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Solaris [Kindle Edition]

Stanislaw Lem
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

New 2011 English Translation.

The cult-classic by Stanislaw Lem that spawned the movie is now available for your Kindle! Until NOW the only English edition was a 1970 version, which was translated from French and which Lem himself described as a "poor translation." This wonderful new English translation (by Bill Johnston) of Lem's classic Solaris is a must-have for fans of Lem's classic novel.

Telling of humanity's encounter with an alien intelligence on the planet Solaris, the 1961 novel is a cult classic, exploring the ultimate futility of attempting to communicate with extra-terrestrial life.

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wonder if they can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within their hearts.

From the Back Cover

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .
'Solaris' raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1013 KB
  • Print Length: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing (8 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JWE0MC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,146 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Science Fiction of Inner Space 12 July 2003
Stanislaw Lem's SF classic Solaris is, like so much of 20th century European literature, a meditation on the mystery of the human condition. Using the central metaphor of a giant planet that appears to possess the characteristics of sentience, but whose ultimate nature has remained mysterious despite generations of scientific research and attempts at communication,
the story tells of the desperate unknowability of humans to each other. The tragedy of the relationship between Kris Kelvin and Rheya, his re-animated lover, is that of all humanity: we cannot penetrate to the essence of those we love, for they are finally as incomprehensible to themselves as we are to ourselves. The rebirth of Rheya mirrors our own entry into the world and our struggle to become authentic to ourselves, to know what we are and why, if there is a reason, we are.
I hope this doesn't make it seem that Solaris is some terribly gloomy, ponderous philosophical discourse. On the contrary, it is a tale with many beauties: the evocative descriptions of the effects of the blue and red light from Solaris's twin suns; the ballet of generation and decay and regeneration enacted by the amazing mimoids, symmetriads and asymmetriads; and the development of the strange love between Kelvin and Rheya. And there is the wry humour of the history of Solarist research and theory, a compendium of creativity, crankiness and curiosity that mirrors on the cultural level the problem of our individual need to feel a real communication with others and how we project ourselves, our images and desires and obsessions, onto the world.
There is a well managed air of suspense and threat too. Lem has not forgotten the necessity of making the reader want to know what happens next.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic SF-novel from 1961. 22 Feb 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel gets another reissue, this edition to tie in with the Steven Soderbergh adaptation starring George Clooney.
Lem's book is everything good science fiction is, 14 chapters succinctly written that explore notions of memory & science; this is one instance of space fiction (not my fave area in SF) that comes across brilliantly. It is hard to go into the book without giving too much away, Solaris functioning like the best works of science fiction- using the genre to look at our place in the universe. The book having a timeless quality to it- as Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles (I know that uses dates from the beginning of the 21st century, but conqeuring Mars has not yet been done) or Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Sentinel- which became 2001: A Space Odyssey (to which this book can be related- though it was before Kubrick's 1968 film).
From what I've seen & heard about Soderbergh's Solaris (2002), it was met with indifference by the US public after poor marketing (another example of this is evident when looking at the cover of this reissue, I'd plump for the 2001 Faber issue, which is a few quid cheaper & has a wonderful blue/stars cover); the film was remodelled around test audiences (whose opinion lead to the ellipsis of some sex scenes, which is a depressing thought when the film stars one of the most beautiful women in the world, Natasha McElhone!). Clooney appears to be miscast as Kris Kelvin, psychiatry at odds with his handsome features- & I'm not sure how much sense the US version will make, stuck somewhere between Hollywood & the influence of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 adaptation (reissued on DVD last year, brilliant- though rather long & a bit pointless in parts, like 2001...).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The main brain 28 Oct 2009
This book has been on my list for awhile. Solaris is about the alienness of aliens, and how ultimately two such diverse species are incapable of fully understanding each other. Humans, in their common hubris, discover a planet that is essentially a giant ocean of a brain and go to study it. Needless to say, the species with the larger brain ends up studying them. This brain can manipulate the humans and cause them to see what they feel the most guilty about, driving most of the visiting astronauts insane. Kris Kelvin visits Solaris and is in turn visited by his dead wife, Rheya, who died not long after they married. At first she behaves just like the deceased wife, but she gradually changes.

At times the translation from the Polish was a bit clunky (loads of filters and some awkward phrasing) and at times the book divulged into long ruminations of the astrophysics behind the alien, which I found rather dull. Aside from that, it was an engaging read that raised interesting philosophical points about human nature and the effect the brain can have on the body.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First English unabridged edition 29 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
After 50 years, an unabridged English edition of Solaris has been long overdue. The inferior version otherwise available, an abridged Polish to French to English edition can finally be put aside.

While neither Amazon nor Premier Digital Publishing have publicised the fact, this is the new full direct translation by Bill Johnston, previously only available as an audiobook. I just downloaded a sample chapter to confirm that this indeed that version.

I'm still looking forward to putting a paper version on my shelf next to the remainder of my Lem editions, and await others of his works that have not made it to English.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Solaris
I really enjoyed this book. One of the best science fiction novels I have ever read. A classic in every sense of the word.
Published 3 months ago by K_reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Solaris by Stanislav Lem
A puzzling book, allegedly now a cult book. One man's vision, did he manage to put it into words others could understand and feel similarly, in translation? Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. W. Thom
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepily stunning
This is a must for sci-fi fans. The idea that Lem has come up with is original and surprising in its simplicity. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a classic
Almost a classic, but not quite, I think this intense and very clever work benefits from being both old (pulbished over 50 years ago) and 'foreign' in that it comes out of the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew J Chamberlain
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't watch the film, read the book
Brilliant! I saw the film and didn't understand it at all, but I heard so many good things about the author I thought I would give this a try. What a revelation! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr. S. De Witt
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait
Have been thinking about reading this for some time and enjoyed it a lot. Some of the science leaves a bit to be desired (hence not 5*) but the central idea of companions... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Steve Davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than anything else.
Not for a reader looking for action adventure. There are enough of that elsewhere. This takes the mysterious universe more serious. Read more
Published 15 months ago by dyvind tvedt
4.0 out of 5 stars Lolaris
The book was very solid-state a little science heavy and ponderous at points, and a few too convenient occurrences and expositiony bits but the imagery is unique, the concept is... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Adam Felman
4.0 out of 5 stars Solaris
A heavy tome but is worthy of re reading to extract the full measure and meaning of the truth about Solaris. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ricpa
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I can't pretend that I understood all of what was expressed in this story but it was, is, very beautiful and I'll always remember it
Published 16 months ago by Mr. D. Owen-ellis
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