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That Hideous Strength: (Space Trilogy #3)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,542 Ratings  ·  1,116 Reviews
Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis's timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults, we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths.

That Hideous Strength i
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by HarperOne (first published December 1945)
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Lucia I think THS is a different kind of book. Personally, I find it *brilliantly* "cohesive," and, for me at least, more readable by far than Perelandra.…moreI think THS is a different kind of book. Personally, I find it *brilliantly* "cohesive," and, for me at least, more readable by far than Perelandra. So, I myself have not yet managed to slog through Perelandra, was not very impressed by Out of the Silent Planet, and would rate the third book in the Space Trilogy the highest of all. So yes, I am surprised...if THS does not have the highest ratings...

Note: I read The Abolition of Man first, which is basically That Hideous Strength as discursive philosophical argument, and I think that definitely helped me digest THS. (less)
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FIRST: A complaint from a member of my reading group who read the book ONLY because of the very cool bear on the cover: Photobucket

In defense of Mr. Angry Bear, I must agree that while the giant, kick-ass bear on the cover may not be exactly false advertising, it is certainly in the category of misleading...similar to beer commercials telling you "drink this beer and hot people will be all over you” when the reality is closer to “drink enough of our beer and you will think the people all over you are real
Mandy Stigant
I finished it while 30,000 feet in the air. It was a night-time flight, and after I finished the last page i set it down, turned to look out the window and while my mind wandered and mulled on what i had just experienced with the book, I saw that we were skirting to the side of a storm. The lightning was bouncing from cloud to cloud and it wasn't unlike my thoughts and the way my heart felt; I was elated, and I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be when I finished that book -- short of outsid ...more
Douglas Wilson
Aug 31, 2015 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Stupendous. Just great, and also read in January of 1990. Also read in May of 2009. Also read in June of 1985. Also read in July of 1980. Finished it again on an Audible version in August of 2015.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I have a love/hate relationship with C.S. Lewis. There's a lot I admire in his writing but enough I deplore in his worldview that even though I keep being drawn to his works, I can't call him a favorite. I mostly loved The Screwtape Letters and Narnia, which I read as an adult, adored Till We Have Faces (my favorite Lewis work), was moved by his book A Grief Observed and found Mere Christianity and the first two books in the Space Trilogy interesting. There was only one book by him until this on ...more
Fr.Bill M
This is Lewis' best treatment of sex, and probably the best treatment of sex by anyone, cast in the form of a novel. It is sooooooooo retro on the modern scene that it will either shock or outrage most folks who read it for the first time in the modern context.

It is also some of the funniest stuff i've ever read in my life. Only a few paragraphs into a scene near the end of the book, which draws on the goings on at Babel, when the languages were confused -- well, it set off a laughing fit that l
Aug 12, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I read this book and was disappointed with it, as probably many readers are, because I expected the third part of the Space Trilogy to be more...well...spacey. However, having now reread it separately, without any connection to the previous two books, I have to say that I have a much higher opinion of it now than I did then. I read the book with 1984 on my mind, and it is the relationship between the two books that is compelling.

The most disorienting thing about the book is the lack of
Sep 24, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read "That Hideous Strength" several times, and it always has been my favorite of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy. But this time through, it captivated me in a way that it never has before. Only C.S. Lewis, with his combination of brilliance, scholarly knowledge, writing ability, wit and Christian world view, could have written this book.
It is Lewis' most satirical book, even more so than "Screwtape Letters." It is probably his most sophisticated fiction work with the exception of "Till We Have F
Kat  Hooper
Oct 29, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit. Come visit us!

"Nature is the ladder we have climbed up by. Now we kick her away."

That Hideous Strength is the final volume of C.S. Lewis’s SPACE TRILOGY. This story, which could be categorized as science fiction, dystopian fiction, Arthurian legend, and Christian allegory, is different enough from the previous books, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, that you don’t need to have read them, but it may help to vaguely famil
Mar 10, 2007 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote my college essay on this book as it had the most profound influeI wrote my college essay on this book as it had the most profound influence on me in my teenage years. But that's not to say that it's a book aimed at young people. C.S. Lewis is known as a Christian writer and it's true that there are elements of Christianity in this book, as well as some very conservative ideas about women, I might add! But that's not what the book is really about. The hideous strength that Lewis writes ab ...more
Julie Davis
Sep 05, 2014 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with the other two books in C.S. Lewis's "space trilogy" I found this one difficult to get into and, yet, once I got past the indefinable point where it was no longer a struggle, I couldn't read it fast enough. Consequently this was a 24-hour book for me. It is a testament to Lewis's imagination and writing skill as to how different all three of the books are in this trilogy, while simultaneously all carrying out the same basic theme. No wonder J.R.R. Tolkien loved them.

