I recently reread C. S. Lewis’ space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Not that long ago, IO9 asked why they are not compared with Dune. The truth is that, while both series feature religion prominently, Lewis’ writing seems that little bit too heavy-handed in its Christian religiosity – even though it also features Greek gods and Merlin. But perhaps that is just me being overly sensitive, as I think of Lewis as someone who writes about theology, and does so in a manner that is at times more conservative than I am comfortable with. So is my impression of his science fiction just because of my own background? Do his stories strike other readers with other backgrounds in the same way? I also found Lewis’ trilogy to be rather sexist in places.
But having said that, the story that spans Lewis’ trilogy is engaging nevertheless, and even theologically interesting.
Which do you like better, Lewis’ series or Herbert’s? Why? What do you think of the treatment of religion in each?
David Miller quoted the series recently on his blog, and Ken Schenck also made an allusion. And of related interest, Danut Manastireanu shared a link to a Romanian journal which had an issue dedicated to C. S. Lewis.
Lewis draws heavily on the Classical Greek and Roman tradition, and not just Christianity. And there is, of course, more generally a major overlap between the area that I work on, religion in science fiction, and the study of Classics and sci-fi. And so I was delighted to learn of the new book Classical Traditions in Science Fiction. Liz Gloyn mentioned it in a piece she wrote for Strange Horizons.