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Where to start with CS Lewis?

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Heh.  I always assumed it was some type of wordplay related to ink.

 

Ditto. I've always taken "Inklings" to connote at once a) ideas, b.) writing and perhaps c) humility ("Ink-lings" can be read as a diminutive, i.e., "little inkers").

 

(Many, many years ago, in a letter to my then-pen-pal and mentor in faith and reason Peter Kreeft, I ventured to compare him and his friend Thomas Howard to two of the Inklings (I'm very sure that I compared Kreeft to Lewis, but I'm not sure who I compared Howard to; possibly Charles Williams). Kreeft's reply: "We're just minor Inkspots.")


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I find those two quotes above rather exciting.  They add a deeper dimension to the group's name that hadn't even occurred to me before.

 

But so far I can find nothing with any of them writing anywhere on why they chose that name.

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My favorite YouTube video game channel is Satchbag's Goods. While most reviewers are geared toward humor and novelty, Satch looks at games in a deeper, more reflective way. One of his recent videos compared Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons to C. S. Lewis.

 


It's the side effects that save us.
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Here's a question maybe someone here can answer.  Why are Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, Barfield and company called "the Inklings"?  Or, more precisely, why did they choose "inklings" for their name?

 

They didn't choose it. Edward Tangye Lean founded the group, and he chose it. Though why he chose it, I don't know. :)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tangye_Lean

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Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry offers some thoughts on the Space Trilogy.

 

The overall impression is that Lewis’s heart was never into science-fiction. He decided to get into it for some reason–maybe he perceived the same lack as I did, maybe he wanted a challenge, maybe he lost a bet–and poured all his ideas and energy into the first book (and it is a testament to his talent that it worked so well) and found out that he was completely out of steam by the end, unable to write another page of science-fiction. But, being British, he kept calm and carried on, and wrote an allegory for book #2 and a fantasy tale for book #3.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that these are good books, even occasionally books with greatness, but that apart from Out of the Silent Planet they do little to alleviate our sad lack of good Christian SF.

 

It's been ages since I read the series, but my memory charts closely with this review. I think Perelandra is perhaps better than the author lets on, but there you have it. (I also think That Hideous Strength was, to my recollection, the best of the three--but it's definitely a weird way to end the series begun by Out of the Silent Planet).

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Perelandra is the only book in the trilogy that I've read more than once. (I even wrote a paper on it for a course about... interpretations of Adam and Eve, maybe?) I had a *really* hard time getting through That Hideous Strength.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The overall impression is that Lewis’s heart was never into science-fiction.

 

The question here should be what science fiction is. I think Lewis persisted in calling Perelandra science fiction even as it abandoned technological devices for supernatural ones. Lewis deeply loved (some varieties of) science fiction and gave it some serious thought, but his tastes in it were atypical, and he was always more into the spiritual side of the genre than the technical. (I'd guess he would have liked Madeline L'Engle but not Michael Crichton.) That Hideous Strength, however, he described as a fairy tale.

 

Another fun fact: Lewis considered Perelandra one of the best of his fiction works. I strongly agree with him on that, which I think puts me in a small minority among his fans, but I can't help it. The impossibly beautiful language and vivid imagination of his description of the planet, the profound spiritual insight, the brutally acute psychological drama, and the liturgical grandeur of the final chapter all leave me in awe.

 

He decided to get into it for some reason–maybe he perceived the same lack as I did, maybe he wanted a challenge, maybe he lost a bet–and poured all his ideas and energy into the first book (and it is a testament to his talent that it worked so well) and found out that he was completely out of steam by the end, unable to write another page of science-fiction. But, being British, he kept calm and carried on, and wrote an allegory for book #2 and a fantasy tale for book #3.

 

The impetus for the trilogy, as I recall, was an agreement made with J.R.R. Tolkien that Lewis would write a trilogy on space travel and Tolkien one on time travel. Tolkien didn't hold up his end of the bargain, but some ideas from the story he didn't finish - which would have been about Atlantis - ended up in the Numenor of his Middle-Earth mythology.

 

And this allegory business again, urgh. Perelandra is even less of an allegory than the Narnia books.

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Rushmore wrote:
: . . . he was always more into the spiritual side of the genre than the technical. (I'd guess he would have liked Madeline L'Engle but not Michael Crichton.)

 

He was fond of Arthur C. Clarke, was he not? Clarke certainly knew his science, but there's a much more mystical bent to some of his works than you find in, say, Isaac Asimov.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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He was fond of Arthur C. Clarke, was he not? Clarke certainly knew his science, but there's a much more mystical bent to some of his works than you find in, say, Isaac Asimov.

 

It seems so (the first link I found from a quick web search), though they disagreed on the value of space exploration, probably among many other things. Interesting. I would love to see Lewis's reaction to 2001: A Space Odyssey, either the book - which I don't know if he read - or the movie. He saw very few movies and didn't like them in general, but I wonder if he might have found this one paradoxically congenial.

 

(Wait a minute, of course he didn't read the book, it was written after his death. Oh well, what's five years more or less?)

Edited by Rushmore

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Another fun fact: Lewis considered Perelandra one of the best of his fiction works. I strongly agree with him on that, which I think puts me in a small minority among his fans, but I can't help it. The impossibly beautiful language and vivid imagination of his description of the planet, the profound spiritual insight, the brutally acute psychological drama, and the liturgical grandeur of the final chapter all leave me in awe.

I am in 100% agreement with you on that.

 

While I've never made a list of my favorite books they way I have with my favorite movies, if I did, I'm sure Perelandra would be in the top ten.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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I had a *really* hard time getting through That Hideous Strength.

 

Oh? It's my favorite of the trilogy.

 

What Ryan said. That Hideous Strength is exactly as long as the first two books put together, and twice as rich, complex and interesting as either. It's harder to get into, admittedly, but once you're hooked, you're hooked. For a long time in my youth it was my favorite novel of all time. 

But the Space Trilogy isn't where I would begin with Lewis. Good starting places include The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm (or Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer), various collections of essays (including God in the Dock and The Weight of Glory) and of course Narnia. 


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Rushmore wrote:
: Wait a minute, of course he didn't read the book, it was written after his death.

 

But it (or, rather, the movie produced in conjunction with it) *was* based on Clarke's short story 'The Sentinel', which was published in 1951, and it has some similarities to Childhood's End, which was published in 1953, so it's possible Lewis was familiar with *those* stories.

 

Ryan H. wrote:
: Oh? It's my favorite of the trilogy.

 

I read all three books in high school (and shortly after reading them, I read an editorial by J.I. Packer in Christianity Today in which he called That Hideous Strength "hideously long", which stuck with me). Maybe I would have a different response if I returned to them now.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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