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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  59,561 ratings  ·  2,965 reviews
A classic work of science fiction by renowned Polish novelist and satirist Stanislaw Lem.

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and
Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 20th 2002 by Harcourt (first published 1961)
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Thomas Dachsel Not at all an easy question, because Lem wrote in very different subgenres of Science Fiction; some of his more theoretical works are not Science…moreNot at all an easy question, because Lem wrote in very different subgenres of Science Fiction; some of his more theoretical works are not Science Fiction at all (although they are still published under that label). My all-time favorites are the Ijon Tichy books as they are sufficiently "light" and quite humorous, and prepare the reader for the tougher rides of his other books. "The Star Diaries" is a breath-taking joyride through a number of SF tropes, but the most captivating is "The Futurological Congress" (and it is not too long). This would be a great starting point.

"The Invincible" and "His Master's Voice" are great works, but I think his more "short-story-oriented" works are more easily accessible. Lem tends to meander in purely theoretical realms for whole chapters in a lot of his books, and this can become rather tiresome for a number of readers. "Solaris" is no exception to this, e.g. the chapter on the history of the research on Solaris, and the whole library of books written about it.(less)

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3.99  · 
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Many sci-fi authors think that they write about aliens. The truth is, they really don't. Instead, they essentially write about humans. Most sci-fi aliens are little more than an allegory for humanity, a mirror through which we can see ourselves - maybe slightly different-looking, with more (or fewer) appendages, different senses, funny names, different social structures - but still unmistakably human.

And so, when we think of aliens as shown in popular literature/ cinematography, 99% of us wi
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I rate books base on my enjoyment and while this was an very interesting take on the whole "alien/first contact" I can't say I had a lot of fun reading it.

I do recommend it if you love that premise and are intrigue about a sentient ocean but it won't be for everyone!
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid I'm a philistine. I liked the Soderberg remake of the movie most, then the book, and last the original Tarkovsky movie. If you're cultured and sophisticated, I think that you're supposed to have the exact opposite ordering. Oh well.

In my defense, I recall that, when I watched the Tarkovsky version, I looked around at one point and discovered that the people on both sides of me had fallen asleep. As far as I can remember, this is the only time I've ever see it happen.
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to read intelligent sci fi
Recommended to Kay by: the ocean made me do it
11/11/11 Update: Reflected on it a bit more, and bumped up the rating to 5 stars. Darn those coercive, psychic ocean mind waves!


Despite work, an appalling lack of sleep, work, life, work, copious amounts of laundry, work, and MORE WORK, I finally finished this little gem of a book. I am giving it four stars for now, but depending on how I feel after I absorb more of the book, I may bump up the rating.

Solaris is beautifully written, and the message behind the book is chilling if not eye-openin
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is the classic gothic horror haunted house story revisited with an SF twist. It's a testament to the obtuseness of mankind, particularly unemotional, Cold-War era, scientific man. Three scientists on the remote planet Solaris seek contact with the lone enormous creature occupying it -- the ocean. All sorts of experiments are tried over a century or more, but the planet and the humans never achieve, at least to the humans' satisfaction, adequate evidence of a measurable intellectual exchange ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bitchin
When I was a kid my dad was obsessed with the idea of UFO’s and alien contact. He made me and my brother watch endless episodes of trashy American documentaries about sightings and abductions. In fact, I sat through so many of these that I started to have nightmares about bug-eyed extra terrestrial beings entering my room at night. I guess that for my dad – who did not have a partner, whose children were emotionally, if not physically, estranged from him, and whose job was not exactly stimulatin ...more
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
I've been meaning to read this for a while, and bought the book years ago because I know Lem is one of the greats of SF. Plus, I figured if they made a movie out of it, the story had to have some good staying power.

But I had a hard time getting into it. True, I haven't read much Sci-fi lately. But I'm certainly not a genre snob. I like me some Sci-fi, vintage or otherwise.

But the story just felt cumbersome to me. Half of it was an engaging psychological teaser/thriller/mystery, the other half
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Have you ever watched a reputed champion for the first time - a Muhammed Ali, a Michael Schumacher, an Andre Agassi by reputation - and been disappointed? Have you heard so much, been expecting something so great, and then watched the title fighter hit the mat in round three, the pole position driver stall on the second bend or the top seed play a dull match with only tantalizing flashes of the brilliance you’ve heard so much about?

That experience is how Solaris felt for me.

