Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Arrival on Malacandra

Suddenly the lights of the Universe seemed to be turned down. As if some demon had rubbed the heaven's face with a dirty sponge, the splendour in which they had lived for so long blenched to a pallid, cheerless and pititable grey. It was impossible from where they sat to open the shutters or roll back the heavy blind. What had been a chariot gliding in the fields of heaven became a dark steel box dimly lighted by a slit of window and falling. They were falling out of the heaven, into a world. Nothing in all his adventures bit so deeply into Ransom's mind as this. He wondered how he could ever have thought of planets, even of the Earth, as islands of life and reality floating in a deadly void. Now, with a certainty which never after deserted him, he saw the planets--the 'earths' he called them in his thought--as mere holes or gaps in the living heaven--excluded and rejected wastes of heavy matter and murky air, formed not by addition to, but by subtraction from, the surrounding brightness. And yet, he thought, beyond the solar system the brightness ends. Is that the real void, the real death? Unless...he groped for the idea...unless visible light is also a hole or gap, a mere diminuition of something else. Something that is to bright unchanging heaven as heaven is to the dark, heavy earths...

Things do not always happen as a man would expect. The moment of his arrival in an unknown world found Ransom wholly absorbed in a philosophical speculation.
~C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (1938)


On this day:

1862 Florence Hamilton, mother of C.S. Lewis, is born in Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland.

1855 George Macdonald's first book, Within and Without, was published.

Link of the day: Memorial pages and links for Roger B. Chaffee and other astronauts

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