Out of the Silent Planet – Chapter 7

Long delay since chapter 6 – been out of town.

SUMMARY

After landing, the trio wiggle out of a small hatch at the bottom of the ship onto the ground. Nearby is a small hut built by Weston and Devine on a previous trip. They commence to unloading the supplies they have brought and Weston and Devine both carry revolvers. After a bit they break for lunch – earth food – and Ransom gets to take a break and observe his surroundings.

They are on a peninsula or island surrounded by blue water with high-peaked gentle waves. In the distance there are some tall mountain-like landforms and Ransom also admires the flora which seems to be at least partially made up of purple vegetables. Its all very other-worldly and quite beautiful. Ransom is surprised to realize that he never imagined Malacandra could be beautiful.

While eating, Devine notices some life-forms across the water on the opposite shore. They are tall and slender and it takes Ransom a minute to realize that they are actually alive as they don’t look like any of our planet’s life-forms. Startled, Ransom turns to flee, but is caught by Devine and Weston. A scuffle ensues which is interrupted by one of the aliens calling out to them what turns out to be a warning. When they turn, they see some other beast torpedoing toward them across the water. Weston fires his gun at it, but it arrives and attacks, jaws open. In the confusion Ransom breaks free and takes off running across the land away from Weston and Devine leaving them to whatever fate they can work out between themselves, their guns, and the beast attacking.

SCI-FI ASPECT

This is the chapter where our protagonist steps foot on a different planet… so there’s that. Pretty exciting unless you are obsessing over every detail (like me). I again enjoy the way Lewis describes the planet. It is not visual alone. He describes the tactile sensations as well as some sounds. Everything here seems to be very tall – waves, mountains, natives (I almost called them aliens, but the aliens here are the humans).  This makes sense considering the decreased gravity. However post-Mars Rover and moon pictures (if you really believe that stuff is legitimate), it doesn’t seem that less gravity really causes things to be taller or more peaked. The moon’s seas are dry and Mars’ are frozen so I guess we still have to wait and see regarding waves. I see little point in expounding too much on this. All the description is there in chapter seven if you want to review it.

METAPHYSICAL ASPECT

Chapter seven is admittedly light here. I will mention only one thing briefly. In past readings this chapter has left me so excited that I turn the page immediately to see what happens to Ransom next, but this time I am pausing to think and expound and I’m taken with how terrifying Ransom’s experience has been. The only humans on the whole planet were just holding him at gunpoint. The only reason he escaped was because a great beast interrupted them. And now he is running away from those people and the only space-ship around. His prospects for a long fruitful and satisfied life are pretty bleak. He’s all alone, on the run, in a completely unknown foreign planet.

His running – does that reflect the rational fear of death or the irrational fear of monsters? I would say the former.

PROPOSED CHAPTER TITLE

An Alien Encounter

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