Classics Without All the Class discussion

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Jun 2013 - Solaris > What I learned while reading this book!

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message 1: by Tome (new)

Tome (toenuff) Well, I learned some science and some theology and a whole lot of new words. My copy was translated from the French (weird - I thought it was written in Polish) by Jonna Kilmartin and Steve Cox. Mind you, nothing is really a spoiler, but if you haven't read it, there are quotes so you may choose to avoid this thread until after you are done.

Chapter - The Solarists
oleaginous - Rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy.

ontology - The physical study of being: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
autometamorphosis - I thought this was self-explanatory and actually made up especially based on the definition of the next word and the context of where it was found, but I found one definition that said: "alteration of igneous rocks by their own residual solutions without introduction of extraneous matter"
neologism - 1)A newly coined word or expression. 2)The coining or use of new words.
"But it was engaged in a never-ending process of transformation, an 'ontological autometamorphosis.' (There were any amount of scientific neologisms in accounts of Solarist activities.)"


Chapter - The Visitors
steatopygous - It means a high degree of fat in the butt, but it really requires the illustrations on wikipedia to do it justice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steatopy.... This word was so memorably found during the description of the first visitor you meet - the one who belongs to Snow. One of the weirdest paragraphs I have ever read in any book - perfectly set the tone for everything to come:
"Less than a yard separated us as she passed me, but she did not give me so much as a glance. She went on her way, her grass skirt swinging rhythmically, resembling one of those steatopygous statues in anthropological museums. She opened Gibarian's door and on the threshold her silhouette stood out distinctly against the bright light from inside the room."


Chapter - The Conference
auscultation - The action of listening to sounds from the heart, lungs, or other organs, typically with a stethoscope.

albumen - Egg white, or the protein contained in it.

Chapter - The Thinkers
acidulous - sharp tasing or sour

autodidact - A self-taught person

Chapter - The Old Mimoid
Manicheanism - This was a fun read on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

Manicheanism was a religion made up by a guy named Mani around 220 AD that rivaled Christianity for a time. The premise is that everything is based on this eternal war of good versus evil. God is fallible and not omnipotent. A man's soul is where the eternal battle takes form. Pretty interesting stuff. I was really surprised by how far-reaching the religion was, but surprisingly, I have never heard of it before.

Please share anything you picked up. I'm often amazed at what I missed by hearing what other people became distracted with on these threads.


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth (k9odyssey) I really enjoyed your post. I had looked up all these words too but didn't keep a record and you just refreshed my memory. This was a fascinating story but not always easy to read. I agree about steatopygous. I couldn't help but chuckle at his use of the word to describe the first visitor and later the assumed reason for her presence at Gabarian's room. Thanks for listing, defining, and sharing your thoughts on these terms.


message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 464 comments Tome wrote: "Well, I learned some science and some theology and a whole lot of new words. My copy was translated from the French (weird - I thought it was written in Polish) by Jonna Kilmartin and Steve Cox. ..."

Nice refresher! I will be flipping back through my book tomorrow to look for my quotes I highlighted. I will have to see if there are any words in there what stuck out to me.

While the information was a bit overwhelming at times, I give Lem credit. He was able to explain the planet on a level I could not begin to comprehend. For me it made things more real/ believable. At times it read like it was coming straight out of a textbook.


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