That Hideous Strength

Extremely witty, beautifully written, thought-provoking and a real page-turner, THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH is the third volume in C.S. Lewis's marvellous, Christian-themed “Space Trilogy,” but readers unfamiliar with the earlier two books should not hesitate to read this one independently. Set at a fictional university in England, the book is Lewis's dystopian examination of how without firing a short, the alliance of government, business, academia, and mass media can produce a pure evil of wholesale fascism, all in the name of “mankind.”

An influence-intoxicated college professor, his unhappy and neglected wife, a university-government complex bent on world domination, a living wizard who's been buried for more than a millennium, and a space-travelling invalid who may be the only hope for the salvation of the world are just a few of the ingredients in one of the greatest works of popular fiction.

The book explores how pure materialism produces a nihilism that is incompatible with moral ethics, individual liberty, spiritual truth, and the foundations of civil society. Drawing upon the analysis in his brilliant book, THE ABOLITION OF MAN, Lewis satirizes government power, moral relativism, academic politics, bio-engineering, mass media, narcissism and blind ambition, atheism, materialistic culture, egalitarianism, scientism, non-traditional education which "experiments" on children, and much more. THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH includes allusions to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, H.G. Wells, John Donne, Charles Williams, John Bunyan, Sir Thomas Malory, and others; and the book has been compared to Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD and George Orwell's 1984.

“In his usual polished prose, he creates an elaborate satiric picture of a war between morality and devilry.”
-- The New Yorker

“Well-written, fast-paced satirical fantasy.”
-- Time Magazine

“His description of the N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments), with its world-wide ramifications, its private army, its secret torture chambers, and its inner ring of adepts ruled over by a mysterious personage known as The Head, is as exciting as any detective story…a book worth reading."
-- George Orwell

C.S. Lewis Society Update (3rd August 2007)
What is particularly striking about this book is who Lewis fingers as the advance-guard for the evil that sadly dominates on Earth, ever trying to extend its power: a bunch of place-seeking, ethics-free, jive-talking academics who have long left any pretence to reason and science behind. Instead, they are driven by a misguided altruism that manifests itself, ultimately, as complete misanthropy.

In this regard, Lewis must be regarded as prescient. Anyone who has spent any time in academia will immediately sympathise with the plight of the characters in the book who dare to stand up to the censorial, elitist, Marxist-Leninist, anti-religion, pro-death agenda so prevalent among the ‘progressive’ leadership of the university. Lewis had these people's number fifty years ago.

(APS)

2 comments:

Warren Zoell said...

I heard Orwell didn't like "That Hideous Strength" and that as a result inspired him to write 1984.

Anonymous said...

I believe That Hideous Strength to be the paramount revelation of the agenda of the Adversary, far more relevant to our modern day that it was when Lewis had it published over half a century ago. I do not wish to reveal spoilers for those who have not read the novel or its' predecessors, but I am very interested in discussing the theme of the work and the psychological structure of the N.I.C.E. with an esoterist, or a cultural anthropologist possessing a wide discipline and deep knowledge of ecstatic processes. Such discussion is to ameliorate difficulties in personal research and experiential (please note that I do not say 'experimental')work concerning the existence and nature of supramacrobial intelligences: particularly regarding the long term, private motives of such contemporary organizations as Lucis Trust, the Temple of Set, The Church of Satan, the Nuwabian Nation, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and most especially, the CO$/SeaOrg. I can be contacted at Severian777@aol.com, only serious inquiries will receive a response. Thank you.