If the Chronicles of Narnia are C.S. Lewis' attempt (and a wonderful one) to write Christian children's fables, then this trilogy seems to be his attempt to write Christian science fiction.
Although I am
not Christian myself, this doesn't bother me, as it seems to bother
others, particularly in reference to the Narnia books. I love those
books with a deep and abiding passion, and really never even noticed the
Christian iconography until I was much older.
The reason why it
doesn't bother me, I think, in both the Narnia books and this one, is
that's it's not a preachy evangelical Christianity. C.S. Lewis' beliefs
were not rigid or dogmatic - to him, (from his fiction, not having read
his nonfiction) God truly is love. And that is all that is important.
So, Aslan in Narnia, Maleldil in this trilogy, the fact that Jesus is immanent as a presence, not really an issue for me.
how does it stack up as science fiction? It's old-fashioned, for sure,
reflecting nicely the age it was written in. There were certain echoes I
caught of a short story I read by H.G. Wells - I can't remember the
title. But the adventure, and then the discovery of a new planet, and
particularly the idea that Earth is the benighted backwards planet in
many ways, were all very enjoyable.
And his descriptions of the
fullness of space (as opposed to the emptiness) were something I'd never
seen before, and I always enjoy it when science fiction turns whole
ideas on their heads.