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CS Lewis
Frank Peretti
Samuel White
Jan Karon
Janette Oke
George MacDonald


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That Hideous Strength

By CS Lewis

That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis


That Hideous Strength

  • An influence-intoxicated college professor, his unhappy and neglected wife, a corporation bent on worlddomination through science, a living wizard who's been buried for more than a millennium and a space-traveling invalid who may be the only hope for the salvation of the world are just a few of the ingredientsin (this reviewer's opinion) the greatest work of fiction of all time.

    That Hideous Strength begins with a disclaimer that the first two chapters will be boring but arenecessary, but this is just a blind. From the first seemingly innocuous sentence, this book moves at arapid, enthralling pace. The villains of the piece (the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments--orN.I.C.E.) are some of the most frighteningly realistic portrayals of evil ever subjected to paper. As if theywere channeling Lewis Screwtape himself, the N.I.C.E. are masters at achieving the overthrow of theworld (scientifically, politically and theologically) without firing a shot.

    Lewis's good friend Tolkien wrote a series of books which were designed to be pure English mythology. Taking the traditions that were uniquely British and weaving them backwards into the foundation ofEngland and, indeed, western civilization. That Hideous Strength is the other end of the tale: the end ofwestern civilization and--by inference--the end of the world.

    That Hideous Strength is also a book replete with humor, though you have to be paying attention to catchmuch of it (and I can't imagine how much more may be there that I may miss simply because I am notfamiliar with the time and place of the writing). Beyond the quick asides by the enigmatic and mysteriousnarrator, there are the characterizations themselves. In what seems to have been a good-natured dig atthe heroic adventure novels this tome sets itself alongside of, the heroes are rarely heroic. Mark, thecollege professor, is a patches-on-the-elbows type who would be more at home in the library than in aplot to take over or save the world--Indiana Jones he's not! Jane, his wife, is a liberated "strictlydemocratic" woman who cannot overcome her upbringing in a class system or the womanly feelings sheso deplores in other women. The wizard, who may be either all-powerful or maybe just an idiotsavant--or both! And Dr. Ransom, probably the least heroic of all characters who have ever been askedto carry three adventure novels and save a world in each of them.

    But maybe that's one of the strengths that keeps me coming back to That Hideous Strength. I couldnever be Indiana Jones, but I could be Mark Stoddard. I might could even be the wizard. And, as I writethis particular review with my foot aching from spraining my ankle in a flag football game, I am feeling closerto Dr. Ransom than ever.

    The current apocalyptic fiction which litters Christian bookstores these days with its poor theology andeven poorer writing (in which each sequel seems more wretched than the last) makes one wish for Lewisto come back like one of his characters and give us a few more doses of what really good writing with asolid biblical foundation can be like. On the other hand, we've still got this masterpiece, so why would weneed him to give us more? It couldn't possibly be any better.

    Additional Notes:

    That Hideous Strength is the third book in The Space Trilogy by Lewis, the first book being Out of theSilent Planet and the second being Perelandra. Each book stands well alone, but That Hideous Strengthreally doesn't even need the other two novels except as interesting back-story. . . . Legend has it thatLewis and Tolkien were going to write the ultimate books on time and space and Lewis wrote his half,dealing with space. Whether there were ever such a bargain is up for debate--as is the debate that itwas not completed, for Tolkien's writings are about time. . . . Lewis and Tolkien shared a very Christianview of Good versus Evil. Readers raised in today's world of half-lights who find it difficult to distinguishbetween the two may find the resolution to this story somewhat arbitrary.




To Order This Book

  • That Hideous Strength

    - from Amazon - $6.95

  • If You Enjoyed That Hideous Strength, You'll Really Love

  • First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch - by Samuel White

  • Perelandra - by CS Lewis


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