the third planet from the Sun in English: "Silent Planet" or Earth
  • wondelone — long for, yearn for, miss (from the past)

The hrossa's word for "to eat" contains consonants unreproducible by the human mouth. It is not clear how that word would be pronounced on Venus, where Ransom, in the sequel, finds humans speaking the same language as that spoken by the hrossa.

Weston's speech and its translation[edit]

The speech which Weston delivers at the book's climax (in Chapter 20), and Ransom's effort to render it into the Old Solar spoken by the Malacandrians, demonstrate the enormous gulf in cultural and moral perceptions, which renders Weston's value judgements utterly untranslatable and may be said to make them absurd; thus creating a sort of social criticism. The “translation” that we read is to be understood as a back-translation into English of what Ransom said in Old Solar.

Publication history[edit]

(Information has been gleaned from the Library of Congress, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, and WorldCat.)

Year Country Publisher ISBN (available occasionally) Binding Notes
1938 UK John Lane, The Bodley Head Hardcover 1st edition.
First published 1 April 1938. John Lane issued many reprints.
1943 UK The Macmillan Company Hardcover
1946 USA Macmillan
1948 Austria Amandus-Ed. Hardcover Title: Der verstummte Planet: Roman, trans. by Else von Juhàsz.
1949 USA Avon Paperback Avon Reprint Edition.
On cover: "Complete and unabridged."
On cover: "Reads like the best of Merritt and BurroughsD. A. Wollheim"
Colorful cover art, by Ann Cantor, shows Ransom in a boat with Hyoi and two séroni on the shore.[15]
1949 Spain José Janés Editor Title: Fuga a los Espacio ("Space Flight"), trans. by Manuel Bosch Barrett.
Series: Cosmic Trilogy #1.
1952 UK Pan Books Paperback First Pan paperback printing. Second Pan paperback printing appeared in 1955.
Cover art by George Woodman.[16]
1952 France Hachette Paperback Title: Le silence de la Terre ("The Silence of Earth"); trans. by Marguerite Faguer.
Series: Le Rayon Fantastique #12.
Colorful cover illustration, possibly by Christian Broutin, shows a man in middle distance, a boat on water to his right, twisting mountains in the background, a twisted tree to the left, and a green sky with wispy white clouds.
1955 Sweden FA-Press Title: Utflykt från tyst planet ("Flight Out of Silent Planet"); trans. by Karin Hartman and Erik Egberg.
Cover art by Cliff Nielsen shows a grenade-like spaceship, with a man preparing to exit from it, landing on a Mars that is more greenish than red.
1956 USA Avon Paperback Cover art by Everett Kinstler shows a rocket and Ransom, distraught, looking over his shoulder at an enormous eye in the sky, all against a red background.
1958 Germany Rowohlt Verlag Paperback Title: Jenseits des Schweigenden Sterns; trans. by Ernst Sander.
1st German ed.
Series: rororo Taschenbuch, Ausg. 289.
Cover illustration shows a green planet.
1960 USA Avon Paperback 3rd Avon printing.
Cover artist, uncredited, appears signed as Suss or Siess.
1960 UK Pan Books Paperback Great Pan "New Edition" 1960. The three previous printings in Pan were 1952, 1955 and 1956.[17]
On cover: "A strikingly original story of man's leap into space – and what he finds there."
Cover art, reminiscent of the work of Richard M. Powers, shows what might be two séroni, one with Ransom on his back; or possibly eldil.
1960 Netherlands Ten Have Paperback Title: Ver van de zwijgende planeet, trans. H. C. Weiland.[18]
1965 USA Macmillan Paperback 1st pbk. ed.
Issued for a juvenile audience. Publisher's summary: ... Dr. Ransom is kidnapped and spirited by spaceship to the mysterious red planet of Malandra [sic]. He escapes and goes on the run, jeopardizing both his chances of ever returning to Earth and his very life... Lewis modeled Dr. Ransom after his dear friend J.R.R. Tolkien...
