„Solaris” is the most famous of Lem's novels. It had been reviewed many times in various countries and in various languages. It belongs – probably as no other. SOLARIS. Stalislaw Lem. 1. Lem, Stanislaw - icvamlakunsva.tk Report; Share. Twitter · Facebook; Embed. Download. Solaris is a Polish science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem. The book is about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non- human.
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On Certain and Uncertain Readings of Lem's Solaris. 1. One book is an exception, however: Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, one of the. Solaris - Stanislaw Lem (Bill Johnston) - Ebook download as ePub .epub), Text File .txt) or read book online. Translated by Bill Johnston. fiction classic, Polish author Stanislaw Lem estab- Solaris. This planet is home to a single organism: a giant ocean which covers the entire surface of the.
Lembelieves thattwo radicalmethodsof "cunningstructuration" "Metafantasia": 64 are particularlyappropriate for 20th-centurywritersin the age of indeterminacy. Thefirstis to give "thetotalstructureof a worka multidimensional 'indetermi- nacy,"' a techniqueLemassociateswithKafka'sIhe Castle.
Thewriterseals up differentmodesof significationin the work'sstructurein sucha way that the readeris given all the clues necessaryto acceptthatthe worksignifiesin a unifiedway, butnothowto determinethesignificanceof thatunity,i. Workslike this do not exposethose mainjuncturesthatcouldrevealtheirunambiguous ontologicalmeanings;andthe constantuncertaintythis producesis the structuralequivalentof the existential secret.
Like Kafka'stechnique,such writingdenies the readeran absolute systemof relationsby whichto interpretrelativesystems. Some of the struc- turesmightbe so divergentthatthey distortand "damage"the information producedby theotherstructures; atothertimes,convergencesmightoccurfor- tuitously.
The most radicalmodel of this technique,in Lem's view, is the Frenchnouveauroman,andespeciallythe workof Robbe-Grillet,whereeven chanceentersasa constitutivestructureto createa clashbetweentheparadigma- tic formsof orderand chaos "Metafantasia" Both of these techniquesof "cunningstructuration" are adequateto the philosophicalproblemsraisedby indeterminacy. For the writerwho weakens the reader'ssenseof certaintyby weakeningthe culturallyprivilegedconven- tions of fictionalso weakensthe reader'ssense of certaintyaboutthe world to whichthe fiction'slanguageis believedto refer.
Becauseof thissystematicrefusalto speakplainly,thereaderbeginsto feel unsure whetherhe or she reallyunderstands whatthedescriptionis concretelyabout,and thisgives riseto the semanticwaveringthatcharacterizes thereceptionof modem This content downloaded from Theseapproacheshavea commonorigin:as thelevel of the reception's indeterminacy beginto waver.
In rises,the reader'sown personaldeterminations practice,it is oftenimpossibleto determinewhethera givennarrativestructureis only veryindirectandelliptical,butessentiallyhomogeneous,or one deliberately damagedby 'chancenoise,' or evenperforated,softenedandbentby another,dis- cordantstructure.
Furthermore, sinceone canalso createmultilayeredstructures, even the concretequalityof the describedobjector situationcan be transformed beyondrecognitionandreshapedfromone level of articulation to another. Thus, it is oftenimpossibleto determinecategoricallywhetherthebasicstructureof de- scriptionis an imageof orderor of chaos. Manyof theproblemsof interpreting Solaris evaporateinthelightof Lem's meditationson modernism,for Lem conflatesthese two ways of creating semanticindeterminacy in the designof his novel.
Whetherit will yield its secretor not, Kelvininsiststhatit has a secretto yield, andthathe hasbeen "called"to plotits dimensions,like the land-surveyor K. Insteadof openingthe transcendental significanceof the cosmosto him, Solarisremains opaque,"communicating" withhimthroughinscrutable messengers,theVisi- tors. Oncetheseobstructivemessengersare clearedaway, Kelvinbelieveshe is, justas Pottsputsit, anemptyslatereadyto be inscribeduponby thedemiur- gic Other.
Thealienintelligenceprovideshumankind witha glimpseof its long- soughtArchimedean pointin theuniverseonly to showhow inaccessibleit is. Solarismightbe profitablyreadas a gloss on Kafka'sremarkthatMan"found theArchimedean point,buthe usedit againsthimself;it seemshe waspermitted to find it only underthis condition" Arendt At the sametime, since the Otheris by definition?
Lem punctuatesanddeformsthis Kafka-likeambiguitywith a versionof the other"systemof indeterminacy"he associateswith literarymodernism, the mutualinterferenceof narrativestructureswhichoutsidethe text appear as clear and distinct,even mutuallycontradictory.
