Book Review: Solaris


Stanislaw Lem’s psychological science fiction novel “Solaris” was first published in Warsaw in 1961, and has inspired two films to date, including Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 adaptation, which cast George Clooney in the lead role.

The novel follows psychologist Dr Kris Kelvin. He has been sent to the space station Prometheus, where the crew is researching the planet Solaris.

But their work on the planet’s oceans has already claimed the life of one crew member.

It becomes clear the sentient ocean can infiltrate a subject’s mind, turning their memories into living and breathing entities. And it isn’t long before Kelvin is face-to-face with the woman he once loved . . .

I enjoyed the philosophical storytelling in this book. And the central question: what would we do if we were faced with a ghost from our past?

It’s a quick read at just over 200 pages, although certain elements of the plot were a tad “heavy” on the science for me.

The novel supplies more questions than answers, which won’t be to everyone’s liking. But in my mind, that’s not a bad thing.

Ultimately, it’s left for the reader to ponder the metaphysical implications of life, death and the love that shapes us through our lives.

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Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.