Solaris has a big rep
Stjepan Cobets
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of science fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
Although the book was written back in 1960, the last century, I must admit that I did not notice it at all. This book is a timeless masterpiece of science fiction. Everything we know about the universe in the book there is a review, not to speak of the human psyche that the writer brought to the last hidden parts of humanity. The book examines all. At the end of what we know about the universe, only tiny details and the man is not at all aware of what hidden in the vastness of the stars. The who ...more
Erasmia Kritikou
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
" Πρέπει να καταλάβετε πως βρισκόμαστε σε μία κατάσταση πέρα από κάθε ηθική"

Με γοητεύουν τα έργα - βιβλία, ταινίες- που ενώνουν την επιστημονική φαντασία με τη φιλοσοφία. Το εξωπραγματικό με το πραγματικό, το εξωγήινο με το γήινο, το θετικό με το θεωρητικό, την φυσική με την παραφυσική, το ιδεώδες με το χειροπιαστό. Μήπως όλα αυτά δεν είναι και μια απόδειξη πως τα πάντα στη ζωη, στον κόσμο, στην αντίληψή μας είναι κυκλικά και αλληλένδετα; Φαινομενικά αντίθετες μεταξύ τους έννοιες χρειάζονται η μ
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 501, sci-fi
Who could have thought? Who could have thought of a planet, almost covered by ocean and that the ocean is in reality an organism enveloping the planet? Where the waves are actually muscle contractions of that organism? And that organism can "communicate" to the mind of human beings and has the ability to probe and analyze people's mind and manipulate it innermost secrets (guilt included)? And this can lead human beings to lunacy and commit suicide?

I am already at the stage of my life when I alre
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(I will review this properly after re-read, but I can say that this book was fantastic; I've seen the newer movie - which was good - and will watch the older at some point. Not action-packed, but more pondering kind of a book.)
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
“Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.”

- Stanislaw Lem, Solaris


I'm kinda giddy about both starting and finishing this on June 5, 2012 (Transit of Venus). I figure if I can measure how long it takes me to read this novel in English and French and Polish, I might be able to figure out the exact distance from Solaris to
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is unfortunate that Lem is labeled as an author of "science fiction", but really only because of what the american traditions for that genre have imprinted on our culture. Solaris is a deeply philosophical look at the notion of "otherness", a meditation on the hard limits at the edges of human cognition, and science's inability to look outside of problems that science can describe.

Read this book instead of watching either of the films derived from it. Tarkovsky's Solaris is brilliant for it'
Leonard Gaya
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solaris fut traduit en français en 1964, trois ans seulement après sa publication en Pologne (les tournures de cette traduction sont d'ailleurs assez datées). Le roman de Stanislas Lem devint très tôt un classique du genre, sans doute propulsé par l'adaptation cinématographique de Tarkovsky en 1972 (le grand film de science-fiction soviétique, en réponse sans doute au 2001 de Kubrick / Clarke). Soderbergh proposera une autre version (avec George Clooney) trente ans plus tard.

Il s'agit d'un livre
What I like about this is that Lem throws away what for another writer might have been the central reveal of the story - the sentienancy of the planet. Instead he is relentlessly focused on showing us the one implication of that idea.

Very well says Lem, intellectually we can imagine all kinds of crazy things - travel to distant planets, strange unexpected forms of life, but psychologically can we cope with them, can we cope with ourselves and what we have done in our lives? Probably not very wel
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cuando vuelva a oír a alguien hablar de las limitaciones de la ciencia ficción como género, cogeré un ejemplar de Solaris y se lo lanzaré a la cabeza.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Σολάρις, ο: (αστρον.) Πλανήτης που περιστρέφεται γύρω από δύο ήλιους: έναν ερυθρό κι έναν κυανό. Η επιφάνειά του καλύπτεται από Ωκεανό με διάσπαρτα αμέτρητα νησιά και η διάμετρός του είναι κατά το ένα πέμπτο μεγαλύτερη από τη διάμετρο της Γης. Η ατμόσφαιρα του Σολάρις δεν περιλαμβάνει οξυγόνο και κανένα ίχνος ζωής δεν βρέθηκε ποτέ εκεί, στα νησιά ή τον Ωκεανό.

Όμως, ο Ωκεανός, που καλύπτει τον Σολάρις σαν κολλοειδές περιτύλιγμα, με έναν απολύτως μυστήριο τρόπο μοιάζει να είναι ζωντανός ο ίδιος. Δ
Nickolas the Kid
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: important, sci-fi
Τι εκπληκτικός συνδυασμός φιλοσοφίας και επιστημονικής φαντασίας!!!

Ο Σολάρις είναι ένας περίεργος πλανήτης.. Οι άνθρωποι τον φοβούνται, τον θαυμάζουν, τον λατρεύουν και εν τέλει θέλουν να τον καταστρέψουν. Όμως δεν είναι μόνο αυτό... Ο πλανήτης μοιάζει με έναν τεράστιο εγκέφαλο. Μπορεί ο άνθρωπος να εξερευνήσει κάθε γωνία του; Να δώσει εξηγήσεις για όλα όσα συμβαίνουν ή ακόμα ακόμα να τον χαρτογραφήσει;;

Φυσικά, ο Λεμ γράφει μια αλληγορία για το συνειδητό και το ασυνείδητο! Αλήθεια τι ακριβώς ε
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
After being the victim of constant mockery from friends for never having watched Tarkovsky over the years, I finally decided it was about time. Of course, there's no watching the film without having read the novel first, not in my books. First stop, Solaris.

