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Revisiting OOTSP

Open the pod bay doors, Hnau!

Revisiting OOTSP

Postby ransomed » 15 Nov 2007, 12:11

Hope you don't mind me revisiting the OOTSP study but I have some questions. In chapter one, what do you think the outhouses were for surrounding the back yard? Lewis seems to point them out for some reason but I don't get the picture. Also, is the smoke Ransom sees from the front coming out of the ship which he sees as a chimney when he runs to the back of the house? And one more thing. He says he sees a low door with red light. If this is the entrance to the ship, doesn't it sound different from the hatch they exit from on Malacandra? Maybe he is seeing a window but what is the red light? Just wondering what my fellow fans think since I didn't see these in the study (great job on compiling that by the way).
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Postby galion » 15 Nov 2007, 13:36

I don't think the low door can be that of the spaceship, since it is specifically described as "filled with red firelight". Possibly a forge? And may the outhouses be workshops for constructing the ship?

BTW, in case anybody is puzzled, in British English "outhouse" just means any building separate from the main one; it does not necessarily have the specific meaning it has in N. America. Anecdote: many years ago I was talking with Eva Moseley, archivist at the Schlesinger Library, about dealing with archival storage, and said, "We outhouse some of ours". Eva gave me an old-fashioned look and commented: "Yes, we have some archives we'd like to do that to." OK, I was just off the plane ....
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Postby Dr. U » 08 Dec 2007, 03:51

In one of the books of essays by Lewis, I believe it's On Stories, he has an essay on species of science fiction, and mentions some details behind the writing of his own science fiction works. He hoped they would fall within the genre of sci-fi stories that tackle The Big Questions, but in a fantasy type of literature; he didn't personally have a taste for what he called "Engineer Fiction", in which possible future technologies are seriously explored in detail.

For example, Jules Verne accurately calculated, merely based on the laws of physics, some of the technical aspects that were later part of the Apollo moon launches - and these calculations are all included within his novel From the Earth to the Moon! But, if you read it, other than a headline type of thrill of "Man Goes to the Moon!", there's not really much depth to the characters, let alone any conflicts among them in how they view the universe. The only plot conflict is figuring out how to successfully launch a vehicle into space over the objections of nay-sayers.

Instead, Lewis seemed to hope that his type of sci-fi novel was more mythopoeic, or fantasy/dream-like, and the technical details should intentionally be as vague as possible, since it really didn't matter for his purposes HOW the spaceship worked, and might even detract from the story. In that opening chapter you cite, I think he's just trying to communicate the general sense of disorientation that Ransom is experiencing - this is NOT your normal English country manor, but what is really going on here? - which continues all the way to, and for some time on, Malacandra.
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Postby ransomed » 05 Jan 2008, 17:41

In chapter one of OOTSP Lewis refers to the road Ransom is walking on as "metalled". Does anyone know what this means?
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Postby Sven » 05 Jan 2008, 17:54

It's what is now commonly called a paved or macadam road. It comes from the old name for rock chips mixed into tar, "road metal". The Latin word metallum meant a digging for either ore or rock, ie., a mine or a quarry.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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More OOTSP Questions

Postby alcazal » 16 Jun 2008, 20:24

We just had a book club last night where we discussed the first two books of the Space Trilogy and we were left with a few questions, so I thought I'd ask them here.

First of all, does anyone know why Lewis chose the three races that he did for Malacandra? Is there any reason why they are divided into the intelligensia, the poets, and the craftsmen?

My second question has to do with Perelandra more so, but I will voice it here anyway. What is the meaning (if any) of Ransom's bruised/bleeding heel? And why does it continue to bleed? We had some thoughts on this, but I want to see what others think before I bring those up.

Thanks!

Al
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Postby repectabiggle » 16 Jun 2008, 20:46

Howdy, alcazal!

David C. Downing, in his Planets in Peril says the following regarding the different races/classes on Malacandra:
Writers of utopian fiction generally present societies where the author's own cherished ideals have been succesfully implemented. Lewis is no exception to this rule: the Malacandrian society he portras as so attractive is a relatively simple society of hunter/poets, shepherd/philosophers, and artisans. As Rnasom comes to know the inhabitants of that worl, he learns their ideas about love, art, and spirituality--ideas usually similar to Lewis's own opinions on these subjects. Malacandrian society is also hierarchical, even theocratic, as well as preindustrial and precapitalistic. In short, it approaches the medieval idea of a well-governed Christian society. (68)


Regarding Ransom's wound, I think it is a symbol of Ransom's having been a sort of Christ for Perelandra, crushing the head of the tempting serpent and having his own heel wounded as a kind of perpetual testimony.

Downing's book really is pretty interesting. I just purchased and read it last month, in fact. Worth buying, I'd say.
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Postby alcazal » 16 Jun 2008, 20:59

Thanks so much for the input. I shall share what you posted with my friends. That book definitely sounds worth looking into...
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OOTSP Answer

Postby Kanakaberaka » 05 Jul 2008, 18:08

alcazal wrote:...First of all, does anyone know why Lewis chose the three races that he did for Malacandra? Is there any reason why they are divided into the intelligensia, the poets, and the craftsmen?

Thanks!

Al


I have the feeling that C.S. Lewis may have been presenting a Malacandran triad. That's a term I learned from Stanley Anderson. It refers to an architectural form of two elements united by a third. It seems to me that the sorns are the intellectuals of Malacandra. They are shepherds for practical reasons. But their main focus in on mental activities to the exclusion of the physical. The seroni even try to memorize their books rather than keep physical printed records. For some reason the females of their race are not highly regarded.
The pfifltrigg on the other hand are the polar opposite of the seroni. They have a high esteem for their females. So much so that they have a matriarchy. Pfifltriggi spend their time perfecting their craftmanship. They enjoy the challenge of working with physical elements so much the seroni ask them to build the inventions they think up. The pfifltriggi have a high regard for material and sensual matters.
Linking these two different races are the hrossa. They are not as materialistic as the pfifltriggi. Yet they do not put too much value in the intellect either. Instead the hrossa are concerned with the spiritual values expressed through song and dance. Sure, they are great poets and entertainers. But their songs have a higher purpose of linking both the physical AND the intellectual with the higher realm of the spirit. It seems to me that the hrossa represent a balance between the other two Malacandran races. And more importantly they elevate their works to what can neither be seen nor understood in this world.
so it goes...
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