C.S. Lewis and a New Era of Science Fiction

The 1930s was a decade sprinkled with literature of all sorts that related fantastic tales concerning the goings-on of Mars and its inhabitants. Throughout the thirties, there were several installments of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s book series John Carter of Mars. Around this time, other historic literary figures took up an interest in the Red Planet and set fictional plots in revolution around this alien world. Among these was C. S. Lewis.

So it happened that 1938 witnessed a bit of a boom in the sensationalization of Martian fiction. For one, it was that year that Orson Welles delivered his radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. A sizeable portion of its American audience mistook the news-like broadcast to be a literal invasion of some kind. In addition to this, C. S. Lewis had his first science fiction novel published that year. It was called Out of the Silent Planet, and the alien world on which the protagonist finds himself is, in fact, Mars.

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