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That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy #3)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  23,472 Ratings  ·  1,270 Reviews
Written during the dark hours immediately before and during the Second World War, C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, of which That Hideous Strength is the third volume, stands alongside such works as Albert Camus's The Plague and George Orwell's 1984 as a timely parable that has become timeless, beloved by succeeding generations as much for the sheer wonder of its storytelling a ...more
Published June 1st 1990 by Scribner Book Company (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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Community Reviews

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Douglas Wilson
Feb 21, 2009 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. And yet again in Audible in September of 2016. And one more time on Audible in July of 2017.
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
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
Mar 09, 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
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
Kat  Hooper
Sep 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
May 28, 2009 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
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
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
Julie Davis
Jun 11, 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
Aug 14, 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
Emilia P
Jul 25, 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
John Jr.
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
Sep 13, 2016 Laura 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
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2015 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 th ...more
May 31, 2017 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Mar 15, 2017 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-bcs
Definitely my favorite of the three.
Feb 14, 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
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.
Apr 03, 2017 Thadeus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The finale to the trilogy was strong, but definitely less ‘other-worldly’ than the previous two. This in no way takes away from the brilliant story-telling of Lewis in this series. Much of the build up in this story reflects the human experience (particularly if you either work in a college or university, or if you live in the United States today).

The story follows the development of a state-organization that basically does social engineering and it’s takeover of a small town that is home to a c
Oct 12, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-fiction
This is a really hard one to rate compared to most of the books I've read this year. It is a fiction story, meant to take the reader down a certain path, but it is also a story about ideas and reality and materialism and greed and what it means to be a man and a woman and a Christian.

There is a lot to chew on in this book. I think it is one of those stories where a re-read or two or ten would do a world of good in understanding Lewis' point and message.

Overall I liked it. It's one of the very
Sep 07, 2013 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
Jun 17, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, re-read
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
Grace S.
Mar 09, 2015 Grace S. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pure and simple, this was mind-drillingly boring. I felt like a high-schooler again, forcing myself through just to say I finished. Although I've always been a book lover, I was a pretty poor student of literature in high school because the significant but torturously dull classics I was forced to read weren't even of my own choosing. I was having flashbacks to senior year with D.H. Lawrence. "I've got to read 20 more pages tonight because teacher said so, but I don't wanna!" Constant checking t ...more
Mar 20, 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
Jan 20, 2012 Mara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Lewis must have received some feedback on the first two books in this series because he improves the plot and character development significantly. The writing is more colorful, and the characters finally come alive. I would actually give those elements at least 3 stars, at least up to the part I read. I did not finish the book after I encountered the sexism. I stopped reading at the man-worship and mouse scene (more below). This baby receives a 1 star rating because Lewis' philosop ...more
Sep 14, 2009 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
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The Ending... 17 205 Jan 04, 2015 01:02PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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
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.” 150 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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