I.P.B. Dogood's Reviews > That Hideous Strength

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-own, sci-fi, philosophy
Recommended for: Christian Sci-Fi lovers, academia
Read in May, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 2

This is really a 4.5 book, but there are two MAJOR problems (gasp, I know, C. S. Lewis actually having problems) with the plot that forces me to not give the full 5 stars.

First the good things. I think it deserves a place with the great dystopias (1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, Far. 451). The unique theme of this dystopia being the death of society by post-modernist ruling the academia. Great theological and philosophical questions ensue.

Plotwise, THERE'S Merlin! I won't reveal anything else.

Now for the bad stuff.

Bad point 1: The ending is one of the weakest I have ever read, and is Lewis' weakest. Implying romance is not a good way to end of novel, especially of this type. I wonder if Lewis felt rushed or thought he was going to expand this series (see the Dark Tower debate). This leads to the next major problem:

Bad point 2: I won't spoil what happens to N.I.C.E., but I wish there was another book showing the consequences of the climax. The climax doesn't seem "apocalyptic" enough. So the angels come back to earth, then what? Nothing, really except for implied romance. It almost seems that nothing really happened except for a change of politics (which is implied rather than shown.) I guess since these books were written near the end of Lewis' life, I have no reason to complain that he didn't write more.

Minor issues include not enough focus on Ransom (which is not annoyingly bad), a shift from fantastical sci-fi, to speculative (which may not be bad at all due to the nature of the plot), and others that I can't remember.

All in all, this book is still worth reading due to the philosophical and theological discussions and battles that go on during the plot between the forces of Ransom (and God) and N.I.C.E.(and Satan). Hopefully someone will make a spiritual squeal on par with Lewis' writing that show how all three books and worlds come together. Until then, ignore the ending and you will not be disappointed.

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