Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Elwin Ransom is on vacation, taking a walking tour alone through the English countryside. Seeking shelter from the rain and lodging for the night, he meets a farm woman, frantic that her mentally disabled son, Harry, has not yet come home from his job at a neighboring professor’s home. Hoping this professor might provide lodging, he promises to find Harry.
The professor’s house is dark and locked. Ransom squeezes through the hedge and finds Professor Weston and his friend, Devine, in a scuffle with young Harry. Startled, they let Harry go. Devine recognizes Ransom as an old schoolmate and then introduces him to Weston, a renowned physicist. They offer Ransom a drink, and Ransom realizes too late that he has been drugged.
Ransom regains consciousness aboard a spaceship. He overhears Weston and Devine say they are returning to Malacandra, where aliens called sorns ordered them to bring a human sacrifice. Ransom realizes he is that sacrifice.
As they travel, Ransom finds that space is not black, cold, or vacant but flooded with invigorating light. A month later, they land on Malacandra. The ground is covered by a rubbery pink vegetation, the sky is pale blue, and the distant mountains are lavender: It is a bright, pastel world. Since the gravity is so low, everything (mountains, trees, ocean waves) is thinner and taller than on Earth.
The three men set up camp. Six sorns approach, each one fourteen feet tall, pale, and...
(The entire section is 1154 words.)
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