I blew off this book as soon as Clooney and Fox Hollywood-ized it, but after reading other Lem books I returned to Solaris and realised what a snobby mistake I had been making. Even for a non sci-fan like myself, Lem is a brilliant read and this book is one of his very best.
The book was much better than the movie. A little wordy, a warning for those fearful of frequent use of large words in novels; but a good storyline if your able to stick with it.
I actually liked the movie more, I think, although the writing was very good and different than most science fiction stories.
The story is about an "celestial body" that, as I read it, is like a sentient gas giant that has a psychological effect upon the scientists who are observing it from orbit. Quite an interesting read.
The book was made into a 4 hour movie in Russia, then 30 years later re-made by us folk starring George Clooney. The Russian version is most like the novel than the American version. Just read the book.
One of the ten best science fiction books ever written. A marvel of introspection.
Stanislaw Lem's classic, filmed twice, in Russia and then Hollywood. Very atmospheric.
While I enjoyed this book, I don't think it was as approachable as the more recent movie adaptation. The book has a different focus, spending a lot of time on what happens when humanity encounters something entirely unfamiliar and unreadable. It's an interesting work, but if you're expecting to see the plot of the George Clunie movie, you'll be disappointed. (And if you're expecting to see the 1970's Soviet movie adaptation, I can't give you any guidance. All I remember from that are the monotonous driving sequences.)
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?
I am not really a science fiction reader but I really did enjoy this story. The concept and the characters were fascinating. I read it in one sitting as it held my attention and I was curious to see how it would end. The writing has great imagery and is very thought provoking. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy science fiction or those who want to stretch beyond their normal genres.