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Solaris by Stanisław Lem

Solaris (1961)

by Stanisław Lem

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,7541061,504 (3.89)1 / 236
"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… (more)
  1. 70
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  3. 30
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    TMrozewski: Both deal with the Otherness of extraterrestrial life.
  4. 10
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  5. 10
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  6. 10
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    bertilak: Monsters from the id! (Just like in Forbidden Planet, kids).
  7. 10
    Sunshine: A Screenplay by Alex Garland (dtw42)
    dtw42: Another exploration of the theme of weird things in space causing psychological damage to isolated travellers.
  8. 00
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  9. 00
    The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both novels portray alien contact as truly strange and unknowable
  10. 00
    Last Days of an Immortal by Fabien Vehlmann (kinsey_m)
    kinsey_m: communication problems with alien intelligent beings
  11. 00
    Lupus by Frederik Peeters (kinsey_m)
  12. 02
    Sphere by Michael Crichton (labrick)

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English (86)  Spanish (5)  Italian (4)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  Russian (1)  Slovak (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
I was excited to read a book billed as trying to represent a truly alien encounter and the inability of people to then deal with something that isn't comprehendible by humans.

I don't know if it's just the fact that the translation is often listed as "not good", but the book overall didn't seem that good. It didn't flow very well, characters actions didn't feel well explained, and their resolutions felt almost random to me.

It was still an interesting concept in general, but left me just feeling ... meh. ( )
  Mactastik | Sep 4, 2019 |
Part science fiction, part psychological thriller. My first dose of Lem, the first half reminded me of Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama. There's a setting clouded in mystery: an apparently intelligent "sea" on planet Solaris from which objects and entities emanate. Scientists argue about its true nature. Three scientists, including the protagonist, inhabit the a research station on an isolated island. There are, in my opinion, some untied loose ends (e.g. the visitors of the other two scientists), but this doesn't detract from a classic, thought-provoking short novel. ( )
  jigarpatel | Aug 25, 2019 |
This is probably one of the most famous SF novels not originally written in English, being written by Polish author Stanislaw Lem and published in 1961. Two Soviet film versions followed over the next decade or so. It is a philosophical novel telling of human beings' interactions with the planet Solaris, whose planet-wide ocean appears to be a single organism that exerts interesting and disturbing influences on the humans attempting to study it. It is a hugely imaginative and thought-provoking novel, though the flights of fancy did drag a bit in places for me. The human characters are very much secondary to the story, with the interactions with Solaris being examined through the central character Dr Kris Kelvin's relationship with an enigmatic simulacrum produced by the planet of his former lover Harey, who committed suicide. A good read, though it won't appeal to all lovers of SF. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 3, 2019 |
I read this shortly before I entered grad school and I was surprised at how much it focused on academia's tendency to eat its own tail, although of course its main theme is the inherent limit of the scientific method (or any kind of human knowledge-building) when faced with a vast and boundlessly strange universe. Tarkovsky's film adaptation is faithful to Lem's vivid scene descriptions but misses the epistemology; Soderberg went in more of a 2001 direction but didn't quite land the mood.

Essential reading for SF fans with an inclination towards the philosophy of science.
  sockatume | Jun 27, 2019 |
This is a science fiction classic written in 1962.

Solaris is a small planet orbiting a double star system. Physics predict that its orbit should be unstable, but it’s not. Something prevents it from plunging into one star or the other. The only thing to be observed on the planet, however, is an ocean with highly unusual properties. Despite decades of research comprising thousands of volumes, it still begs the question of sentience.

Until an ethically questionable experiment using high powered x-ray begins to change events. The astronauts inhabiting a small space station above Solaris, start seeing humanoid figures from the deepest part of their subconscious.

What happens when humans encounter a life form so different that there is no way to communicate, even with mathematical equations or energy beams? And how would such an entity feel about the presence of humans? ( )
  streamsong | May 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Hoewel "Solaris" schitterend is verfilmd, is het boek zelf niet overdreven goed. De hoofdpersoon is een psycholoog met weinig verstand van psychologie, die probeert fysische problemen op te lossen, waar hij - en met hem de schrijver - nog minder verstand van heeft. Het gegeven is veelbelovend. De planeet is bedekt met een oceaan die leeft en zichzelf en zijn zonnestelsel kan manipuleren. De onderzoekers en de oceaan proberen met elkaar in kontakt te komen. De onhandige oceaan zaait daardoor dood en verderf. De mogelijkheden om de armoedige "science" te compenseren met spannende "fiction" worden om zeep geholpen door lange pseudo-wetenschappelijke verklaringen over de fysiologie van de planeet, wat de indruk wekt dat een kort verhaal is uitgerekt tot een boek.
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion

» Add other authors (78 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lem, StanisławAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bolzoni, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cox, SteveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, BillTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juliani, AlessandroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, JoannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malm, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olszewski, JanuszCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suvin, DarkoAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swahn, Sven ChristerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmermann-Göllheim… IrmtraudTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At 19.00 hours, ship's time, I made my way to the launching bay.  The men around the shaft stood aside to let me pass, and I climbed down into the capsule.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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