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75th anniv omnibus of Lewis' "Space Trilogy" w/ Tolkien foreword
eclipse, corrider

I don't remember to what extent all two readers of “Scribblings” may be interested in Lewis' golden age science fiction novels, “Out of the Silent Planet”, “Perelandra”, & “That Hideous Strength” but I know some of you liked my earlier Tolkien entry and other like many of Lewis’ books. This entry involves both Tolkien and Lewis.

I just read HarperCollins’ announcement about their 75th anniversary publication of Lewis' "Space Trilogy" all gathered into one volume for the first time. HarperCollins even added a new foreword, written by Tolkien. Actually it’s compiled extracts relating to the space trilogy gleaned from Tolkien's "Letters".

Here's two things you may not know about the overlap between Lewis and Tolkien, besides their habit of joining other Inklings at the Bird and Baby for a pint and the reading of extracts from each author’s WIP. :

1.  The lead Earth character in the 1st two Space Trilogy books, Ransom, was based on Tolkien! Well, Lewis -did- hint in somewhere in "Out of the Silent Planet" that Ransom was a philologist, that his studies helped him learn and appreciate the Malacandran language.

Lewis old Space Trilogy covers mini 2

2.   Lewis and Tolkien discussed co-authoring a 4th SF volume.

To begin with, Lewis makes mention of Tolkien's work in his preface to the 1962 edition of "That Hideous Strength", (above)

"Those who would like to learn further about Numinor and the True West must (alas!) await the publication of much that still exists only in the MSS. of my friend, Professor J. R. R. Tolkien."

I heard once that their joint project would have involved time travel. Actually the 1949 paperback edition of “Out of the Silent Planet” (above) provided a clearer hint about the nature of their joint product. In that edition the passage may be found on page 159,

"More of this when you come. I am trying to read every old book on the subject that I can hear of. Now that "Weston" has shut the door, the way to the planets lies through the past; if there is to be any more space-travelling, it will have to be time-travelling as well ...   The End"

Tolkien, of course, never had time to follow through on their joint project, being immersed in his LotR universe & linguistic-related studies until he died. Some experts believe that Lewis' "The Dark Tower" fiction fragment* might have embodied his thoughts on the planned 4th book. In possible support of this theory, the title page for "That Hideous Strength" includes the following,

"The shadow of that hyddeous strength sax myle and more it is of length." taken from Sir David Lyndsay's "Ane Dialog", describing the Tower of Babel".

*"The Dark Tower & Other Stories", (pb) ed Walter Hooper, 1977, pp. 15-98 (in my edition).

Anyway, here's a description of the forthcoming Lewis Space Trilogy omnibus.

With thanks to the Tolkien Library website for the news!


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