Instead of listening to audio books during my daily commute, I have recently been enjoying lectures from The Great Courses. These cover all types of subjects, from classical mythology, to Einstein's theory of relativity. The one I just finished, however, was a 12 lecture series on the life and writings of C.S. Lewis. I complimented this listening experience by reading Perelandra, the second book in Lewis's classic Space Trilogy.
I've read Perelandra before, as well as a number of Lewis's other works, but by listening to lectures discussing major themes of his work in general, while simultaneously reading a single work in depth, I was able to enjoy it at a much deeper level. I encourage anyone with the time or opportunity to do something similar.
As for the book itself, Perelandra follows Ransom (a professor of philology) on another interstellar adventure - this time to Venus (or Perelandra). While there, he becomes involved in Perelandra's own Edenic struggle to resist temptation.
I loved reading Perelandra. Lewis's ability to make the temptation believable, and compelling, is extremely impressive. In fact, the dialogue of this book is far more exciting than the "action" moments. Full of fascinating ideas, Perelandra is easy for me to recommend - to a certain audience. I can see how many, however, might not enjoy it nearly as much as I have.
First of all, science fiction fans who aren't interested in Lewis's Christian theology would find this book endlessly frustrating. Lewis makes no attempt to hide the Christian elements of this work, and I can see how someone who is not predisposed to believe the same things as Lewis would criticize this as being preachy or even condescending.
On the other hand, those who may hold the same beliefs as Lewis may not be as interested in a book that is so very science fiction. In fact, the sci-fi qualities are even more obvious than the Christian elements to the story, making a predisposition for enjoying this kind of work even more necessary. However if, like me, you are interested in rigorous theology in your hardcore science fiction, then this is definitely the book for you. That has to be one of the nerdiest things I've ever said.
"There seems to be no plan because it is all plan: there seems no centre because it is all centre" (218).