Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Lately I feel like I’ve been reading a too many books with strong female characters and sort of girly books so I wanted to beef up my reading with something a little different! Especially because my last read was very romantic and super cheesy but in a good way! Ha. I picked up Solaris because #1, it’s been on my shelf for aaages, #2 It’s a cult classic, and #3 it’s a totally random genre that I hardly ever read! Sci-fi is completely out of my comfort zone and I’m a firm believer in stepping out of your comfy box and testing out the waters with new reads. So I did just that! This book actually belongs to my friend Isaac, who never actually finished the book...lol I wonder why…? Well as you can tell, Solaris did not get one of my best ratings and I will explain why in a bit. First, let's get to the plot and what this book is actually about...read on peeps.
Solaris is a straight up Science Fiction novel from renowned Polish novelist and satirist Stanislaw Lem. The novel follows our main character called Kris Kelvin, a psychologist who arrives at this mysterious planet called Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface (BTW the ocean is so trippy in this book). The scientists on Solaris have studied this ocean and planet for decades and in vain may I add, they still have not come to a clear conclusion about the workings of this mysterious planet. While Kris is on Solaris, something very strange happens. He is suddenly visited by his ex girlfriend who died on earth many years ago, but is very much alive on Solaris, she is the spitting image of his ex lover Rheya. He soon finds out that not only him, but his workmates on the planet are also being plagued by their own version of Rheya, whoever it may be. It is a strange phenomenon that they question that it may have something to do with the ocean, and how it could be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, but they don’t know why or what the purpose of this is. Kris deals with some very conflicting feelings about this strangeness and although he knows this version of Rheya is not real, he still becomes quite attached to her, the ocean then seems to test the minds of the scientists by confronting them with their most painful and repressed thoughts and memories. It’s trippy as fudge. The central theme of the book is the total lack of failure of human beings to understand an extraterrestrial intelligence.
Yeah, I know, trippy right? Well I have to say that from the plot alone, I was intrigued and wanted to read this book for sure. Especially when my BFF Isaac had explained it to me. It’s also a very philosophical book in a sense that the crew mates on this planet have to deal with a lot, and have to come to terms with learning about themselves and the thoughts and feelings they harbor and how that affects this weird planet they are on, or how the planet affects them. It’s all pretty twisty and turny. I’m gonna first say what I liked about the book. I liked the plot, the story itself was very imaginative and I could also see why this book was turned into a movie which I have yet to see. The story is weird but in a good way, I never read sci-fi so this for me was a fun stretch of a genre to get into. I also liked the vividness of the setting in the book. The ocean is freaky, it totally feels like it’s alive and has its own thoughts and maybe even feelings? Who knows! I liked how the book played with us humans and our understanding of life on other planets and whether or not we could actually deal with the fact that this could be a possibility. Human beings can be so stubborn lol that’s what I took away from it. They find it hard to believe that there could be a superior race to them or that there could be a planet where things happen that they do not understand and that in the end frustrates them. So I liked all those aspects of the book, and the ocean, loved the ocean description in this book! Also, how cool is this U.K version of the book cover? Love it.
The reason I didn’t like it was because simply I was kinda bored lol. Not a whole lot happens in the book, I guess I was expecting more action and less science fiction jibber-jabber. This would be a great book if your into all the explanations of why this and that was happening, also I was struggling to get into all the scientific explanations because I knew it was all fake. I can’t explain it. I was definitely skim reading through these specific sections, it just didn’t do it for me. That is not to say that the book isn’t good, I think I’m just not into like deep science fiction or something! But I liked the philosophical side to it a lot.
Any who, Solaris was a good enough story, but I pretty much forgot that I read the book right after reading it. That's not a great sign, haha but I’m sure if you are a sci-fi fiction reader you will love this book. I also kinda wanna watch the movie now, I’m sure it would make a visually stunning motion picture for sure!! Especially because I heard George Clooney was in it. ;) Gotta love a little Clooney action. All in all, it’s an okay read. I would definitely give sci-fi reading another go because I like sci-fi movies, Solaris had a great plot but I just wasn’t sold in the end, I didn’t enjoy reading it and that for me is a deciding factor on whether or not I liked the book.
Have any of you read any good sci-fi books lately? Or have you read Solaris? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
If you would like to purchase Solaris for yourself, click on the links below for Amazon Books and Book Depository.
Genre: Science Fiction, Classics, Fiction
To purchase on Book Depository, CLICK HERE
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