1/20/2020

‘Out of the Silent Planet’ and a New Era of Science Fiction

"This is Malacandra—the term used by its natives in identifying their world. In this Lewisian fantasy, Malacandra’s geographical realms vary almost as greatly as those on Earth. There are woods, fields, lakes, mountains, and plateaus: a much brighter picture than the factual Mars. His roseate cliffs and purple forests offer the reader a much more romanticized rendition of the Red Planet. Furthermore, Lewis’s story upends the traditional Wellsian association with Mars, the old-school mindset that sees its inhabitants as little “bringers of war” just as lustful for blood as the Roman god had been. The several races dwelling on Malacandra are mostly removed from hostile tendencies, and it is only the diminutive minds of men that harbor fear and a nature toward violence.

Lewis turns man into the alien, the invader, the enemy of peace. In a poetic twist, humanity’s leap to an unsubstantiated conclusion turns into a crime against the universe. The ruler of Malacandra rebukes Ransom for his perpetual fear and his kidnappers for their wanton dealing of death to Malacandrians. Through Ransom, the reader’s focus is directed inward as an examination of our own morality and an inquiry into our darkest fears."