Out of the Silent Planet – Chapter Ten


After eating with the hross, Ransom travels with him to his home, or village. The journey is mostly by boat. They begin by crossing a large lake in a small boat with the hross paddling. At some point near the opposite shore they pick up a current which whisks them along at a pretty good rate. The choppiness of the water and curvy -ness of the current is enough to make Ransom a bit sea-sick. At one point they enter a more narrow stream and the elevation change is enough that the duo must walk along the side of the stream carrying the boat for a while until the ground levels out and they took to the water again.

During the journey, Ransom picks up on more of the language and realizes the harandra is the high country – mountainish areas and where he has been, while the low country, where they are headed is called the handramit. The handramit is like a large long crevice in the harandra. He also seems to get the idea that the hrossa (plural of hross) live in the handramit while the seroni live in the harandra. Ransom wonders if the sorns are the seroni.

Eventually they make it to a village of the hrossa, where Ransom is generally welcomed and cared for, though he missed seeing other humans. He also meets some of the hrossa young who are “jolly little things,” then falls asleep in the village later that night.


This chapter allows for some further language development and bonding between Ransom and the hross. Ransom also learns how the world is somewhat divided between the high- and low-country and a little of the different natives who occupy each. It makes me wonder when he will meet these others and if there are yet more “races” of natives here.

Ransom has an interest in hrossa physiology where he wonders if they ever get sick and vomit. I think this is an interesting thing thrown in though it is probably of little significance to the story. If there are aliens out there what is there physiology like? Are they green-blooded like Star Trek’s vulcans?

We also get a little bit of a further look at the general weather and geographical conditions of the planet – a quicker nightfall, the high and low country areas. And there’s that red stuff which he initially takes to be clouds… what is that red stuff? Mars, viewed from earth, is the  red planet. Maybe that’s why it was named after the ancient Roman god of war – war being bloody and all. “Behind and sometimes above the mountain peaks he could make out in many places great billowy piles of the rose-red substance which he had yesterday mistaken for cloud.” What is that red stuff?

Ransom further ponders the relationship between the hrossa and the sorns. Are the sorns some blood-thirsty animal-like pet the hrossa keep? Are the sorns some super-intelligent suzerain of the hrossa? We don’t yet know.


As I’ve briefly mentioned before, when you get into science-fiction you begin to bend the normal physical laws of the universe. This opens the door to explore the metaphysics of the universe as well. Sometimes that is brilliant and beautiful ways – as in the Space Trilogy or Nolan’s Interstellar. But it can also be shocking and horrific as in the film Event Horizon.

I say that to say this: some of the material above – concerning the society of Malacandra and the interaction of the different natives – could go in the Metaphysical section instead. But alas  I placed it in Sci-Fi. It is aliens, after all. So I won’t go into anything further in this space, except to say that it can be hard to classify these things. And now some humor:

PROPOSED CHAPTER TITLE – To keep it “Lewisian”

The Voyage of the Malacandra Treader


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