Reviews of Solaris (1961) and related work

Solaris (1961Text)

Stanisław Lem (writer).

Read in Swedish.

The potential difficulty of human-extraterrestrial communication.

The cosmicism of “The Colour Out of Space” (1927) meets the absurdity and opacity of Philip K. Dick’s detective work. It is a beautiful thought experiment but its scientific utility seems low. Ultimately it seems faintly anthropocentric for the ocean to generate so much human drama by reading human thoughts with precision.

References here: Roadside Picnic (1972), Contact (1985), Sphere (1987), Annihilation (2018).

text fiction

Solaris (1972Moving picture, 167 minutes)

Andrei Tarkovsky (director).

A cosmonaut investigates a casualty at a space station orbiting an alien world. When his wife reaches him, it isn’t necessarily important that she used to be dead.

The road scene is supposedly there to look futuristic and to justify the expensive trip to Japan where it was shot, but it looks weird enough to trigger some xenoanthropological ostraneniye. This whole film is charged with religious symbolism, absent from and thankfully unrelated to the theme of the book.

References here: Bitter Lake (2015).

moving picture adaptation fiction

Solaris (2002Moving picture, 99 minutes)

Solaris as a form of god is disagreeable. It beats Tarkovsky in some ways, particularly audiovisuals, and exits competition in others.

References here: Story of Science Fiction (2018).

moving picture adaptation fiction