1965 USA Macmillan ISBN 0-02-086880-4 Paperback 160 pp.
Cover art by Bernard Symancyk.[19]
1966 Oxford[20] Paperback
1966 UK Longmans Paperback. Introduction and notes by David Elloway.
Series: Heritage of literature series, Section B, no. 87.
1967 France OPTA Hardcover omnibus.[21] Trilogy title: Le silence de la Terre / Voyage à Vénus / Cette hideuse puissance. Translated by Marguerite Faguer and Frank Straschitz.
Numbered and limited printing of 4000+150 copies.
Cloth cover in magenta with illustration of spaceship (or meteor) in goldenrod color.
1971 UK The Bodley Head ISBN 0-370-00536-8
and ISBN 978-0-370-00536-2
Hardcover Stated Eleventh Impression.
1977 USA Macmillan ISBN 0-02-086880-4 ; and ISBN 978-0-02-086880-4 Paperback (Published as Space trilogy, according to WorldCat.)
1984[22] Portugal Publicações Europa-America Title: Para Além do Planeta Silencioso; trans. by Maria Luísa Gonçalves dos Santos.
Series: Livros de Bolso, série Ficção Científica #80
1984 USA Macmillan ISBN 0-025-70790-6 Hardcover
1988 USA Megaforce Worldwide/Atlantic Sound recording (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, stereo.)
1990 USA Macmillan ISBN 978-0-02-570795-5 Hardcover Publisher's description: A philologist is kidnapped and taken via space-ship from England to Malacandra where he escapes and goes on the run.
1996 Scribner Paperback Fiction ISBN 0-684-82380-2 and ISBN 978-0-684-82380-5 Paperback First Scribner Paperback Fiction edition.
Cover design by Kevin Mohlenkamp.
1996 USA Scribner Classics ISBN 0-684-83364-6 and 978-0-684-83364-4 Hardcover Cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft. Reprinted often.
1998 USA G.K. Hall & Company ISBN 0-7838-0411-3 and ISBN 978-0-7838-0411-8 Hardcover Published December, 1998. Large-print edition.
2000 UK Voyager / HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-628165-6 and 978-0-00-628165-8 Trade paperback Published June, 2000. Colorful cover art by Kinuko Craft shows Mars with pink foliage and teal river.
2002 Netherlands Kok ISBN 9789043504089 Paperback Title: Malacandra, subtitle: Ver van de zwijgende planeet. trans. by A.L. Smilde.
2003 USA Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-7432-3490-1 Paperback Issued 17 March 2003.
2005 Turkey Kabalcı Yayınevi ISBN 9789759970154 Paperback Published July 2005. Named "Sessiz Gezegenin Dışında"
2005 UK Voyager ISBN 0-00-715715-0 and 978-0-00-715715-0 Trade paperback Published December 2005.
Cover art by Cliff Nielsen same as 1955 edition above.
2008 France Éditions Gallimard ISBN 9782070346127 Title: Au-delà de la planète silencieuse, trans. by Maurice Le Péchoux. Cover illustration by Emmanuel Malin.
2010 Ukraine Видавництво Свічадо (Vydavnyctvo Svichado) ISBN 9789663953151 Hardcover Title: За межі мовчазної планети. Переландра (Za mezhi movchaznoyi planety. Perelandra), trans. by A. Maslyukh.
2012 USA HarperCollins ISBN 9780062197030 Electronic Book EPub Edition

Hrossa, séroni, and pfifltriggi adopted[edit]

The hrossa, séroni, and pfifltriggi are several of the races living on Mars in Larry Niven's 1999 novel Rainbow Mars; they are referred to as the "Pious Ones" by the Barsoomian races. The hrossa are called the "Fishers", the pfifltriggi the "Smiths", and the séroni the "High Folk". The pfifltriggi are one of the races who chose to ride to Earth on Yggdrasil.

The séroni appear at the beginning of the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as one of the Martian races allied against the "mollusc invaders" (the Martians from The War of the Worlds).