Mixed feelings is what I have about this one, I must admit. At first, I was so hooked, I almost lost my sleep over it. I loved the atmosphere. During the first half, there's this constant, unnerving feeling of dread like the one you get when
Reseña disponible también en mi blog:

Kris Kelvin, psicólogo terrestre, viaje a Solaris, un planeta del espacio exterior, para intentar analizar algunas cuestiones extrañas que se estuvieron dando en aquel planeta. Allí no solo se encontrará con visitantes inesperados, sino que también hará un viaje de introspección para indagar en las cuestiones más esenciales que lo forman como persona. Las circunstancias vividas lo harán replantearse una gran cantidad d
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wo
Solaris wasn't very rememberable.
I'm not even completely sure what it was about because not a lot of things happened.

The book is short (just over 200 pages) but it doesn't feel that way.
I had to drag myself through the main character reading endless reports about the planet Solaris. I get it! The planet's weird. Can we move on now? No? FINE, have it you way, Mr. Lem, but you won't get many stars from me on goodreads!

It probably would have been better had it been a picture book. If you could ski
Solaris: Can we communicate with an alien sentient ocean?
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Solaris is an amazing little novel with a colorful history. First written in 1961 by Stanislaw Lem in Polish, it was then made into a two-part Russian TV series in 1968, before being made into a feature film by famous Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972. It only reached English publication in 1970 in a Polish-to-French-to-English translation. And just when you thought it had faded from attention
Ahmad Sharabiani
448. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
Solaris is a 1961 philosophical science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. The book centers upon the themes of the nature of human memory, experience and the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non-human species. In probing and examining the oceanic surface of the planet Solaris from a hovering research station the human scientists are, in turn, being apparently studied by the sentient planet itself, which probes for and examines the thoug
Tomas Ramanauskas
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gold
I believe that great sci-fi books are never really about the future and always about the very now. So no wonder that Lem doesn’t spend even a sentence drawing a map of the things to come. Despite being set somewhere in distant future or alternate reality, “Solaris” tackles the human condition of today (nevermind if you were reading it in 60s or in 10s) and does it by dealing with the unerasable past as a recurring spine.

Like all the gargantuan books (depth, not size), the themes touched here co
Наталия Янева
Интригуваща идея, която ми се стори не твърде добре разработена. Прекалено много ей така зачекнати концепции и случки имаше, които по едно време не водеха наникъде и оставаха да висят просто като пълнеж в текста – да не се повтарям за Чеховия принцип, който вече съм споменавала тук . А в един момент се изгубих сред протяжните обяснения за тази и онази теория какво представлявал прословутият океан на Соларис, какви форми образувал и всяка как се наричала, кога зреела и как умирала и т.н., и т.н. ...more
Kayla Dawn
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Yeah uh, I don't know. This was pretty boring and I'm not sure I entirely understood what was going on..
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fanta
“Stazione Solaris. Zero, zero. Atterraggio della capsula compiuto. Fine.”

Scoperto 100 anni prima, Solaris è un particolare pianeta che gira attorno a due soli:
uno rosso ed uno azzurro.
La superficie del pianeta è quasi completamente occupata da uno strano oceano composto, anziché dalla terrestre acqua, da una sostanza gelatinosa e schiumosa che si coagula assumendo bizzarre forme. L'oceano domina l'ambiente tanto da essere riconosciuto come essere intelligente. Un'intelligenza, tuttavia, che l'
Nikola Pavlovic
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Nisam znao nista ostajuci u nepokolebljivoj veri da nije proslo vreme okrutnih cuda." "Ono finis vitae sed non amoris." - Kraj života nije i kraj ljubavi (lat.).
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Which translation should I look for? 1 17 Apr 17, 2018 08:24AM  
The Evolution of ...: May 2017 Group read - Solaris 59 50 Nov 25, 2017 11:13AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Merge suggestion Solaris 2 26 Oct 07, 2017 03:21AM  
All About Books: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (January 2016 Group Fiction Read) 113 103 Aug 07, 2017 07:17PM  
Guardian Newspape...: July 2017 - Solaris 15 18 Aug 06, 2017 02:53AM  
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Stanisław Lem (staˈɲiswaf lɛm) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical and satirical writer of Jewish descent. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of Solaris, which has twice been made into a feature film. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the w ...more
“On the surface, I was calm: in secret, without really admitting it, I was waiting for something. Her return? How could I have been waiting for that? We all know that we are material creatures, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and not even the power of all our feelings combined can defeat those laws. All we can do is detest them. The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny. So must one be resigned to being a clock that measures the passage of time, now out of order, now repaired, and whose mechanism generates despair and love as soon as its maker sets it going? Are we to grow used to the idea that every man relives ancient torments, which are all the more profound because they grow comic with repetition? That human existence should repeat itself, well and good, but that it should repeat itself like a hackneyed tune, or a record a drunkard keeps playing as he feeds coins into the jukebox...

Must I go on living here then, among the objects we both had touched, in the air she had breathed? In the name of what? In the hope of her return? I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.”
“We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is.” 229 likes
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