Out of the Silent Planet – Chapter Eight

SUMMARY

This chapter follows Ransom running through the strange foreign planet upon which he has found himself. He quickly tires – out of shape from having been inactive on a spaceship for a month and continues at a brisk walk. He notes the environment around him – the almost squishy ground, something he refers to as “trees,” a series of ups and downs – small ridges he is crossing, and streams of the warm blue “water.”

He notes that the “aliens” he saw must be the sorns. And though they are much different than he imagined, they are still quite horrifying – “spooks on stilts… surrealistic bogy-men with their long faces.”

He ponders a bit upon which planet he has landed upon. The planet – Malacandra – he has not yet identified as what we call Mars. He thinks it too cool to be Venus so it is likely either Mars or our own moon.

As he travels he grows a bit cool, quite tired, very thirsty and somewhat hungry. He decides to lay down for a rest near one of the streams because they give off heat. He considers drinking the “water” but is unsure if that’s safe, so he ends up falling asleep still quite thirsty.

SCI-FI ASPECT

This relatively short chapter focuses on Ransom’s travel and surroundings through the unknown world. It doesn’t get very science-y apart from his wondering about which planet he is on. I think he is putting together that the force of gravity is less than that on earth, though its not quite explicit. It seems he favors the moon as the most likely destination. It doesn’t seem that he considers moons of other planets.

Lewis again references HG Wells, saying the Malacandrian natives “appeal away from Wellsian fantasies.” I think this makes the third reference to HG Wells thus far including the pre-Chapter one “note” in which he writes “The author would be sorry if any reader supposed he was too stupid to have enjoyed Mr. H.G.Wells’s fantasies or too ungrateful to acknowledge his debt to them.” The other was in chapter five, following Ransom overhearing the conversation between Devine and Weston. Lewis remarks that, given Ransom’s reading of “his H.G. Wells” he imagined the universe as being filled with horrible aliens.

Wells’ most notable work on that subject is War of the Worlds, a novel in which aliens from Mars attempt to take over the world. They overcome human ingenuity and warfare but are eventually fought off by a type of biological pathogen – another idea that has hung around in literature for many years.

METAPHYSICAL ASPECT

There really isn’t much in this chapter. What little I could draw, I’ll just leave for another day.

PROPOSED CHAPTER TITLE

Lets throwback to ’80s sci-fi and call it: The Running Man

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