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The Dark Tower and Other Stories

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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,856 ratings  ·  182 reviews
“‘Of course,’ said Orfieu, ‘the sort of time-travelling you read about in books—time-travelling in the body—is absolutely impossible.’”

So begins The Dark Tower, a captivating novella that continues the adventures of Dr. Elwin Ransom after the events of Out of the Silent Planet, the first novel is Lewis’s Space Trilogy. In Orfieu’s office at Cambridge University, five men g
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Paperback, 168 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published February 1977)
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J.Aleksandr Wootton
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Where was he going with The Dark Tower?? It's maddening! Ah, it started so well.

Not all tales in this short story sci-fi collection are equally as good, but most are interesting and the title work alone, unfinished though it be, makes the book worth purchasing.

Update: here is a photo of The Dark Tower itself - or, rather, the tower of Cambridge University Library, of which the Dark Tower was an exact replica being built in Othertime:

(click for higher resolution)
Caitlin
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Previously unaware of its existence, I was excited to stumble upon this at the library.
The Dark Tower I found intriguing, and wished that Lewis had developed and completed it.
The Man Born Blind, reminiscent of Poe. (that threw me for a loop.)
After Ten Years, a myth retold, also made me wish it had been completed. Reading the opening, and gradually realizing where you are and what's going on was exciting.

Basically, every story was pretty interesting in its own right, if not polished. But of cour
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Sarah
Excellent book for what it is: a collection of unpublished stories, some finished and some not, by C.S. Lewis. It's quite an interesting read as you discover what could have been, and Lewis had some pretty unusual concepts in here. That said, it's also a little frustrating because you get involved in a story and then it's like— oh, nope. Not finished.

That said, the story about the people who keep disappearing on the moon? Loved it. LOVED the twist at the end. I'd reread this in a couple years ju
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Shannon
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. So sad that The Dark Tower was never finished. But what an interesting look into Lewis' mind and creative process.
David
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
If it had read ‘The Dark Tower by H.P. Lovecraft’ I wouldn’t have doubted it for a second. I really enjoyed The Dark Tower’s strangeness and ‘othertime,’ and wish it would have been longer. The other stories were unremarkable.
Alyssa Tabor
I wish there was a way to mark a book as unfinished. I read a couple of short stories and started into the dark tower, but, my word, I think it is no bad thing that these remain in their current state of obscurity. How twisted and macabre they are! I think poor Lewis overthought about overthinking sometimes. He rather just thought too much, which is why I am such a fan of many of his works, but golly. These are not my cup of tea.
Ryan Hawkins
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As explained in the preface, this book is the definitive collection of Lewis’ other fiction books. Combine this with Til We Have Faces, the Narnia books, and the Space Trilogy, and one has all of Lewis’ fiction.

This book itself consisted of two uncompleted longer works (‘The Dark Tower’, ‘After Ten Years’) and then four short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them—some more than others, but all were great.

My favorite was definitely ‘The Dark Tower.’ At around 115 pages, one really beg
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Talbot Hook
A solid day's worth of leisurely reading, with enough variance to keep the attention. Two of the works were uncompleted, given the burning of manuscripts by Lewis's perhaps fire-happy brother.

The Dark Tower - Lovely concept and imagery; I wish it would have been edited, reviewed, and completed.

The Man Born Blind - The most abrupt and odd ending to a short story I've yet encountered. "How can I end this odd story about a blind man trying to find light? I'll have him stroll about, meet a crazed pa
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Cindy Rollins
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Audible was selling this for a couple of dollars one day and I could not pass it up. Once again it does not matter at all what C.S. Lewis is saying, he says it so well. These are mostly quirky science fiction stories, some not even completed.
I wonder why no one has tried to finish The Dark Tower, it hangs at the end waiting for completion. Surely there is someone with enough bravado to attempt it.

The story of an ugly Helen after Troy was truly fascinating and I like the commentators idea that
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Ron
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not well done, but Lewis abandoned it. It's an interesting look at a story idea that apparently Lewis decided wasn't worth his time.

Some of the accompanying short stories are interesting because so untypical of what we've come to expect from Lewis. I'm not sure any of them merited publication, let alone twice--in this collection and in Of Other Worlds. But others have rather thoroughly questioned Walter Hooper's motives and competency as Lewis's "literary executor".
Justin Wiggins
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was so much different from Lewis' other work,and has got me interested more in science fictions stories of time travel, and I found the book fascinating and very interesting. I wish he would have been able to finish The Dark Tower story, and the idea for the story he had for "After Ten Years." I think my favorite out of this whole collection of stories is "The Man Born Blind." This is a book I will definitely return too.
Samuel
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Dark Tower and Other Stories was a very good read. It was interesting to see how some of his writings developed during his career. I know this is what everyone talks about when reviewing this book, but I am sad that I didn't get to finish the end of The Dark Tower and After Ten Years, which was my favorite by far.

If Lewis could have finished his historical fiction, it would have been his masterpiece.
Douglas Wilson
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Interesting, but either not by Lewis, or Lewis running on half his cylinders.
Donn Headley
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: futuristic
Having read much of C.S. Lewis (and now, with this book, all of his fiction), I would place "The Dark Tower" into the category of ephemera, interesting and necessary only for those who have enjoyed his "Perelandra" trilogy. "The Dark Tower" is unfinished, as are other short stories in this volume. There are two intriguing science-fiction short stories, both complete, and an unfinished fable based on the story of the siege of Troy. The title story (intended to be a novel and preserved from destru ...more
Lucile
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
"The Dark Tower: And Other Stories" by C.S. Lewis contains several short stories and one longer story.
The works are science fiction and future fiction. Some are unfinished or have missing pages. There are notes provided to the writing process and where Lewis may have intended to take a particular story from the stopping point. I purchased this title for two reasons. First, I have a long-term commitment to read everything "Lewis". Second, I was interested in seeing his work before editing and fi
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Hallie
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Fantastic selection of Lewis' short stories and so different from the Narnia series - I'm really glad that his estate made the choice to publish these.

