Out of the Silent Planet was originally published in 1938, but this paperback is from 1965... as if you couldn't tell from the terrific cover art. That cover art is what brought it home with the ASGSAF. Look at those cool space balls and those pointy space beams and that crazy "jughead's hat" triangle stripe around the ship.
This is not a review of the book. I haven't read it, but I will eventually. Or, at least I'll try to read it. C.S. Lewis is famously Christian, and his books are often thinly veiled attempts at evangelism. I've heard stories that this eventually was the cause of a parting of the ways between Lewis and his long-time friend J.R.R. Tolkien, who believed that a story should just be a story, and shouldn't have an ulterior motive. Tolkien's philosophy is one that I find agreeable. Anyway, I'll give it a try.
Here's some of the Lewis/Tolkien story, as found on atheism.about.com:
Although Lewis was very proud of his first Narnia book, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and it would spawn a massively successful series of children's books, Tolkien didn't think very highly of it. First, he thought that the Christian themes and messages were far too strong - he didn't approve of the way Lewis seemed to beat the reader over the head with such obvious symbols.
There was certainly no missing the fact that Aslan, a lion, was a symbol for Christ who sacrificed his life and was resurrected for a final battle against evil. Tolkien's own books are deeply imbued with Christian themes, but he worked hard to bury them deeply so that they would enhance rather than detract from the stories.
Furthermore, Tolkien thought that there were too many conflicting elements that ultimately clashed, detracting from the whole. There were talking animals, children, witches, and more. Thus, in addition to being pushy, the book was overloaded with elements that threatened to confuse and overwhelm the children for whom it was designed.
Right on, J.R.
This post's only purpose is to get a high res (at least as high res as Blogger allows, which is 1600px tall) image of this cover art into your hands, stat!
Here's a crop of just the painting, with some light color adjustment. Enjoy!