C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis was born on November 29, 1898. He was a fantastic writer and an amazing Christian apologist. He loved fairy tales and myths and wrote several  science-fiction and fantasy books, the most well-known being the Chronicles of Narnia series. My favorite books by him though are Till We Have Faces and what is commonly called the Space Trilogy.

Till We Have Faces is a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth.  In the myth, Cupid falls in love with Psyche and marries her. Psyche’s jealous sisters convince Psyche that Cupid is really a monster and when she attempts to prove them wrong she is forced to perform a series of tasks in order to see Cupid again. Lewis’ version is more of a fleshed out story rather than a retelling except told from the point of view of Orual, one of Psyche’s ugly sisters. It’s a beautiful story of love, redemption, and sacrifice. Psyche is not the main character here, but rather Orual, who is selfish and ugly. Lewis’ Christian faith transforms this old Greek/Roman myth into a wonderful allegory.

Lewis also wrote a trilogy of science fiction books. Usually referred to as the Space Trilogy, the three books in the series are Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. That is the order the story goes but they can really be read in any order. I started with Perelandra, then years later got around to reading That Hideous Strength and finally finished sometime after that with Out of the Silent Planet. The books follows a philologist named Ransom (Lewis loved his allegories). Ransom quite accidentally travels into space, first to Mars, then to Venus, and then the final book deals with events on Earth. All of them are really interesting books and Lewis fills the books alternately with a wild joy and a portrayal of evil as it really is: stupid and destructive simply for the point of destroying. His evil characters are truly frightening.

Being the strong Christian that he was, Lewis poured that faith into his work and with the help of others like J.R.R Tolkien and George MacDonald, solidified the Christian Fantasy genre.


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