This methodcreatesthe inverseeffectto the impenetrable mysteryof "the structuralequivalentof the existentialsecret. Thehardopacityof theunyielding secretis complemented by the nauseatingfluidityof the familiarwhenfacing thatopacity. This sense of distortionthrough"softening"of ordercomesaboutspon- taneouslyin the actionof Solaris.
The variousself-consistentmodelsthatthe protagonists-andreaders-of the noveluse to interpretthe mysteriousaction lose theirdistinctions. Theseputativelysharply-defined systemsforarticulating realityare transformedinto a single fluid processwhose only articulationis its differencefromthe sentientplanet.
Fromthestandpoint of contemporary cultureas a whole,theyappear to be partsthat, whenideallycombined,come closerto articulatingthe truth aboutrealitythananysingleone of them. Thisview impliesthathumancogni- tion operatesby maintaininga greatvarietyof possibletechniquesfor world- describing andthe possibilityof synthesesamongthese , some of whichare certainlyexpectedto assimilatewhateverrealityhas in store.
All suchprivi- legedmodelsof explanation arebasedonthepositivefaiththattruthexists"out- side" consciousnessand mustbe appropriated by it. Whenconfrontedby a concreteexistingthingthatresistsall strategiesof appropriation, the common characterof these strategiescomes out in relief:all are projectionsof human qualities,as if they could exist outsidehumanlimits.
Ofcourse,Lemcannotcreatea trulyaliencreatureto makeus see thispara- dox fromoutsidehumanconsciousness. Thoughhe takesgreatpainsto evoke thesenseof Solaris'sstrangenessthroughvividlydetailed,andyet barelyintel- ligible,descriptionsof theplanetandits excrescences,we alwayssee theplanet througha humanobserver'slanguageas it strivesto assimilateana priorinon- assimilableobject. Ouronly evidencethatthereis a trulyalienintelligenceis thatall theintrahuman distinctionsbetweenmodesof thoughtandtypesof dis- courseeitherdisappear as in Kelvin'sstrangelove story or, whentheyretain theirdistinctiveness,they becomeabsurdanachronisms,personifiedby Sar- torius'spedanticdevotionto his positivisticidealsandpersonaldiscipline.
In thefaceof that-which-does-not-correspond, themostdiverseandcontradictory ways of makingsensebecomea single self-reflectingset of correspondences, an amorphousmythosciencethrashingin its inabilityto articulatethe alien.
Lem constructsthis ironic "alienation"of cognitionby at every turn denyingthe Solaristsandreadersthe opportunityto completethe structureof significationthattheywere invitedto expectby the text'sallusions.
Lem, and Solaris, evoke certainstructuresparticularlyprivilegedin Westernculture, onlyto distortthemthroughotherstructuresalien,andeveninimical,to them. In other words, hypothesesare made possible and projectedby modes of thoughtthatcontradictthosehypotheses. In thisway, thefailureof thepositive scienceof Solaristics whichalreadyencompassesall the existingbranchesof scienceandhasproduceda multitudeof newbranchesby thetimeKelvinarrives on the station to appropriate Solarisgraduallyleadsthe scientiststo act as if the "Solarisproject"weretheprojectionof somethingmorearchaic i.
At one momentit is religiouslonging andmessianism. Kelvindiscoversthis view fully elaboratedin the writingsof theSolaristMuntius,whohadwrittenthat"Solaristicsis thespaceera'sequiva- lentof religion;faithdisguisedas science Explorationis a liturgyusingthe languageof methodology;the drudgeryof the Solaristsis carriedout only in the expectationof fulfillment,of anAnnunciation,for therearenotandcannot be any bridgesbetweenSolarisand the Earth" Thisis anotherlie.
We are only seekingMan. We have no needfor otherworlds. We needmirrors We aresearchingfor an idealimageof ourworld At the sametimethereis some- thinginsideus whichwe don't like to face up to, fromwhichwe try to protect ourselves,butwhichneverthelessremains,sincewe don'tleavetheEarthinprimal innocence.
All theseideological andpsychologicalprojectionsmaybe the inevitableprojectionof the physical definitionof thehumanbodyontotheuniverse.
Lem, Stanislaw - Solaris.pdf
So theeccentricSolaristGras- tromspeculatesin discerningthe anthropomorphisms "in the equationsof the theoryof relativity,thetheoremof magneticfields,andthevariousunifiedfield theories" The idealsystemsof reasoncome graduallyto be seen as versionsof humanlimitationdisguisedas transcendence.
Lem'sSolarists,all menof scienceandhardcommonsense,arecompelledto entertainanideathat necessarilycastsgravedoubtson thebasisof theirlives as scientists:thatthere is no clearline betweenreasonandunreason,realityand illusion. Becausereadersof Solaris approachit as fiction, andexpectthe science to be metaphorical, aneducatedreadercannotbe as upsetby theideaof science as a systematizedformof despairas the Solaristsare.