In Scarlet Traces: The Great Game, a hieroglyphics-filled chamber seems to show the hrossa, séroni, and pfifltriggi as the original races of Mars, that were wiped out by the arrival of the War of the Worlds Martians.

Insinuation of Factuality[edit]

In the Postscript, Lewis gives context to the story and its narration by quoting letters he, Lewis, has received from Ransom (or the person he represents). They discuss the progress made in writing this book and how different aspects of "Ransom's" adventure can be better represented. Ransom expresses frustration and dissatisfaction with this written version of his story because it can't possibly communicate the experience and awe he felt through his senses. These letters even go as far as discussing their, Ransom and Lewis's, decision to make the book fictional, as it is in reality, to better open the minds of their readers to the possibility of its truth.


  1. ^ ISFDB catalogues the "Cosmic Trilogy" series including omnibus editions of the three novels titled The Cosmic Trilogy (UK, 1990) and Space Trilogy (US, 1996).
    Cosmic Trilogy series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
    • The series is sometimes called (not titled) the Ransom trilogy after its main character, Elwin Ransom. (See Nicholls, Peter, "Lewis, C. S.," in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1995, p. 716.)
  2. ^ There is an interesting parallel with Dale Russell's speculation that a likely candidate for the evolution of intelligent life would have been a theropod dinosaur such as Troodon. Some theropods are believed to have been feathered.


  1. ^ isfdb
  2. ^ (first edition) publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  3. ^ Law, Casey R. (24 February 2000) [1998]. "A Voyage to Arcturus, C. S. Lewis, and The Dark Tower". Discovery Institute. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  4. ^ David C. Downing, C. S. Lewis Blog, "Out of the Silent Planet: Cosmic Voyage as Spiritual Pilgrimage Archived 2017-04-19 at the Wayback Machine", February 23, 2016
  5. ^ Lewis, p. 30 (Chap. 4).
  6. ^ Lewis, p. 29 (Chap. 4).
  7. ^ a b "Lewis, C(live) S(taples) 1898–1963 (N. W. Clerk, Clive Hamilton)". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. 132. Detroit: Gale. 2005. p. 250.
  8. ^ Lewis, p. 17 (Chap. 2).
  9. ^ Lewis, p. 32 (Chap. 5).
  10. ^ Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1995). "Lewis, C S". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Updated ed.). New York: St Martin's Griffin. p. 716. ISBN 0-312-09618-6.
  11. ^ McClenaghan, p. 870.
  12. ^ Gosling, John. "Book Review of Out of The Silent Planet". waroftheworld.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  13. ^ Cain, Stephen (2006). Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 143. ISBN 9780313021930. Retrieved 29 May 2015. hnakra (a predatory sea serpent, which suggests Lewis Carroll's "Snark")
  14. ^ Rockow, Karen (1971–1972). "The Hunting of the Hnakra". Orcrist (6, Special C. S. Lewis Issue): 23–24. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  15. ^ Von Ruff, Al. "Out of the Silent Planet". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  16. ^ Woodman, George. "[Out of the Silent Planet Cover Art of 1952 and 1956 editions]". Pan Books. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  17. ^ Von Ruff, Al. "Out of the Silent Planet (Pan, 1960)". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  18. ^ "LEWIS, C(live) S(taples)". De Boekenplank. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Archive for the C.S. Lewis Category". Alien Territory. Retrieved 1 January 2013. There are quibbles with accuracy – the landscape doesn't seem quite right, there were no spacesuits, I don't think the spacecraft was painted. But mostly, it's pretty sweet.
  20. ^ Von Ruff, Al. "Out of the Silent Planet". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  21. ^ Von Ruff, Al. "Le silence de la Terre / Voyage à Vénus / Cette hideuse puissance". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  22. ^ Von Ruff, Al. "Para Além do Planeta Silencioso". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Downing, David C, Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C. S. Lewis's Ransom Trilogy. University of Massachusetts Press, 1992. ISBN 0-87023-997-X

External links[edit]