Speaking of Tolkien, I
Emilia P
Aug 09, 2007 Emilia P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody and their mom
Shelves: real-books, churrrch
That Hideous Strength is the final book in the C.S. Lewis's Ransom trilogy. The first two books find Ransom on Mars and then Venus, exploring their flora and fauna,meeting their inhabitants and speaking with their eldils, which are somewhere between the planets spiritual essence and its guardian angel..while we discover how (the Christian) God works on other planets.

This third book finds Ransom back on earth, preparing for an interplanetary response to the threat of apocalypse, which is about to
Jacob Aitken
Easily Lewis's best work. This should be on the front shelves at every Christian book store. Lewis frighteningly predicted the rise of the scientific, planning state. For those who laugh at "conspiracies" of the New World Order, read this book and tell me I am wrong. Try it.

But unlike other books on the New World Order, Lewis advocates (or at least Dr Ransom does), fighting back. And not just fighting back with abstract ideas, but also with revolvers.

Lots of memorable moments: Ransom explains m
Brandy Painter
Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! How many times can I use that word or one of its synonyms in describing anything written by C.S. Lewis? Not enough. This book, the third in the Space Trilogy, is the best of the three.

That Hideous Strength deals with a Britain on the verge of dystopia. An organization known as the N.I.C.E. is moving to take over the nation and its strength will usher in the hideousness referred to in the title. Like in most dystopian novels there is a small group of individuals w
Jacob Aitken
This is easily human literature's finest hour. CS Lewis, in what is easily his masterpiece, gets in one's face about the reality of the New World Order and of the possibilities of real, effective Christian resistance to it.

But the true evil is not democracy. It is diabolical, to be sure, and monarchy is definitely to be preferred, but the true battle takes place on "the unseen world."

Lewis puts "spiritual warfare" in a rather direct, most uncomfortable light. Christians piously prat about spir
Dec 12, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The reader who comes to “That Hideous Strength” for the first time after reading “Out of the Silent Planet” and “Perelandra” could be excused for wondering how it fits in with the rest of the Space Trilogy. It bears little resemblance to its companion volumes. There is no journey through space, no exploration of strange, beautiful worlds, and no alien races. Dr. Ransom, far from being the central character, is absent from the first third of the book, Lewis makes no appearance at all, and nowhere ...more
John Everett
First, a reminiscence. I continue to be surprised by my mother, though she died three years ago. She gave at least one volume of this trilogy to me when I was a young adolescent and finally gave the third to me some 40 years later, at Christmas 2000. I imagine she understood that, insofar as they're allegorical, Lewis's Narnia books derive from a formerly great literary tradition, but she knew as well that they were meant for children; she had no interest in them herself (that I can recall) and ...more
Joel Arnold
The last of the Lewis' Space Trilogy was the most interesting to me. The plot tension held me throughout most of the book while the events and development were extremely shocking. Unfortunately, I got too involved to take any decent notes while I was reading. Looking back, I felt like it was worth it to read the other two books, just for the sake of getting to this one. Excellent read.
Sep 19, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down my favorite of his space trilogy books. I absolutely love who Ransom has become as a character and I love that it is set on earth. And shows the real struggle that man has.

I think that this is incredibly creative. I think that the effort to connect this with Arthurian Legend was brilliant, a stroke of genius.

There are parts that are downright unnerving and freaky. What a wonderful commentary on what sin is in its most obvious state.

The imagery of Sodom and Gomorrah crashing into No
Ken Garrett
Jun 06, 2014 Ken Garrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Lewis books. For some reason, I've read the Space Trilogy three times, and have never been able to make it through the Narnia Chronicles.... must have been the talking beavers, and Santa Claus showing up in the movie...
Anyway, I esp. enjoy That Hideous Strength for its exploration of the appeal and deception of the "inner ring," of leadership/popular individuals, etc., and the insatiable desire that most people have for getting into it, in any given social construct. S
Mar 10, 2014 ladydusk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this on Kindle.

I really enjoyed this book. There was so much that Lewis had to say and show.

The evil was really evil, and the layers were peeled back slowly, slowly to the final climax. The evil is so evil it doesn't seem possible to defeat.

The good was really good. Waiting, abiding, sojourning, trusting God. That's generally a good plan.

