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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Guest: Clive Staples Lewis

C. S. Lewis, Lontano dal pianeta silenzioso [Out of the Silent Planet], accurately and pleasantly translated by Germana Cantoni De Rossi, Milan: Adelphi, 2011, pages 202, euros 11

That kind of book that only an English, and more precisely a British writer can tailor by mixing science fiction, fantasy, and Christian theology, the Destiny of Humankind and humor in a perfect balance. A very interesting work has been done on the literary sources, some of which are declared by the author, like obviously HG Wells, and Milton, Shakespeare (The Tempest), while others are left to the reader to dig out, from (almost surely) HP Lovecraft to (possibly) Baron Munchausen, as well as . . .  JRR Tolkien ante litteram.

The novel has been published in 1938, i.e. a lot before the Golden Age of Science Fiction, but it is strikingly 'mature,' and it has kept 'young' thanks to the sober, therefore ever-evocative scientific descriptions, and the multiple layers of meanings. The most important message is probably the passage from microcosm to macrocosm and back, where a guy called "Ransom" partly discovers and partly creates a link between Earth and the most positive energies of the universe. Just, not very credible is the prophecy according to which a sort of New Age was about to start: in fact, the next big event in human history would turn out to be WWII . . .  But maybe the true Messiah is the spaceship: with No Name, and it finally vanishes into thin air.


And The Message is: You are not alone. There will always be a hross, or a sorn, or a pfifltrigg, or an eldil, and upstream an oyarsa, and upstream Maleldil, who gives you something (resources, pieces of information, . . . ) letting you go ahead in your path and fulfill something. Too little? No, you need a whole cosmic vision to experience this.

With many thanks to 'loyal reader' Carl for suggesting the book.