I’d heard a lot of different things about Solaris; it’s one of those books that people either seem to love or hate.
That’s why I was so perplexed to find that my ultimate reaction to the book was: “Meh.”
Lem’s writing is interesting; he’s certainly got a gift for description. His eerie account of the planet Solaris’ surface really set the tone of the book and got me all readied up for some serious creeping-out.
But the actual plot of the book was just a little bit of a letdown. Dr. Kris Kelvin has just arrived on the planet Solaris for a stint of research. Just before his arrival, one of his colleagues died under suspicious circumstances. On top of that, there are signs that there may be others on the research station — despite the fact that it would be impossible for anyone other than the scientists to get to the station in the first place.
When Kelvin is visited by someone from his past, he begins to lose his grip on reality.
The whole “visitor” thing was a little “meh” to me. There was so much promise; the “giant Negress” (thanks for that oh-so-modern and politically correct translation, book) that was Gibarian’s visitor was so creepy and mysterious. And then we get Rheya (Kelvin’s visitor), and the whole thing just wasn’t nearly as creepy as I expected it to be.
And the ending — it kinda felt like a cop-out to me.
But it can’t be denied that Lem writes beautifully, and I’d read the book again just to drink in his poetic descriptions.