A book cover for Out of the silent planet by C.S. Lewis
Excerpt from About.com review of Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis, from Patty Inglish
Out of the Silent Planet is C.S. Lewis's brilliant first novel, the first of a science fiction trilogy that has been called Space Trilogy, Cosmic Trilogy, and Ransom Trilogy. Disenchanted with the current fiction of the late 1930s, Lewis and his friend J.R.R. Tolkien decided to write science fiction. In so doing, they helped usher in the Golden Age of Science Fiction, historian Adam Roberts's official date being the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Lewis was to write about outer space, while Tolkien would create a tale of time travel.
Unfortunately, Tolkien's story was never fully completed. However, Out of the Silent Planet became a classic work. Some believe that Tolkien, a philologist, was the model for Elwin Ransom and this is reasonable. The book itself is a takeoff on the 1920 novel of good vs. evil, A Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay; and shows the influence of H.G. Wells. Early science fiction is fascinating. It provided authors otherworldly settings for futuristic morality plays and explorations of mankind’s failings and peak moments in places akin to heaven, hell, and limbo.
Link to the full article: http://classiclit.about.com/od/outofthesilentplanet/fr/aa_outofsilent.htm