That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

This is the third book in Lewis’s Space Trilogy. I had to read it for school, though I wanted to read it anyway. You can check it out here.

Rating: [4/5]

***Spoiler alert!*** 

Summary: That Hideous Strength focuses on Mark and Jane Studdock, a young married couple. Mark is a professor of sociology and Jane is an educated woman turned housewife. As the book begins, their relationship is quite strained. An organization called the N.I.C.E. is trying to buy property on the college where Mark works, and they end up offering him a job. However, he knows nothing about the job and his new employers are less than enthusiastic about telling him anything. As the book goes on, it becomes clear that the N.I.C.E. is not so nice after all. They, with the help of evil, otherworldly forces, are trying to take over the world by reconditioning society. Meanwhile, Jane has been having dreams which then come true. Dr. Elwin Ransom, the protagonist in the first two books of the Space Trilogy, recruits her to help stop the N.I.C.E. While both groups race against each other to recover the newly-awakened Merlin, Mark and Jane begin to work on their relationship separately by dealing with their own personal issues. The ending culminates in a battle between interplanetary forces of good and evil.

Likes: I greatly enjoyed That Hideous Strength. It was weird, to be sure, but in a good way. It contained a lot of good analogies, both to modern society and Christianity. The skeptic Mr. MacPhee is an example of this. Looking deeper into the book, I believe that it really was a critique of modern-day culture. Therefore, it was an interesting, entertaining book that also had a lot more going on underneath the surface.

Dislikes: The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. Let me clarify that statement: I loved the way the actual conflict was resolved. However, I did not like the very ending, after the conflict had been resolved. I felt it was a little bit awkward, and ultimately unsatisfying with respect to the trilogy as a whole.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend That Hideous Strength to anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi novel. Please read Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra first! You’ll be glad you did.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!

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