This third part of C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy starts exceedingly slow – a fact which the author admits in the preface. Fortunately, I did not give up after I read about 100 pages the story was still boring. The second half of the book responds well to the large build-up and character development of the first half.
Part of the joy of this book is the surprises it gives you, so don’t read any further if you plan on reading it yourself anytime soon.
It shows well how the modern malady of boring marriages and life, something detailed in the first part, is often a result of lack of self-gift to one’s spouse, pursuit of a career over children and lack of humility for one’s own faults. C. S. Lewis makes some rather bold remarks, that the husband is owed obedience from the wife and lack of this can lead to unhappiness in marriage. That a man must not care only about his wife’s body but also her speech and her daily life. Yet he remarks elsewhere through the story that a wife must be humble enough to admit that her male counterpart probably does not have the mental reserves to listen to everything she has to say – basically people talk differently and not everyone can listen all the time.
The best part of this book was its evil and secret society which uses “science” to orchestrate a takeover of the human race. This evil society of scientists wants to reshape humanity even in its own idea of what is best. Only the upper levels realize that it is controlled by evil spirits from outer space. The heroes of the novel form part of a group of random personages assembled by “luck” through the guidance of good “angle” spirits. This random assembling is only something God could ever do well.
The battle between these two groups had many great insights which still ring true today. The uneducated man does not believe the newspaper, while the educate classes are easily manipulated by the news. Hence, the evil society does one thing and then reports a different story in the newspapers to dupe everyone. Science is never just science. It comes with a background story and narrative. Just because the government tells us something is science and must be trusted is not a good reason to hold the fact as certain. Science is something that can have multiple explanations for the same piece of evidence. As a Christian, it is better to have some thoughts of your own then let the often secular and perhaps evil spirit guided scientists give you all your ideas.
All in all, it is odd how C. S. Lewis could write something so far in advance of what may be occurring to us in the next few years.