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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

  Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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C. S. Lewis

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Standard Disclaimer:

This is a brief discussion of C. S. Lewis and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by Lewis.

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Lewis: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)

I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales Lewis tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Lewis worthy; in sum, to help you rank C. S. Lewis (and the works by Lewis listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

A Few Words About C. S. Lewis

Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the “Other Resources” section below will lead you to some information about the “Notable Books” listed farther down this page.

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Other C. S. Lewis Resources

C. S. Lewis Resources on the Web

(Because Lewis’s Christianity was, quite openly, the powering force behind all of even his fiction, it is at least somewhat relevant to any critical evaluation of that fiction; nonetheless, I have here skipped over several sites that, despite Lewis featuring in their name or description, are chiefly or wholly religious rather than literary in purpose—as one university’s Study Center blurb puts it, “As a Christian institution, our ultimate objective is to promote the kingdom of God on earth.” Those who want to find such sites will have no trouble.)

Lewis has become quite a celebrity, and there are many resources available, though—predictably—of greatly varying quality and utility. There are several dedicated Lewis sites, with arguably the leader being Into the Wardrobe: The C. S. Lewis Web Site. There are also The C. S. Lewis Society of California; The New York C. S. Lewis Society; The Cumberland River Lamp Post, a tribute site by Richard James [now defunct—archived copy]; and C. S. Lewis Classics, the “official” Lewis site—run by HarperCollins, a publisher. (Note first that each of those sites has itself a page of “other resources”, most being quite lengthy, and second, that that is by no means a complete list of even the wholly dedicated Lewis sites.)

Of resources other than whole sites, The Author’s Calendar is, as usual, most helpful with its C(live) S(taples) Lewis page. An interesting article from 2001, “In Defence of C. S. Lewis”, appears in the Atlantic magazine: in presenting the defense, it necessarily also presents the prosecution, albeit in a slanted manner. A closely related but less partial analysis is the 2006 article “The Passion of C. S. Lewis” in The New York Review of Books—indeed, this is an outstanding piece of analysis and, I think, important in evaluating Lewis’s fiction (especially the Narnia material). Adams Gopnik’s essay “Prisoner of Narnia” in The New Yorker is also illuminating and worthwhile reading.

An important issue in Lewis criticism, whichever side of it one comes down on, is argued in an article “Holy War in the Shadowlands” [archived copy] subtitled “A new book revives old allegations and the struggle for the intellectual legacy of C. S. Lewis”. The gravamen of the argument is that “several literary and theological works attributed to the British author are, in fact, the product of systematic forgery.” There was a follow-up colloquy on the topic [archived copy], also worth the reading. And there was considerable coverage of the case, both lay and learned.

There is more, a very great deal more, on Lewis; I think I have fairly well skimmed the cream, but for the persistent, Google Is Your Friend.

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C. S. Lewis Resources in Print

They’re not as numerous as books about Napoleon, but there is an awful lot. Here are enough to be going on with:

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Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by C. S. Lewis **

(For more possible titles by this author, see the “Unrated Books by Rated Authors” page.)

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