This podcast covers Perelandra, the second book in the Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. Many reviewers consider this the best of the three books, and some say that it is one of the top three books written by Lewis.
It continues the story that began in Out of the Silent Planet. The protagonist is the same, Elwin Ransom, a professor of philology, and one of the same villains (Weston, the physicist) reappears. However, the story takes place on Venus (called Perelandra in this novel) not Mars. In this story as told by Lewis Perelandra is a paradise, an unfallen world that knows no evil. Essentially the story is a re-telling of what happened in the first chapters of Genesis in the Garden of Eden. Lewis begins by describing the paradise that exists and then tells how evil tries to corrupt this new world. The story is a fascinating study of how free will and temptation work.
Let’s sketch the plot. Ransom is brought to Perelandra by a mighty spirit, and arch-angel, that he met on Mars but is not told what he is expected to do there. Ransom soon meets the Eve of that world, who is named Tinidril and is also called The Green Lady. She walks completely with God and has free will, although she does not know it. She begins to learn from Ransom, but shortly after they meet Weston arrives on the scene. He begins to tempt her to prove that she has free will by disobeying God. Ransom realizes what is going on and tries to counter Weston’s arguments. Ultimately he realizes that he must prevent the temptations from continuing by physically attacking Weston so that Tinidril has some time and space to reflect and respond to the choice being offered her. He does so, and kills Weston after a long hand-to-hand battle. During the battle Tinidril decides to continue her walk with God, and Perelandra is saved from evil. Tinidril meets the Adam of that world and together they assume their reign over the planet. Ransom is then brought back to earth by the same arch-angel who carried him to Perelandra.
The book is worth reading to gain a new appreciation of what Heaven might be like, what humanity lost in the Fall in the Garden of Eden, and how a being with free will (like us) can be tempted to evil.