Sunday, November 23, 2008

BBC Radio to Broadcast a Reading of C. S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet (1938)

Starting on November 24, 2008, BBC Radio 7 will broadcast an unabridged reading of Out of the Silent Planet (1938), a classic novel by C. S. Lewis. The first in Lewis’ science fiction trilogy, the novel is about a British professor of philology who makes an unexpected journey to the planet Malacandra, a fictional version of Mars. But, as SFFaudio pointed out recently, "this isn’t rockets, robots and ray guns material."

Specially commissioned for BBC Radio 7, Out of the Silent Planet will be read by Alex Jennings over the course of several days. Check the website for specific dates and times. The best opportunity to listen to the reading might be through BBC's "Listen Again" feature, which makes programs available for about a week after they are broadcast.

Here are descriptions of the first five of the twelve episodes of Out of the Silent Planet, taken from BBC Radio 7’s website:

Episode 1. “A Cambridge academic out walking calls at a mysterious house for shelter, but its sinister owners have other plans for him.”

Episode 2. “Ransom wakes up to find he is captive on some kind of ship, and is incredulous when Weston reveals their intended destination.”

Episode 3. “Ransom overhears a conversation about his intended fate on Malacandra, where he will first encounter the aliens known as sorns.”

Episode 4. “Ransom spends the night alone in the forest of Malacandra, before encountering another of the alien species, known as a hross.”

Episode 5. “Ransom makes a journey to the hross's settlement, and discovers his hosts' name for the Earth is Thulcandra: the Silent Planet.”

Interestingly, according to C. S. Lewis: a Biography (2002), by A. N. Wilson, Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet after a conversation with fellow author J.R.R. Tolkien in which both men expressed "their distaste for much of what was being published at that time."

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