In addition to the stories themselves, the foreword and editorial commentary that was provided as part of this book are critical components for readers. They give you a better sense of how these stories came to be published and also provide context for Lewis' original writing of these stories, critical because two of the works in this collection
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Honza Prchal
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is solid stuff, and some of the very short short stories are first rate (I particularly liked Shoddy Land and A Man Born Blind), but the attenuated and abbreviated manuscripts for the titular first story and the last one, After Ten Years, about Menelaos and the now aged Helen, are fascinating and, obviously, being unfinished manuscripts set aside for a later date, inherently frustrating.
The story and unfinished story collection is fascinating for anyone reading ABOUT fiction, planning to
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Liam
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This collection is a bit of a mixed bag, and many of the best elements are unfinished besides.
In order:
The Dark Tower, from which the collection takes its name, looks to have been shaping up to have been a five star book, but in its incomplete state it's missing crucial elements. Regardless, it was a good read.
The Man Born Blind was also an interesting short, though it is really more of a conceit than a story.
The following two short stories, The Shoddy Lands and Administering Angels, are terr
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Daniel Keohane
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read Lewis's adult science fiction before and was amazed how good a writer he is. The dark tower is the majority of this collection and be warned it's only a fragment. Read the introductions because the editor explains how he came to possess these early chapters of what would have been an interesting, if even mind bending, sci-fi novel. It's a good read and just be warned it simply stops when the editor ran out of pages to share with us. There are also a couple of very, very good sci fi ...more
Merenwen Inglorion
3.5 stars, rounded down because I felt thoroughly frustrated after having read this.

So, there were a couple interesting story premises. Of course, it was really...hmm, annoying, having to read incomplete stories. I kind of felt frustrated afterwards; it was like reading through my own unfinished, and mostly unedited writing projects (though with a much better vocabulary :P).
That being said, I’m glad I read this. If nothing else, I got new ideas for my own writing!
I just probably won’t read this
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Lynne
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a science fiction-fantasy reader, but I enjoy C. S. Lewis writings--Tales of Narnia and some non-fiction essays--so I wanted to give this a try. The writing is cleverly imaginative, I think, and I thought it displayed some philosophical ideas to think about. The Dark Tower is not all there, as parts of the manuscript were missing. I wonder what Lewis planned to put in those spots or were they just destroyed? I especially liked The Man Born Blind. Considering the issue of how to define l ...more
Tom Stevenson
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I've always appreciated C. S. Lewis as a Christian author, but this collection of stories left me cold. The stories were imaginative for the 1930s I suppose, and the time travel observances were interesting, but without the story ending (manuscripts lost), it was a disappointment. Just my opinion, of course, but Lewis just didn't cut it as a SciFi writer. Maybe that's why he never submitted these manuscripts for publication. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool C.S. Lewis fan, you'll likely enjoy this b ...more
Carl Hempel
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two stories stand out in this collection, The Dark Tower, and After Ten Years.

It's amazing to read some of Lewis' later works and think through what could have been, and still could be. One thing that delights me to consider is that Christian authors who have passed may yet be bringing glory to God in heaven - I look forward to arriving there and knowing my God fully along with those who have gone before and given glimpses in their writings.
Shelby Minick
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up reading "The Chronicles of Narnia", and while a teenager I devoured the "Space Trilogy", yet for some reason I'd never thought of their author writing about time travel! Even uncompleted, "The Dark Tower" is riveting, with characteristics of a sci-fi/thriller/adventure story; readers of "Perelandra" and "That Hideous Strength" will note similarities between many of the concepts put forth in "Dark Tower", but the tale itself stands quite well on its own.
Michael D. Kanner
Disappointed

As much of a Lewis can as I am, this was a disappointment. Rather a set of well-designed tales, you get some poor stories and parts of others. As the editor admits, some were the result of partial manuscripts or stories that Lewis began, put had no idea how to end.

The editor's notes at least explain that the reason for these problems but if he was to have been more honest, it would have better to have not published this as a separate volume at all.
Garry Gregory
Enjoyed and still wanting closure

The featured title, The Dark Tower had such potential, but it is a work never finished. I would like to read anyone‘s attempt at working the fragments into completion. The same can be said of Helen’s future in After Ten Years.
All fans of Lewis will enjoy this collection of short stories; but be prepared to be left wanting more from the few unfinished works.
Gary Chorpenning
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is fascinating reading for the true Lewis enthusiast, but it's not for everyone. It contains several complete minor short stories that are quite engaging. But it also contains a couple of uncompleted longer works, which, though quite interesting, might be frustrating to some because of their unfinished condition.
Amy Foley
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. Happy to read some additional Lewis fiction. If you are a fan of his space science fiction series, you will recognize and enjoy seeing Ransom in the unfinished Dark Tower story. My favorite of the short stories was "Forms of Things Unknown." Love the surprise ending and classical mythology element.
Ked Dixon
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
CS Lewis does many things well, but writing three demential female characters is not one of them.

Other than that, the ideas in the stories are compelling and his world building is on point as always.
Connie Chaussé
Unfinished manuscripts; unpublished for a reason

I realized midway through that I have read the Dark Tower before. And I realized again, too, the frustration of reading an unfinished story.
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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
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“The most important events in every age never reach the history books.” 3 likes
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