Theliteraryformoffers a kindof comfort,derivingfromthesensethatthe story'sorderis distinctfrom thatof the ideasit "uses. As the possibilityof a realistic interpretationof Solaris dissolvesfor the reader,andthe scientiststhemselves seemto turnto religiousandpsychoanalytic explanations,the readerlooksfor cluesof moretraditional mythicstructures.
Lemprovidessuchcluesabundantly in variouskindsof allusions:in names,situations,and explicitspeculations.
Butthesemythicstructures,too, aresubjectto the novel'sunderlyingindeter- minacy. Theyalso sufferthe samemutualdeformationandincongruousmoti- vationas the quasi-rationalisticexplanatorymodels. ThewholeSolaristenterpriseseemstrappedin a Mythof theWill-a myth designedto explainandsupporthumanity'sappropriation of the materialuni- verse. This mythappearsgross andabsurdwhen confrontedby a manifestly morepowerfulalienbeing.
Intothis stalematecome the Visitors,whomLem clearlyidentifieswith Mythsof Love. Althoughwe neverlearnwho Snow's andSartorius'sVisitorsare, we caninferfromGibarian'sAfricanwomanand fromRheya,as well as fromsome of Snow'sguardedcomments,thatall the Visitorsare incarnationsof repressedobjectsof eroticdesire.
The situation impliesthatthe Solaristshave drawntheirpowerto exploreandtheirlove of adventurefromthisrepression,andthattheshockof seeingtheirshadow-selves so concretelyin frontof themsapstheiregoisticresolve. The ironicexception This content downloaded from His sadistichatredof the Visitors,andthe unbendingscientific egoismassociatedwithit, is sufficientto sustainhimuntilhe succeedsin invent- ing the neutrino-annihilatorthat"kills" the simulacra.
WhileKelvin,andto a lesserdegreeSnow,cometo accepttheVisitors'andSolaris'srightto be real, Sartorius'swhole existenceis predicatedon the destructionof everythingthat interfereswith his positiveego-science.
Rheya in particularseems to carrythe values of non-scientificmythic- religiousmediation,albeitin a way thatdeformsdistinctmythicstructuresof mediationby conflatingthem. Rheyagraduallytakeson the role for Kelvinof a personalmediatorsentto himfor inscrutablereasonsby a deificintelligence.
She offershim the opportunityto redeemthe guilt andshameof his life with theoriginalRheya,anabsolutionof theOldKelvin,a vitanuova. Buttheexact valueof Rheya'smythic-religious characterin Solarisdependsonhowwe inter- pretKelvin'sdecisionto stay by the planetat the end of the novel.
Rheyabeginsas a mereembodimentof Kelvin'seroticdesire. She seems like anindestructiblegoddessattachedto a mortallover. Herphysicalstructure appearsto be so stablethatshemightnevergrowold. Heranomalousneutrino- basedbody,however,makesit doubtfulthatshecouldremainstableawayfrom herheavenlyabodenearSolaris. Theseassociationsarenotlost on Snow,who refersto Rheyaonce as a "fair Aphrodite,child of Ocean" , much to Kelvin'sannoyance-althoughhe himselfhadearliercalledGibarian'sVisi- tor "a monstrousAphrodite" As Rheyabecomesincreasinglyhuman in herfeelingsandquandaries,thecharacterof herlove appearsto changealso.
It graduallybecomesless arbitrary,clinging,and childlike,and increasingly faithfuland altruistic. She becomesa doubly-inverted, paradoxicalimageof Christ,a materialisticversionof the transcendental mediator. She is a human formof Solaris,anda Solarianformof thehuman. As shemysteriouslyevolves intoa conscious,freeagent,againandagainactingagainstherphysicallimits by drinkingthe liquidoxygen, keepingher distancefromKelvin,andlying about listeningto Gibarian'scassette [ ,she fulfills-Lem implies- essentialcognitive,axiological,andontologicalconditionsof beinghuman.
She is consciousof her ignoranceof herorigins;she is willingto sacrificeherlife for a lovedone; andshe is, in the end, ableto die. Thegoddessfreelychooses to acceptdeathto liberateKelvinfromhis guilt. SinceSartoriusandSnowwill not be swayedfromtheirdetermination to annihilatethe Visitors,they have the forceof fatefor Rheya.
Heracceptanceof deathre-enactsthe tragicgrace of Christ'spassionon SolarisStation. However, Rheyacan only recapitulatethe myth of Christif the whole mythicstructureof Christ'smediationis completein Kelvin'slife. Herdeath makessense as a quasi-religiousmediationonly if Kelvinat the end has been emancipatedfromhis egoism andthe burdenof his past sins into a condition of new hope. Rheya'sact wouldthenimplya versionof transcendental grace, validatingthereligionof Contactandaffirmingthe "personal"relationship be- tween the godlikeSolarisand the humanKelvin.
