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.
The first thing I would have to say is that Hemingway's writing was nothing like I had expected. For some reason I was expecting a slow, dull but rather poetic story. Poetic it was, but definitely not slow or dull! This book captured my attention from start to end. It shows the sadness of civil war. It shows the passion of the Spanish, and it shows humanity at its very best and worst. Before reading it, it might be worthwhile reading a brief history of the Spanish Civil War, as this helps to understand the time and context in which it is set. This is without a doubt the best book I have read in the past couple of years.
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