Picked up a copy of That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis in a charity shop.
|That hideous cover|
I first read his Cosmic Trilogy when I was a teenager, and have read the first two (Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra) many times since. But I thought That Hideous Strength was weird. Will be interesting to see what I think this time round.
I remember very little, though I have read some stuff about it since.
This is what I think I remember:
- Happened on earth, in an English college, not another planet (less interesting, didn't fit with series).
- Ransom, the main character from the first books, who was a realistic, ordinary man, became this unrealistic, almost symbolic, character with a golden beard (not an improvement).
- Merlin came alive again and put everything right. There was some stuff about King Arthur coming back to rule England and how that was a good thing (silly and out of place)
- Although the two main characters were married to each other, it was wrong for them to have sex because they weren't Christians yet (this seemed completely nonsensical - I assume I had misunderstood, because if not I agree with my teenage opinion.)
- I thought of the books as an 'adult Narnia', and therefore expected to series to finish with the end of the world. Was rather disappointed that the very mild apocalyptic events near the end simply resulted in a return to the status quo.
- These included a tower of Babel-like incident when all the evil conspirators, who thought they were so wise, lost the power of speech and began to make animal noises. That bit was good).
- Evil scientists. Was there a head in a jar?
- One of the good guys was tortured by being put in a room with a pattern of dots on the ceiling, and a pattern of dots on the table which almost, but not quite matched (I really appreciated this - I would say it is my main memory of the book.)