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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Out of the Silent Planet — Thursday March 8th

We'll be meeting on March 8th at 7:30 p.m. at the Harrisonburg Barnes and Noble.  In the meantime you might enjoy listening to a pod-cast about "Out of the Silent Planet" which you can find HERE  It is 34 minutes long and does a nice job of summarizing the book which might be good as a refresher before you come to the meeting.  I'll be posting the discussion questions here soon as well.

Discussion Questions for Out of the Silent Planet March 8th 2012


C. S. Lewis was a science fiction fan.  He was born in 1898 so much of the science fiction he was familiar with had a good deal of fantasy in it.  He cut his teeth on H.G. Well’s science fiction and on the popular pulp magazines that carried science fiction but these only came along after he was out of college.  C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien became fast friends at Oxford after Lewis obtains a fellowship in 1925.  They met regularly in Lewis’s rooms together with other friends and this informal group came to be known as the Inklings.  “Tolkien and Lewis shared the belief that through myth and legend—for centuries the mode many cultures had used to communicate their deepest truths—a taste of the Christian gospel's "True Myth" could be smuggled past the barriers and biases of secularized readers.”[1]  They decided that they would have to write the kind of stories they would like to read and made an agreement that Jack would write a space travel story and Tollers, as Tolkien was called, would write a time-travel story.  Out of the Silent Planet and later Perelandra and That Hideous Strength were the result.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the combination of motivations on the part of Devine, Weston, and Ransom that get the story going?

2. What are the surprises that Ransom encounters on the voyage to Malacandra?

3. How is Ransom’s fear developed by Lewis on the voyage?

4. How would you express the philosophies of Devine and Weston?

5. The reader only gradually appreciates the scenery and characteristics of Malacandra.  Describe how the unfolding character of the descriptions affected you.

6. Describe how Thulcandra came to be known as the silent planet.  How does this account fit into Lewis’s mythology and align with other accounts of “bent-ness”?

7. Discuss the three hnau of Malacandra, the sorn that live in caves on the harandra and the hross that live on the handramit and the pfifltriggi who live in the lowlands, the old ocean beds of the planet.  Can you speculate about Lewis’s sources for some of these ideas?

8. How did the eldila and the Oyarsa impact the story?  What did you think of Weston’s reaction to the Oyarsa?

9. How would you describe Ransom’s development as a person throughout the story?


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