Session #30: September 8th, 2010

Update: Thank you to all of you who attended today. I was surprised to see so many people.

We went over the answers to the questions for “Out of the Silent Planet”, but we did not finish them: we did up to p. 22, question 8.

We decided to continue next time.

We also decided to read “Perelandra” as our next book. Other suggestions made were:

Future sessions:

  •  September 22nd (#31)
  • October 27th (#32)

Our next session will be September 8th, 3-5 pm.  We will discuss “Out of the Silent Planet” and go over the answers to the questions.

What shall we read next? I propose the next book in Lewis’ trilogy: “Perelandra”.  But I am open to any other suggestions. If you have other ideas, please bring them to the next session and/or email me.

金星への旅 (1979年)
ヴィーナスへの旅―ペレランドラ 金星編 (別世界物語) [単行本]

Session #27: June 9th, 2010

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First of all, a very big thank you to all of you who attended today. I know some members have suffered personal bereavements, and for that reason some were unable to attend today. My thoughts go to them.

Today, we read almost all of chapter 1 of C.S. Lewis‘ science-fiction story Out of the Silent Planet. It is a more challenging story than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is aimed at adults. However, I hope for these reasons it will also prove to be a more satisfying read.

The homework is to finish reading chapter 1, and also read chapters 2 and 3 before the next session, June 23rd. I would prefer not to spend much time actually reading the text in future sessions, and instead to spend more time talking about questions that you have and discussing the themes of the story.  The questions and difficulties that you have about the text always surprise me. That is one reason I enjoy our sessions together.

Feel free to write comments here about chapter 1-3 even before next session.

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Session #28: June 23rd, 2010

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We had a good turnout today, despite the heavy rain in the morning. A big thank-you to all of you who attended today.

First, we discussed about the definition of science fiction, and the difference between science fiction and fantasy. We also talked about Lewis’ own ideas on science fiction. You can read more about his ideas in the essay “On Science Fiction” in “Of Other Worlds“. (I also recommend the first essay, “On Stories”.)

Then we discussed chapters 1-3.

  1. What do we learn about Ransom’s character?
  2. What do we learn about Devine and Weston?
  3. What is “social Darwinism“?
  4. What does Weston think of Harry and why?
  5. Why does Ransom ignore Weston’s “barefaced lie”?
  6. Why does C.S. Lewis put Ransom out in space?

The next session will be July 14th, and that will be our last session before the summer. There will be no sessions in August. We will meet again in September.

Finally, here’s C.S.  Lewis writing about fairy tales, but I think what he says is also relevant to science fiction ( I posted this earlier, too):

“It goes beyond the expression of things we have already felt. It arouses in us sensations we have never had before, never anticipated having, as though we had broken out of our normal mode of consciousness and “possessed joys not promised to our birth.”  It gets under our skin, hits us at a level deeper than our thoughts or even our passions, troubles oldest certainties till all questions are reopened, and in general shocks us more fully awake that we are for most of our lives.”

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