Acclaimed author Stanislaw Lem, who died in 2006, wrote the Science Fiction novel Solaris which was published in 1961 in his native Polish. The first English publication was in 1970. That English translation was a translation from a French translation of the book. This Definitive Edition audiobook is a translation into English directly from the Polish language.
The Audible Frontiers production of Solaris: The Definitive Edition was released in 2011 to honor the 50th anniversary of this sci-fi classic. This translation of the novel is from Bill Johnston, a respected literary translator and university professor. The narration for this Definitive Edition is provided by Alessandro Juliani, of the Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica series, and it is expressive and very well done.
This 7.5 hour-plus audiobook is a comtemplative, descriptive account of one man's observations and experiences during his time at the planet Solaris. The a-book is suitable listening for Teens through Adult. It has one brief clinical mention of a woman's bare chest. For those who have only seen the American movie starring George Clooney based on this novel, the audiobook will prove to be more than the recounting a love story.
The planet Solaris has two suns. The gravitational pulls from the suns were thought to make life unsustainable on Solaris. But as Solaris and its unstable orbit continued to be observed, it appeared the planet was not circling its suns as expected. The planet came under special scientific studies and expeditions, but no life was ever found either on land or in its vast ocean. Then there was an argument that the ocean of Solaris is indeed alive and has been influencing the planet's orbital behavior.
The watery planet now has a space station in orbit with a team of three scientists performing studies: Dr. Snaut, Dr. Sartorius, and Dr. Gibarian. Dr. Kris Kelvin, a psychologist, arrives on the station to investigate the well being of the scientists. Snaut claims surprise upon seeing Kris, even though Kris's visit to the station was planned months in advance. Snaut then informs Kris that Gibarian just committed suicide. When Snaut remarks that Sartorius will remain in his lab and to ignore anyone else he may see, Kris is taken aback since he knows there was only a team of three scientists living on the station. Kris is told to be on his guard and as he leaves, he notices blood on Snaut's knuckles.
Kris reads about the history of Solaris and its ocean, which he has been sensing since his arrival. Later, he sees apparitions on the station and learns from Snaut that each station inhabitant have their own "ghosts." The scientists meet to decide what the significance of the visitors are and what to do about the situation. In the end, Kris decides to fly to the surface. Once there, he extends his hand to touch the ocean and a wave seemed to examine it with interest. But soon, the interest is lost. Kris ponders what has happened at the planet and if he will ever understand what it means.
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