A psychologist, Kelvin, is sent to a station on the ocean-covered planet Solaris to determine whether to terminate the mission because of lack of progress and a high rate of insanity. The station is beset by strange occurrences and appearances, including, eventually, the presence of Kelvin’s dead wife. As the scientists futilely attempt to observe the planet, the sentient planet is seemingly probing their psyches, giving form to their fears and desires. Ultimately, no communication is possible: all interaction with the Other is nothing but reflection, all observation reveals nothing but the observer. Containing passages of weird beauty and compelling philosophical speculation, this science fiction novel makes provocative points about the insularity of our (largely illusionary) realities and the impossibility of experiencing anything beyond ourselves.
When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .Solaris raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?
The classic sci-fi novel in a beautiful new edition.
Born in 1921 in Lvov, Poland, Stanislaw Lem is the prolific and versatile author of novels, short stories, literary criticism, philosophy, parodies and screenplays. Lem is the recipient of many literary awards, most notably the State Prize for Literature in Poland (1976) and the Austrian State Award for European Literature (1985).