But if, with Parrinder,we view Kelvinas a manstuckin thehallof mirrorsof narcissisticself-reflection, thenthe characterof Rheya'smediationchangesfromemancipatory to ironic. Insteadof Christ,shebecomesEcho,theloveliestandmostconcreteof Kelvin's fated self-reflections. Althoughshe is the only one of his echoes capableof This content downloaded from Thesetwo mythicstructuresare inimicalto eachother.
A mythcannot simultaneously validatetranscendentalgraceandtranscendental fatedness. And yet we cannotdiscardeitherstructurein readingSolaris. Theparadoxesof interpretation stemnotonlyfromthewaytheseincompa- tible mythsassociatedwith Rheyaare shadedinto one another.
The readeris also deprivedof ways to determinethe ontologicalstatusof the mythsand mythicbeings. The realisticontologyof the tale seems fixed. We are never led to entertainmagicalor mythicalexplanationsliterally. The role of the mythicis neveremphasizedin Solaris. Its presenceseems only to represent the naturaltendencyof peopleto createstructuresof explanationeven when empiricalandrationalisticconditionsfor one cannotbe met.
Myththenis an explanationof somethingthatdoes not cease to be consideredmysteriousas a resultof thatexplanation. Rheya'sphysicalexistencecan be explainedin materialisticterms:as a "form" takenfroma "psychictumor"in Kelvin's cerebrosides,as a neutrino-based anthropomimetic structure,as an "instru- ment"of Solaris.
In a sense, then,hersupernatural characteris merelya par- ticularlyobjectiveprojectionof unconscioushuman andSolarian? The mythologysheevokesis closerto Freud'sandFeuerbach'sthanto Golgotha's andAttica's. But, as usualin Solanrs,the materialisticexplanationleadsonly to its own limitsandto the necessityof inferringa forminconceivablein mate- rialisticterms. After listening to a tape recording by Gibarian, and so learning her true nature, she attempts suicide by drinking liquid oxygen.
This fails because her body is made of neutrinos , stabilized by some unknown force field, and has both incredible strength and the ability to quickly regenerate from all injuries.
She subsequently convinces Snow to destroy her with a Sartorius-developed device that disrupts the sub-atomic structure of the constructs visitors. Cinematic adaptations Solaris film , directed by Boris Nirenburg.
Solaris film , directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film loosely follows the novel's plot, emphasizing the human relationships instead of Lem's astrobiology theories — especially Kelvin's Earth life, before his space travel to the planet.
James Cameron, also emphasizing the human relationships — and again excluding Lem's scientific and philosophical themes. As Solaris' author I shall allow myself to repeat that I only wanted to create a vision of a human encounter with something that certainly exists, in a mighty manner perhaps, but cannot be reduced to human concepts, ideas or images.
This is why the book was entitled "Solaris" and not "Love in Outer Space". Space rock band Failure's album , Fantastic Planet , Track 9 Solaris, composed by Ken Andrews , summarizes some events in the novel.
Musician Photek's album , Solaris , Track 7 Solaris. English translation Both the original Polish version of the novel first published in and its original English translation are titled Solaris. Lem himself, who read English fluently, repeatedly voiced his disappointment about the Kilmartin—Cox version, and it has generally been considered second-rate.
Since Lem sold his rights to the book to his Polish publishers, an improved English book translation seemed unlikely. Read more Below, the Ocean - the planet's only inhabitant, organic, sentient, unimaginably powerful, profoundly indifferent to humanity. Above, the space station set from Earth, pathetically hovering over Solaris in an attempt to fathom some of the oceans mysteries, to tap a little of its knowledge.
Newest arrival at the station is Kelvin, psychologist, principal character of a science fiction novel which has all the makings of a classic.
Stanislaw Lem - Solaris
A new translation of "Solaris" is ready! Previous translation was remotely related to the children's "broken telephone game"; initially the book was translated from Polish into French.
Then the French text served as a basis for the English edition. The new meticulous translation is the work of Bill Johnston, a professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University.I could hear my heart thudding heavily.
For some time, there was a widely held notion zealously fostered by the daily press to the effect that the 'thinking ocean' of Solaris was a gigantic brain, prodigiously well-developed and several million years in advance of our own civilization, a sort of 'cosmic yogi,' a sage, a symbol of omniscience, which had long ago understood the vanity of all action and for this reason had retreated into an unbreakable silence.
Read more His close-cropped hair was grey, and deep wrinkles creased his sunburnt neck. We remained there, motionless, each of us holding the handle. Where's Gibarian? It so happened that I had never had the opportunity of meeting him.
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