What do C. S. Lewis and Iron Maiden have to do with one another? (If you’re a Maiden fan, then you probably guessed 90% of the answer aright just upon hearing the question.)
Anyone who has listened to much Iron Maiden can tell that these blokes (or at least bassist Steve Harris, who does the larger part of their writing) are culturally literate. Songs about Alexander the Great, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Dune, Icarus and Daedalus, to name a few, speckle their catalogue. It’s no surprise, then, to find one of C. S. Lewis’ works integrated into one of their own.
Clive Staples “Jack” Lewis is better known for his writings in defense of Christianity (“Christian apologetics”) and his Narnia series. Lesser known among his works is his Space Trilogy, the first volume of which bears the title Out of the Silent Planet. It is this work that appears in Iron Maiden’s song catalogue, track 9 on their 13th album Brave New World.
The “silent planet” of mention is our planet, Earth. It seems a strange moniker, certainly, for what planet could be noisier than one inhabited by humans? The answer requires the reader to understand a point of view different from his own, for thought the earth is not silent to our ears, it is strangely cut off from the higher spheres (referring to the mediaeval astronomical concept); the spirits that enliven other planets/heavenly bodies are unable to communicate with or receive correspondence from the spirit that inhabits Earth.
Is your interest piqued? Why not visit your local library today and pick up a good C. S. Lewis book or Iron Maiden album?
Lamp post image by Rob Farrow [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Steve Harris image by Rockk3r (Original version by Darz Mol here) (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons