Literapedia Book Notes for

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis


  • Ransom (ch 1) – the main character, a philologist who is abducted by two human scientists and taken against his will to a foreign planet
  • Devine (ch 1) – a scientist who works for the sole purpose of gaining wealth; knew Ransom from graduate school but they were not friends there
  • Weston (ch 1) – a physicist who is consumed by his desire to further the human race via great discoveries made through science
  • Hyoi (ch 10) – a Hross from Malcandra who is Ransom’s first real encounter and communication with a Malacandrian. Hyoi is a loyal friend to Ransom.
  • Whin (Ch 13) – a relative of Hyoi. A very brave and honored hross, similar to Hyoi. Directs Ransom to Oryarsa.
  • Augrey (Ch 14) – Ransom is at first terrified of meeting this sorn. Augrey lives in a tower on a mountain, stargazing. He takes Ransom the rest of the way to Oryarsa, a journey that Ransom could not make by himself.
  • Oryarsa (Ch 18) – A spirit leader of Malcandra. He is not a creator figure (Maleldil is, however), but he rules the planet Malcandra. He has power to “unbody” things and apparently he communicates with other Oryarsa. It is his duty to ensure peace is kept and the needs of the inhabitants are met.

Chapter Summaries

  1. Ransom is on a “walking-tour,” looking for a place to spend the night. He runs into a former colleague, Devine and his science partner Weston. He is invited to stay the night and is offered a drink.
  2. Ransom accepts a drink, gets drugged, wakes up briefly and tries to escape.
  3. Ransom wakes up, only to find that he is no longer on Earth. He does not immediately realize that he is traveling through space.
  4. Weston tells Ransom they are on a voyage to a planet called “Malcandra,” which is inhabited. He refuses to tell him anything else.
  5. Ransom admires the stars. He overhears a conversation about Weston and Devine’s future plans for him. They mention a creature called a “sorn” which he obsessively fears after that point.
  6. The travelers experience a shift of gravity as they get closer to and nearly land on Malacandra.
  7. The travelers land. Ransom finds the landscape beautiful. They encounter aliens and Ransom uses the opportunity to escape from Weston and Devine.
  8. Ransom keeps running from Weston and Devine. He finds himself surrounded by strange “trees” and rivers of warm water. He begins to go slightly insane, saying things that Gollum might say: “We’ll look after you, Ransom… we’ll stick together, old man.”
  9. Ransom first encounters an alien and tries to communicate. The alien calls itself a “Hross.” It is friendly and offers him food.
  10. The hross, named Hyoi, takes Ransom with him to a hross villiage. Ransom learns some Malacandrian vocabulary.
  11. Ransom grows accustomed to living with the “hrossa” and learns the language (a little). They ask each other questions of their home planets and Ransom decides that the sorns are the dominant species because they are described as the most scientifically advanced.
  12. Ransom and Hyoi have a deep conversation about life and war. Ransom realizes that Man is the more corrupt species, because the hross community is centered on peace and tranquility.
  13. All the hrossa go after a hnakra, a dangerous water-creature. Ransom is placed in the honorable front position with Hyoi and another hross, Whin. While hunting an eldil, a sprit-being, warns the crew to send Ransom immediately to “Oryarsa.” The crew kills the hnakra, disobeying the instruction of the eldil and Hyoi is shot by Weston and Devine from afar.
  14. Ransom, being previously directed by Whin, makes his journey to Oryarsa. He stops at the “tower of Augrey” as instructed. He finds Augray to be a sorn.
  15. Augrey is kind and hospitable. He tries to tell Ransom more about the god-like creature, Oryarsa. Augrey tells Ransom that there is no Oryarsa on Thulcandra, the Silent Planet. Ransom discovers through Augrey’s telescope that Earth is Thulcandra.
  16. Augrey takes Ransom to Oryarsa. On the way they stop at a wise sorn’s house and Ransom is questioned about Earth.
  17. Ransom has nearly reached Oryarsa. He meets someone of the other alien race, the pfifltriggi. He discovers that Malcandra is really Mars.
  18. Ransom meets Oryarsa, a spirit-like being. Oryarsa explains things to Ransom and Ransom answers questions. Ransom learns that Earth’s Oryarsa was corrupt and because of this he was trapped in Earth, not being able to communicate with or travel to the other planets/Oryarsas.
  19. Weston and Devine are brought before the Oryarsa and Weston makes a fool of himself. The Oryarsa calls a mourning session for Hyoi and the other hrossa that were killed by Weston and Divine.
  20. Oryarsa talks with Weston and discovers the main problems of his Darwinistic logic. He will send Weston and Divine home and make it impossible for them to return.
  21. They get back to Earth.
  22. The narrator explains why the story is “fiction.”

Book Note Creator

Tyler Froelich, '08