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Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis’ timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths.
Perelandra, the second novel in Lewis’ science fiction trilogy, tells of Dr. Ransom’s voyage to the paradise planet of Perelandra, or Venus, which turns out to be a beautiful Eden–like world. He is horrified to find that his old enemy, Dr. Weston, has also arrived and is putting him in grave peril once more. As the mad Weston’s body is taken over by the forces of evil, Ransom engages in a desperate struggle to save the innocence of Perelandra!
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“‘It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom,’ said the Voice.” (Page 125)
“Each thing was made for Him. He is the center. Because we are with Him, each of us is at the center. It is not as in a city of the Darkened World where they say that each must live for all. In His city all things are made for each. When He died in the Wounded World He died not for me, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, he would have done no less. Each thing, from the single grain of Dust to the strongest eldil, is the end and the final cause of all creation and the mirror in which the beam of His brightness comes to rest and so returns to Him. Blessed be He!” (Pages 185–186)
“Almost he felt that the words ‘would have happened’ were meaningless—mere invitations to wander in what the Lady would have called an ‘alongside world’ which had no reality. Only the actual was real: and every actual situation was new. Here in Perelandra the temptation would be stopped by Ransom, or it would not be stopped at all. The Voice—for it was almost with a Voice that he was now contending—seemed to create around this alternative an infinite vacancy. This chapter, this page, this very sentence, in the cosmic story was utterly and eternally itself; no other passage that had occurred or ever would occur could be substituted for it.” (Page 124)
“‘I think He made one law of that kind in order that there might be obedience. In all these other matters what you call obeying Him is but doing what seems good in your own eyes also. Is love content with that? You do them, indeed, because they are His will, but not only because they are His will. Where can you taste the joy of obeying unless He bids you do something for which His bidding is the only reason?” (Page 101)
Writing of the highest order. Perelandra is, from all standpoints, far superior to other tales of interplanetary adventures.
Mr. Lewis has a genius for making his fantasies livable.
—The New York Times