As I begin typing this, I wonder if I’ll end up publishing it. Its an idea of loosely connected thoughts slowly coming together. I’ve just been kicking around the idea that The Dark Tower is truly a sequel to Out of the Silent Planet.
That Hideous Strength gets its title from the poem by Sir David Lindsay. There are allusions to the biblical tower of Babel. Then I was recently reading Steven Millhauser’s The Tower, a short story from his collection, Dangerous Laughter. Its an odd story. There is really no plot, nor are there any characters. It is just the description of the building of a tower overseen – at least initially – by the King of Shinar. Shinar is the name the Bible gives to the area in which the tower of Babel was built. Millhauser never goes any further in trying to connect his tower to the biblical tower. It could be any tower. The few articles I pulled up online that mentioned this short story did not draw a connection to the biblical event.
With Millhauser’s story stewing in my mind, I started thinking about Lewis’s title, The Dark Tower. Hmm… That Hideous Strength… Sir David Lindsay… The tower of Babel… the Dark Tower… Time travel…
It began to make more and more sense how The Dark Tower could have originally been a sequel. If Lewis wanted to bring in the tower of Babel into his Ransom mythology, what better way than with time travel? This is his envisioning of the building of the tower of Babel, as well as the surrounding pagan – and extensively anti-Christian – religion. Though, of course, it isn’t much like Lewis to demonize paganism without good cause.
It seems he eventually abandoned the idea. I wonder if this was before or after imagining Perelandra. I think after. It seems like Out of the Silent Planet needs a bridge before the drama and action move to Earth. But of course this is all speculation. No one knows.
I had previously doubted that The Dark Tower was a sequel, but I think I’m convinced now. And it also adds to the case that Lewis is the true author.
So thank you Steven Millhauser.