Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts on Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

So far I am really enjoying Solaris. It’s more psychological than anything. The protagonist Kris Kelvin has gone to Station Solaris to find out why there is no response from the three scientists there. When he gets there, one scientist is dead, one won’t leave his room and the other is nervous and paranoid.

The ocean on Solaris has created living physical beings based on their memories. So far we don’t know much about the other ‘visitors’, but Kelvin’s visitor is the image of his dead wife Rheya. Rheya won’t leave Kelvin’s side, if she loses sight of him she panics and exhibits superhuman strength to reach him. Initially Kelvin is appalled and frightened as his wife had committed suicide a few years before and he knows exactly what she is but as time goes on and she asks questions about her existence he begins to fall in love with her.

I like the way this story has been set up. We are given the history of the early explorers to Solaris, the written works on the subject of Solaris and it’s ocean, and , the imagery of the Mimoids that the ocean creates – “……the mimoid resembles a town, an illusion produced by our compulsion to superimpose analogies with what we know”.

Snow, the paranoid scientist, tries to reason with Kelvin when he doesn’t want to try the x-ray bombardment of the ocean to stop the ‘visitors’. He reminds him that if his ‘visitor’ was an old hag then he would be quite eager to be rid of her. At the moment we don’t know who Snow’s visitor is. Sartorius, the scientist who locks himself in his room appears to have a child visitor, and Gibarian who has committed suicide has a large Negress who is found wandering the station or lying with him in cold storage, which is quite creepy.

I will try and finish it tomorrow, sum up my thoughts and write a review.

I finished Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, was almost sorry to say goodbye to Hogwart's until I read the next one.

I've also just started The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien.  So far it's bizarrely funny.......

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