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Languages of the
Out of the Silent Planet Trilogy

The Out of the Silent Planet trilogy (also the Space Trilogy, Cosmic Trilogy or Ransom Trilogy) is a series of three science-fiction novels written by C.S. Lewis during the 1930’s and ’40’s. The books are Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra (sometimes called Voyage to Venus) and That Hideous Strength (this book also exists, in abridged version, as The Tortured Planet); a sequal to Out of the Silent Planet called The Dark Tower, which was never finished and eventually replaced by Perelandra, was published posthumously, but any linguistic information from that book is not covered here.

Out of the Silent Planet was reportedly inspired by a conversation between Lewis and his friend, also a famous author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The men lamented the state of modern fiction and agreed that each would write a science-fiction story of the type that they found ‘good’. Lewis’s was to involve space-travel, and is the subject of this site; Tolkien’s was to involve time-travel, and was called The Lost Road (the story was never completed, although the first draft is published in volume five of The History of Middle-earth; The Lost Road, however, later evolved into The Notion Club Papers, and, eventually, Akallabêth).

The Fields of Arbol (not to scale)
In outward order from Arbol (the Sun): Viritrilbia, Perelandra, Thulcandra and Sulva, Malacandra, the dancers before the threshold of the Great Worlds, Glundandra, Lurga, Neruval and two planets of unknown names

Within the plot of the Out of the Silent Planet trilogy, there are several fictional languages spoken across what are called “the Fields of Arbol”, which we call the Solar System (Arbol being the Old Solar word for “Sun”), three of which, Old Solar, Surnibur and the language of the pfifltriggi, are the focus of this site. None of these languages are as well-developed as other, perhaps more famous, constructed languages (such as those of Tolkien), but what we do know suggests that the languages were constructed with forethought, not randomly thrown together as more words were needed, as some fantasy authors have been known to do, and, with much thought, and no little speculation, we can piece together many of the workings of these fascinating tongues.

What are you still reading this for? Click one of the links to the left and look for something interesting. If you’re in too much of a hurry to read everything I wrote about a topic (how dare you!), look for a reference box

like this

under the appropriate subheading; if you get confused by one of the thousand-syllable words I use at least five times a sentance (don’t worry, not really!), look for it in the glossary.

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