intraspace: the review lounge

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

that hideous strength

that hideous strength, by c.s. lewis

this is the last book in lewis's space trilogy - although this one never goes into space. the interstellar supernatural spiritual battle between good and evil visits earth itself. dr ransom again features as the hero, although not so much the main character this time.

in this book, lewis focuses on jane and mark studdock - a somewhat unhappily married newlywed couple who find themselves on opposite sides of the great universal struggle. an organisation known as N.I.C.E start taking over small-town england and hope to resurrect merlin (ie the arthurian wizard) from the dead. in the event, merlin does come back, turning this book into a giant mishmash of theology, legend, sci-fi and philosophy. not to mention a little romance thrown in for good measure. the book ends with creatures getting it on all over the place (slight queezy feeling here - but not as bad as seeing hobbits reunited and jumping around on a bed in slow-motion). to find out exactly how lewis manages to get the story to that point you'll have to read it for yourself.

there is some brilliant writing in this book - lewis at his best. he can never resist having his characters indulge in long philosophical discourses but we just have to live with that. lewis is surprisingly free in his discussions of sexuality and allows his characters to be quite gritty. there are some great moments of visual imagery and also some quite brutal scenes. i definitely recommend the entire trilogy.

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