One of a select group of friends, known as The Inklings, C S Lewis was a close friend of fellow Inkling, J R R Tolkien. He is known in some circles as one of the foremost Christian apologists of all time, and he has numerous books on faith to his name. I have to confess, however, that my preferences are not in this direction! It is, in truth, impossible to avoid entirely Lewis’ interpretations of Christian philosophy, but there are some of his books which are less obvious in their message.
There can be few people indeed who have never heard of Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, or at least the primary book of the series: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is even more true since the release of three magnificently realised movies based on three of the seven books. Oddly, I disliked the books as a child. I came to appreciate them only as a young adult. I don’t know, but perhaps that’s because that’s a time when we are often trying to find some purpose to existence, and, therefore, their own lives. Whatever the truth of it, that’s when I discovered these books, and fell in love with them.
Shortly after discovering Narnia, I came across a trilogy of Lewis’ in a second-hand book shop. Firmly identified as being science fiction, a genre I favoured strongly at the time, I soon discovered that they were masterpieces of imagination on a par with the Narnia Chronicles. I’ve seen them given the title of both The Cosmic Trilogy and The Space Trilogy. It would appear that one of the books, the second, has also changed its title. At the time I bought them, they consisted of Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus and That Hideous Strength. As the first volume dealt with adventures on Mars, the title of the second didn’t seem to present a problem to me. However, this is now known exclusively as Perelandra, which is (according to the books) Old Solar for Venus. But the important thing is that these joined my ever-lengthening list of favourites.
Finally, a single volume work is also on my favourites list: The Screwtape Letters. Immensely amusing, this is a volume of “letters” from a senior devil to a junior relative, who is struggling to have the proper diabolic influence over his prey. It is unique and not to be missed! It ought to be on everybody’s bookshelf. If forced at gunpoint to pick just one of Lewis’ works, it would be this one.
I apologise if this has had something of the review about it, but I believe that it was necessary, to explain why I had selected these works as favourites.
C S Lewis on Goodreads.