I love, love, love that Lewis solves SciFi problems grounded in history. In Out of the Silent Planet he used Classical Astronomy. Here we see historical
Jun 17, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
That Hideous Strength is an amazing book. Although I read it as a young person, I did not have the wisdom to understand or appreciate what Lewis was saying. His depiction of those who make Science their god and what that worship will mean for our future was horrifying.

There are several archetypes presented: the man who cares for nothing but power, and is willing to do anything to have it; the scientist who is so consumed with knowledge that he loses sight of ethics; the intellectual who sees Ma
Jul 24, 2013 Abrahamus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This is a very relevant book for our times. It's also C.S. Lewis. Those two factors alone make it a more-or-less mandatory read – and one that is virtually guaranteed to be above average, at least. I do have to say, however, that I did not find it nearly so enjoyable to read as Lewis' very best fiction (which would be Perelandra and Till We Have Faces, in my opinion).

While I embrace with satisfaction the overall trajectory of the narrative – cold, calculating rationalistic-materialism on the one
Oct 06, 2013 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of a handful of books I have read at least half a dozen times. It deserves to be placed in the canonical top ten list of science fiction classics. Yes, it has all the tropes of the Golden Age scifi novel: the white, college educated male protagonist, the political satire, the cartoonish evil villains, and the warning about the evils of scientism (i.e., science for the sake of science, unencumbered by moral judgment). And yet, it's better than most everything else you will read in the ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, owned-ebook
I read this book as a part of my quest to read all the books on NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy book list. You can follow my journey on my blog:

Let me start out by saying, I think The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis is misnamed. It’s really The Space Duology plus That Hideous Strength. The final book in the series is very different from the other two books, and the only real commonalities are the continued presence of Dr Ransom (even though he’s not the m
Mar 21, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a review for the entire Space Trilogy:

I guess these books fall into the “Science Fiction” category, since they involve interplanetary travel. But it’s a misnomer to call it the Space Trilogy - the books are based on the idea that Space - what we think of as a cold vacuum - is a rich, vibrant, more-than-real world filled with life. And that’s just the start - there are so many other interesting concepts about the universe (spiritual and physical), explored in the series.

In the first two b
Aug 16, 2007 Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last book of C.S. Lewis' Space or Cosmic Trilogy, it is also markedly different in style and theme from the previous two, and the main character from the previous two books, Ransom, doesn't even show up until a few chapters into the book. Though interplanetary forces are involved, all the action takes place on Earth. As well, the story is written as "a modern fairytale for grownups."

Indeed, on the surface we get a simple, almost mundane, tale of a young couple and the choices each person ma
Mike (the Paladin)
First edition I ever read of this wonderful book.

The finial book in the (C.S.Lewis Space) trilogy oddly applicable for today. (Those in the UK might find the "name" of the evil group interesting as the book was written many years before the National Health system was set up.)

This book is in some ways more "traditionally" a modern fantasy novel touching on figures from myth and folklore and bringing in national legend. It tells a good allegorical tale with a couple of good subplots and and satisf
Apr 16, 2016 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lewis gives us a taste of the end of times in That Hideous Strength. In this book, the devil enslaves a select group of people and welds them into a organization called "N.I.C.E." and Doctor Ransom's adventures reach their climax when he finds the wizard Merlin. This book, in my opinion, is the best of the three books in the series.
Finally I am done with the Space Trilogy. The third book was better than the first two, but not by much. At least I gave this one some stars.

To use a television term, there was way too much jumping the shark in this book.

If you are a Lewis completist read the trilogy. If not Caveat Emptor.
Jul 24, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book from the first time I read it - perhaps because it's less about the wonders of space, and more about the Earth. Love the slow breakdown of Jane's feminism in the face of real masculinity, love the breakdown that leads to the rebuilding of Mark's character, and the friendly squabbling of the Logres group. I always wonder how many scenes of campus politics led Lewis to so amazingly describe the confusion that helps vile groups like N.I.C.E. exist, claiming to help mankind as they s ...more
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The Ending... 17 192 Jan 04, 2015 01:02PM  
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CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than th ...more
More about C.S. Lewis...

Other Books in the Series

Space Trilogy (3 books)
  • Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)
  • Perelandra (Space Trilogy, #2)

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“There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one.” 142 likes
“Don't you like a rather foggy a in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."
Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.
"That's why Camilla and I got married, "said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."
"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane. "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."
"It's the other way round," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."
"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.
"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla. "Any child loves rain if it's allowed to go out and paddle about in it.”
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