Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
C. S. Lewis (writer).
Read in 2016.
Lovely. The science aspects, and the space travel in particular, have aged poorly, and the premiss of the story is little more than a modern Genesis 1, laying out a static plan akin to that of the Christian god, but it’s through the form of a peaceful philological adventure. Hard science is viewed with obvious suspicion, conflated with imperialism and colonialism. Lewis seems to prefer the tinkering of the pfifltriggi, which is less threatening to the academic status of philology. Weston’s defence of his position does not extend to a modern biological understanding of why a species might consciously seek to preserve itself: The reader is left to infer that this is merely foolish because it is against the will of the fictional god.
References here: Always Coming Home (1985).