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Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156027601
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/20/2002
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 85,535
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

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Solaris 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The universe, as we know it, is far more complex, beautiful and horrific than we can ever imagine. Makes you want to reach out and touch a star and find out.
mrtall on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Well-imagined and creepy, this exploration of a 'first contact' with something truly alien works on several levels. Highly recommended.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
If we were, somehow, to make contact with an alien intelligence, would we know how to do it? Would we be even able to tell if that contact had happened? In "Solaris," Lem looks at what it means to make that contact, and with an intelligence so alien that its form comes as a complete shock to those who encounter it.
KromesTomes on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Pretty interesting, but some definite translation issues ... this is the English translation of a French translation ... Lem is on record as being not to keen on this, but no sign of another translation coming.
Mockers on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Bits were good and bits were a bit pants. Enjoyed the story segment but the stuff about the history of the exploration of Solaris was a bit windy
GeraldLange on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Excellent! Lem's best book by a long shot; definitely in my top 10 SciFi. I know that this is not the favorite of many, and I agree that you'll be very disappointed if you start into it expecting to have your socks knocked off; but try it now from a different direction. Open it up, and pay attention to the it, and think about what is actually happening. The fact that the protagonist is a psychologist is not an accident, nor is psuedo-Gibarian babbling when he states, "There are no answers. There are only choices."I can only accurately describe this story by saying that it has nothing to do with itself; which, given its point, proves its own success. I loved it, and I do not give five stars lightly.
clong on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Solaris was the first Stanislaw Lem book to be widely distributed in America and is recognized as a sci-fi classic. It is a quick read, without much action, but much rumination on science and scientists. The planet Solaris takes snippets from the minds of the scientists who are supposed to be studying it, and uses what it learns from these snippets to experiment on the scientists. At a fundamental level Solaris is about how scientists' past/memories/beliefs impact their work. In a way it is asking "how can we (as individuals and as a race) expect to understand the universe around us if we don't understand ourselves?" I have a hard time seeing this working well as a movie, but from the cover of the edition I bought, it looks like they turned this into a "love story in space" movie starring George Clooney. I can only hope that I manage to avoid ever seeing it!
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing 8 days ago
Dr. Kris Kelvin arrives at space station Solaris as part of a team which is supposed to be examining the planet's ocean, which makes up most of the planet except for land masses which altogether are smaller than Europe. Instead, he finds his mentor has committed suicide and strange happenings are occurring with the other two remaining scientists. He himself falls victim to the ocean's influence when upon waking after his first night there to find his dead wife alive and unable to leave his side. You get sucked in from the outset, even though a lot of things are never really explained. You can, however, have a field day guessing and deducing from the clues the author has given you.This is a great book and I highly recommend it. There are certain caveats with this recommendation. First, the book satirizes space theorists, by presenting fictional theoreticians and their contending views, so the book is filled with alternating theories about Solaris as conveyed in research materials Kelvin consults not only regarding the planet, but on the nature of contact with non-human "civilizations." This may seem tedious to some of you, but to me it was very interesting. Second, don't expect cut and dried answers. It is a book that will leave you trying to sort out what's really going on, but to me the open ended story was a great draw.Third, the book is really about what lies in man's conscious and unconscious, and begs the question: how can we possibly begin to understand the universe without understanding ourselves, individually and as a species, do not see the movie without first reading this book
OleDynamo on LibraryThing 8 days ago
The penultimate sf novel for tomorrow. Basically asks what it would be like to meet an alien with god like powers, how would you react.What is a person? What is the soul? You will be asking yourself after you read this. Don't see either of the movies, they are both seriously flawed and off the mark.
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The two "academic" chapters were annoying after a while, but the feeling and characters were great.
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Kerry_Nietz More than 1 year ago
Having seen the Hollywood film version of “Solaris,” and a portion of the highly-revered Russian version, I was interested enough with the premise to grab the eBook version when I saw it advertised. How would this whole sentient-ocean idea play out in words? In general, I think it reads quite well. Neither of the movies were high-action, so I expected a slower pace from the book, and for the most part, I got that. It never felt dull to me, though. There was always enough new information or intrigue to keep me reading. The book is really a mystery, after all. What is the ocean of Solaris all about? And can we, as mere humans, communicate with it? There are many portions of Solaris where the protagonist, Kelvin, spends time reading books about the planet. Typically, this is not a good move for a novel—it grinds the action to a halt, and gives the story the feel of reading an encyclopedia. Whether this works or not depends solely on how much the reader cares about the subject matter. Personally, I enjoyed these portions. As a writer I was fascinated by how intricately Mr. Lem had constructed the world of his living ocean, and the descriptions were nearly poetic at times. Other readers might find those sections a bore, however. Solaris also raises a lot of questions about identity and the nature of man. Our thirst for discovery of things beyond ourselves, when we hardly know what we ourselves are. Our inclination to control and classify, when we can’t control ourselves. These are good questions to ask. The book has few answers, though. Even the ending seems to lack any real resolution. Where the book most lost me, though, was when it attempted to get theological. The notion of us “creating God in our own image” was put forth. That notion is used often in science fiction. Repetition doesn’t make it true, though. It is a trite statement—one well beneath the level of the questions being asked. Solaris is intriguing fiction. I recommend it. But don’t come looking here for answers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
certainly one of the best books of one of the best science fictions authors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An intellectually stimulating and fascinating book. The original Russian film put me to sleep, but after watching the Clooney version, I was intrigued and glad I looked deeper.
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elliedeee More than 1 year ago
The moral questions raised by this story made it alone worth reading. It definitely makes the reader think about the exploratory and imperialistic goals of the human race while also touching psychological and emotional nerves that every individual can relate to. The scientific tone of the novel also speaks to its credibility in raising these questions. This is the first time I've read Lem's literature and it makes me want to consider further experiencing his work.
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