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That Hideous Strength

(The Space Trilogy #3)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  28,601 ratings  ·  1,725 reviews
The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity.

The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic
Paperback, 534 pages
Published December 5th 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers (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)
David Van Acker you can read it independently. That's also explained in the preface. However, it might be interesting to read the first two books on beforehand.…moreyou can read it independently. That's also explained in the preface. However, it might be interesting to read the first two books on beforehand. However, be aware that this third book is vastly different in style and story compared to the first two books.(less)
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Douglas Wilson
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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. And yet again in Audible in September of 2016. And one more time on Audible in July of 2017.
Mandy Stigant
May 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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 ...more
May 28, 2009 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
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
Julie Davis
Good Story 206. Julie and Scott are appalled to find that N.I.C.E. bought the lot next door.

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
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, kindle
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
Mar 10, 2007 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 ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
When I first read That Hideous Strength, it was my least favorite of Lewis' Science Fiction trilogy. Now I believe it is my favorite.

Evil forces have gathered for a showdown on Earth. We have seen some of this in the first two books but now the "bent" Eldil and their minions are showing their hand in hopes of destroying Earth.

It is insightful to see how much the evil Eldil hate mankind, because, of course, they hate mankind's Maker.

They are a pragmatic sort, however, and tell whatever lies,
Kat  Hooper
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. Lewiss 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 dont need to have read them, but it may help to vaguely
May 1, 2019: Finished this last night. Listened to the first half and read the the second and I really needed to read it too, slowly, very slowly. I went back and reread passages over and over, thinking to myself, I should just quit and go back to Out of the Silent Planet or Perelandra. There is so much of both I do not remember. But then another voice in my head said, just go ahead and finish this and reread the whole trilogy from the beginning which is what I am going to do. Or listen to it, ...more
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.



(Still here)

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:
Aug 14, 2011 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 are ...more
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
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of
Easily the best of the Ransom Trilogy; a masterwork. Can also be read as a stand-alone novel. I recommend you preface it with The Abolition of Man.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this the way I've read almost all of C.S. Lewis' writing: first, by sheer determination even though it makes only a little sense to me; then re-reading a second time with appreciation. I almost always start his books, admire his ideas but realize I'm pretty puzzled by most of it, and then go back and re-read the book and realize how brilliant it really is.

Even though it is the last book in his trilogy, as a non-fantasy reader I think I should have started here. This is the least fantastic
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
Emilia P
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Carol Bakker
You have done what was required of you. You have obeyed and waited. It will often happen like that.

It took me a hundred pages to connect. And I don't love it like my friend who told me today she reads it once a year. I often debate myself (in the midst of reading a book). Is this a 4 star or 5 star book? I was convinced it was a 4 star book ... but after I finished it, I believe it deserves 5 stars.

That Hideous Strength made me think of a plenitude of other works: Jeeves and Wooster; Harry
Mike Fendrich
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is probably my 3rd or 4th time reading this book. If Lewis understood anything, he understood the arid desert of modernity and its absolutely crippling effect on what it means to be human (among many, many, many!! other things). The most fascinating theme of the book is the opening of Mark and Jane Studdock's eyes to a life beyond abstraction and "complete objectivity", (reason alone). Can't recommend it highly enough.
Jake McAtee
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best of the series. I'd love for the rest of my life to be about building a St. Annes to fight N.I.C.E.'s
Melissa Travis
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful conclusion to the trilogy, but Perelandra is still my favorite.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A work without which I think it must be very hard to understand either ourselves or our times.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
Im speechless and hardly know where to start. This is Lewis at his absolute best. That Hideous Strength has everything: good vs evil, woman vs man, beauty vs utilitarianism, body vs mind. The nods to mythology, OT events, Middle Earth, and Narnia were delightful and powerful in conveying emotion. Now I need to read the rest of this trilogy. ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This last installment in Lewiss Space Trilogy was undoubtedly a slow burn. It felt almost as though there would never be any sort of real action or plot points that tied into the two preceding books, and would instead discuss college politics and the dangers of large corporations for the entirety of the book. Thankfully this wasnt the case, and the vast amounts of information we were given on the inner machinations of any large collective of people proved to be absolutely necessary to the finale ...more
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I started this book with a certain amount of trepidation. I'd liked the first book in this series a lot, but while I had been enchanted with the descriptions of Venus/Perelandra, I was frustrated by the outcome of the second book as a whole. Which way was this going to go? Well, somewhere in the middle. In general, the book was entertaining to read, with occasional passages that made me stop and take a deep breath. It's one of those things where some of the things he says sound fantastic, and ...more
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
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I apparently rated this 3 stars as a 17 year old college freshman; the only reasons I can come up with were that 1. I wanted to rebel by NOT rating a CS Lewis book 5 stars and 2. I just really didnt get it. Im blown away by the fact that this was published in 1945. 73 years later and it is still completely and totally relevant to our culture.

And thus... thus shall I always do, whenever You leave me to myself.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-bcs
Definitely my favorite of the three.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis 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

Other books in the series

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

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