Solaris: J.Kilmartin & S.Cox Hardcover – 13 Sep 1971
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The classic sci-fi novel in a beautiful new edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
A fantastic book. Steven Soderbergh
When psychologist Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds himself confronting a painful memory embodied in the physical likeness of a past lover. Kelvin learns that he is not alone in this and that other crews examining the planet are plagued with their own repressed and newly real memories. Could it be, as Solaris scientists speculate, that the ocean may be a massive neural center creating these memories, for a reason no one can identify?
Long considered a classic, Solaris asks the question: Can we understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?
A novel that makes you reevaluate the nature of intelligence itself. Anne McCaffrey
Stanislaw Lem (1921 2006) is the author of many works bearing the broad label of science fiction and others ranging in genre and style from satire to philosophy. Lem s books have been translated into forty-one languages and have sold over forty-five million copies.
" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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...).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps this has lost something in the translation but it seemed to me to be almost endless, which is surprising for such a short book. This was a real struggle to read.Published 2 months ago by janner37
This is a poor translation that misspells names and changes the meaning of sentences.
To Quote a Guardian article from 2006 by Christopher Priest "The novel had been... Read more
"Solaris" was published a year before man went to space - it was very zeitgeist! I guess now it is not really. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lola
As a huge fan of the Russian film, I wanted to read the original. The structure is rather unbalanced, but the concepts are eerily 'right' and sweep far beyond conventional writing... Read morePublished 9 months ago by JS