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A Brief Guide to C.S. Lewis: From Mere Christianity to Narnia
Paul Simpson
Constable & Robinson, 270 pages

A Brief Guide to C.S. Lewis: From Mere Christianity to Narnia
Paul Simpson
Paul Simpson is the author or co-author of over a dozen non-fiction books including an acclaimed round-up of conspiracy theories. He has edited and contributed to numerous international entertainment magazines and currently oversees news and reviews website

ISFDB Bibliography
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A review by Sandra Scholes

The picture on the front cover is iconic for readers of C.S. Lewis's writings as it has the wardrobe open showing it as the doorway to another universe, with the lion Aslan at the top of the wardrobe as an image carved into the wood. This other universe as we know is Narnia and it only takes a moment for the Pevensie children to walk through into that world and get caught up in its mystery.

Readers of the Chronicles of Narnia might only remember the novels that have recently been made into movies; The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawntreader. As these books and the ones that came after them are part of the chronicles, they were the most famous but as Paul Simpson has the expert knowledge, he reveals there are more novels we never knew about. He takes us through most of them, including the Boxen stories. The Boxen stories are the motivation behind Narnia as there are several key elements from Boxen that later appeared in Narnia. Talking animals like Aslan, however these stories are not a precursor to Narnia even though they do have some similarities. They are the product of two brother's work, Jack and his older brother Warnie Lewis. What is more surprising are the other stories that were written before Narnia, one of them called The Pilgrim's Regress, a satirical nod to John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, though this new story is re-imagined complete with his own characters.

For a man who was normally associated with writing fantasy, many would be surprised to discover that C.S. Lewis also wrote science fiction. His novels included Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra (AKA The Voyage to Venus), and That Hideous Strength (AKA The Tortured Planet) are all part of the Cosmic Trilogy. I found it interesting to notice that C.S. Lewis was versatile as a writer, but only became well known by the readers for his Narnia based novels. His Screwtape Letters were later additions to his already growing novels, but what are much later than that, the Chronicles of Narnia. More than half of the book is taken up with the fantasy and science fiction writings, while the later chapters deal with the religious writings The Adaptations, Narnia on TV, Narnia on Audio, Narnia on Stage and Narnia on Film.

Paul Simpson has managed to write another book on a famous novelist full of interesting information on C.S. Lewis and his works. He includes all the novels, not just the ones we are already familiar with and makes us aware of how devoutly Christian he was as a writer, and how much of his beliefs spilled out into his works.

Copyright © 2014 Sandra Scholes

Sandra likes to take time out to have a look through Twitter when she isn't writing away. Here she posts up her reviews and other stuff like haiku, funny anecdotes and micro fiction. When she's busy she writes for Diverse Japan, Hellnotes, Albedo One, Active Anime and Love Romance Passion.

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