Kindle Flash: CSL’s Ransom Trilogy Now Available as EBooks!

This time last week we learned that Joanne Rowling’s seven Harry Potter novels were available as eBooks on Kindle and other platforms and, in a marvelous bit of synchronicity, that three Unlocking Press titles, Harry Potter For Nerds, God and Harry Potter at Yale, and Harry Potter Smart Talk also came on line as eBooks at both Amazon’s Kindle store and Barnes and Noble’s Nook outlet, all for less than $10 and Smart Talk for only $4.99. Check those out for the best in Potter Punditry!

This week’s Kindle news is that HarperCollins has at last issued C. S. Lewis’ remarkable science fiction-fantasy classic, known variously as the Ransom Trilogy, Space Trilogy, or the Cosmic Trilogy, as Kindle books on Amazon: Out of the Silent Planet $7.99, Perelandra $7.99 , and That Hideous Strength $7.99. I suspect that Hunger Games newcomers to Hogwarts Professors will not know why new availability in interest in these books is an exciting event and I wonder if even some old hands forget the importance of C. S. Lewis’ first mythopoetic fictions. It’s a delight, in brief,  because of their alchemical artistry, ring composition, smuggled Christian content, and their remarkable if perhaps only indirect influence on books that we love, most notably Harry Potter and Hunger Games.

Three Reasons to Buy this Series of Books and Read them (or ‘Read them Again,’ for many of you):

(1) The Ransom Trilogy is Narnia for Adults, as Eliot and Lewis scholar Sanford Schwartz has said many times. All the delights of and greater depths than the Chronicles with an H. G. Wells, science fiction opener, a throwback to Milton in the the story center, and a Charles Williams supernatural thriller as end-cap: how can you lose? CSL did not invent the hermetic cross genre or genre melange novel but certainly his bold and inventive combinations of story0type mixes never attempted before we can see in the Gothic-Schoolboy Novel-Orphan bilduungsroman of Harry Potter, the Harlequin Romance cum Vampire series of the Forks Saga, and the Dystopian-Ancient Myth-Alchemical drama of Hunger Games.

(2) There’s a lot of Work Still to be Done — and this format will foster that work. With the Kindle, for example, you can do some nifty word searches that provide the equivalent of a concordance to the three texts. How else would you know that Lewis actually uses the word albedo in the white stage of his alchemical set piece, Perelandra? Though there are already three books exploring the artistry and meaning of these series, most notably Planets in Peril by friend of this blog David Downing and C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy by the previously mentioned Sanford Schwartz, none of them exp[lore Lewis’ hermetic artistry, if Prof Schwartz does allude to and diagram the ring structure of each book. It is to be hoped the Kindle re-launch will re-kindle both popular interest and scholarly explorations of these extraordinary works.

(3) Did Someone Mention Literary Alchemy? The Space Trilogy, like the Hunger Games books and the last three parts of the Hogwarts Saga, are simultaneous ring compositions and nigredo-albedo-rubedo alchemical set-pieces. I always recommend Tale of Two Cities and this trio of books to anyone that wants to know more or experience another bit of hermetic artistry akin to Harry Potter. That recommendation and consequent conversations was the jump start to my friendship with and the Potter Punditry of Travis Prinzi, the young lion of Hogwarts Professors, who read the Space Trilogy again with alchemical glasses and began showing me all I had missed.

Perhaps it is naive to hope that these new editions will foster those kinds of conversations, discoveries, and friendships, but I’m happy to wear the Simpleton sandwich board in the spirit of the child believing in Santa Claus and looking forward to a new bike come Christmas, The Ransom Trilogy is a neglected treasure trove or, better, forgotten gold mine whose riches merit the slow mining Rusking recommends to serious readers wanting to understand both Inkling artistry and contemporary block-busters.

And did I mention the great new covers? Who thinks it’s a coincidence that the books are priced at exactly the same rate as the first three Potter novels? Many thanks to HarperCollins for this re-issue of CSL’s hidden pearls. Hat tip to Bruce Edwards for this news!

Your comments and corrections are coveted, of course, in the comment boxes below.


  1. This is a fantastic article full of gems to be mined and some great news! Though I can’t interface with these texts at the analytical level reflected here, I’ll take it as a challenge to discover a hermetic read of the Space Trilogy, and I love the “hooks” you provide to other texts. Lots to be unearthed! For me, Lewis is at his finest when imagining high things, transcendent actualizations of immanent shadows and this-world contours. Peralandra is an instance of Lewis in such a mode, perhaps visited by Milton’s Muse as he sub- creates. I’m due for a re-read of the whole Trilogy. Nice to know I can have this set on my Kindle and this article as a guide.

Speak Your Mind