A scientific expedition to an alien planet makes first contact... with themselves.
When the protagonist seals his wife in a rocket and launches her into orbit.
A conversation in which the protagonist realizes that if he wishes to save his wife, he has to decide which one of her.
This scifi is as thoughtful as A Space Oddessey, and seems as fresh as ever despite its publication date.
For film lovers, Tarkovsky's Solaris sits up there with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as ground-breaking classics and front runners of the true space age. But both films are well-known for being a bit opaque. Long shots of space and strange planetary surfaces. Not a lot of dialog. What's there to say?
So I was stunned to find Lem's story--and Julian's incredible narration of this new translation--to be so engaging, intimate, current and accessible. At the same time, the reality facing the newest arrival on Solaris Station is like a litmus test for one's sensitivity to horror. What's your Hari?
While appreciating Tarkovsky's film I was surprised by the technical depth Lem filled the planet of Solaris with and how well-tread he made the Station's halls feel, long before we ever made it into space. This and 2001 are indispensable for fans of the films and the sci-fi genre.
I found something oddly pleasant, albeit anachronistic, in listening to a narrated digital recording of a classic sci-fi novel wherein many discoveries on a distant planet far in the future are made in a library amongst the hand-written notes left by their predecessors.
I was first introduced to Solaris through the movie re-make (2002). I am a life long fan of sci-fi but honestly had a hard time fully understanding the movie. I purchased this Audible title and was rewarded by a rich, moving, deeply haunting story that lived up to the all of the accolades heaped on this tale. It prompted me to go back and revisit the 2002 movie and to also seek out and watch the 1972 version. Juliani's narration perfectly fit the mood and tone of the story and by the end I was left in that special space that only great sci-fi can take me to.
The first thing you must do before you listen to Solaris is to remove from your mind any memories of the film bearing the same name. That disappointing effort probably did more harm to Stanislaw Lem's wonderful work of science fiction than any poor review, and most likely has turned people away from reading the book itself. The truth is that given that Solaris was written in 1961, it remains poignant even today. Stanislaw Lem's portrayal of communication between completely different lifeforms and the issue of "anthropomorphism" also reflects our own difficulties with communication across cultures within our own species.
There are a couple of chapters that get a bit bogged down with pure description and taxonomy, but overall the book flowed well. Alessandro Juliani's narration is a fine performance, giving the book a natural, realistic feel.
But perhaps the most refreshing thing about this book is that it is "traditional" science fiction rather than merely a re-hash of the old good vs evil, right vs wrong type plot that just happens to be set on another world or in space.
Yes, because I was annoyed for a lot of the start of the book when it wasn't going the way I thought it would go. Now I realize it is more of a thought-provoking novel and would listen more to the details.
The Road, just because they are both futuristic and get people talking/thinking/debating. And they both are pretty exciting.
It was interesting enough for me to discuss it with others who were not reading it, to get their view on it. Also now I want to watch the movie.
I would recommend this novel.
Sci-fi, detective, cozy. Only give 5s to those books I think stand above the rest. 4 is a good solid book. 3 is average, nothing special.
This book does exactly what I believe good Sci-Fi is supposed to do, it gets you thinking beyond your everyday thoughts. How do humans interact with something totally outside their understanding? Excellent and thought provoking.a
I was just blown away with the story. Having only seen the recent American remake, I was not impressed. However, hearing the story the movies (Russian and American) are based on my opinion was completely reversed. I was so astounded by the details that I missed and was completely captivated by this tail. The themes the story explores make it it one of the most thought-provoking stories I have read in a long time.
The philosophy this story puts out there is worthy of contemplation.
No, but given the complexity and abstraction of some of its themes, surprisingly close to the written version. However, in contrast to the 2 filmed versions of "Solaris", this unabridged and entirely new translation (which has the author's approval) contains the entirety of the discourse on the scientific and philosophical concepts and issues. There might be a tendency to skim through such passages, with their references to imagined studies and theories, but Juliani's reading of this material invests it with the power of someone fired by intellectual pursuit.
The oddity of it all, from the perspective of an English-reading listener, with its existential ruminations on science, the meaning of life, consciousness, faith, fate and love. It is nonetheless compelling in its depiction of a future at once recognizable and novel. The intricacies in the descriptions of geology and pathology of the planet Solaris, and the discussions and deconstructions of an entirely imagined history of the science of Solaristics, is an extraordinary demonstration of Lem's ability to imagine a world and universe different than ours. But there are at most 5 active characters in the book, and their interactions and motivations within this wholly alien context (and Lem's writing within the Soviet system at the time it was published which adds to the sense of oppressive strangeness) draw the listener relentlessly into a philosophical discourse about man's place in the universe and his limitations and those of his inventions.
Lem depicts an alien consciousness, if that is what it can be called, that is impenetrable, unknowable and unreachable. So this is not your ordinary "first contact" story, nor a world-in-peril story, but an examination of deeper' philosophical themes. Part of a man's confronting the reality that he may not be the center of the universe is a need, not easily met, of justifying himself.
I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.
I've listened to many books - this one was interesting to me, but not a favorite. It would be unfair to say it is 50th out of 200 or some such thing, but it isn't in my top 10.
The book had quite a few passages that were memorable for their emotional impact or for being thought provoking. I don't want to spill any story elements though.
I thought the reading was done very well and the store is worth a listen. There are things to think about here - but they aren't on the surface generally. honestly I probably should re-listen to this one or read it in print as I know I missed some allusions and or symbolism.
The book is quite descriptive, going into great detail about some things which seem a bit trivial in addition to elements which are central to the narrative. This may or may not be to your liking.