Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: Perelandra

Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
Simon & Schuster, 1996 (originally published 1943); 222 pages

In the second book of C. S. Lewis' space trilogy, Ransom continues his adventures, traveling this time to Perelandra (Venus) to prevent the Venusian Eve from falling into sin.  Weston appears on the scene, possessed by the Devil, to tempt the Lady.

I generally don't like Christian science fiction or fantasy that creates a world where God has a different name--it strikes me as irreverent at best and blasphemous at worst, and more than a little idolatrous.  But Perelandra works for me, because Lewis uses our real universe and our real God instead of creating a sorry shadow of God.  He also doesn't encounter the problem of having to create "another Jesus" to bring salvation to his fictional world, because the Lady of Perelandra withstands temptation.

I'm not sure that Lewis' vision of life on Earth had Adam and Eve not sinned is particularly accurate, but as Lewis himself said in another of his works, "No one is allowed to know what would have happened."  So really, his guess is as good as mine.  Besides, it's not as if Genesis is overly descriptive of life before the Fall. I suppose it is a kindness, really, that God didn't describe in great detail everything we as a race gave up so that we could pursue the illusion of freedom, a freedom that makes us slaves.

Otherwise, I found a lot to love in Perelandra.  It's a very theological book, and I revel in theology, so it just works for me.  Although a lot of the book focuses on temptation and sin, I loved the subtext of the revelous joy that comes from serving God, no matter how great or small the task He lays before us.

Rating: 4.9/5.0

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