„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 Polish literary work – to the core of its genre, to the canon: a novel about contact with aliens cannot be omitted in discussions of world science fiction. Why has „Solaris” achieved this status? Probably because the book not only present the most original vision of the alien world known to science fiction, but in the most interesting and emotional way present the drama of cognition and its entanglement in literature, in telling stories that is so inseparable for human culture.
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.
At nineteen hundred hours ship’s time I climbed down the metal ladder past the bays on either side into the capsule. Inside, there was just enough room to raise my elbows. After I attached the end of the cables into the port jutting from the side of the capsule, my space suit filled with air and from that point on I couldn’t make the slightest movement. I stood, or rather hung suspended, in a bed of air, all of one piece with my metal shell.
Raising my eyes through the convex porthole I could see the walls of the bay and higher up, leaning in, Moddard’s face. It quickly disappeared and everything went dark as the heavy protective cone was put in place from above. I heard the eight-times-repeated whirr of the electric motors tightening the screws. Then the hiss of air entering the shock absorbers. My eyes were getting using to the dark. I could already make out the pale green shape of the only gauge.
“Ready, Kelvin?” I heard in my headset.
“Ready, Moddard,” I replied.
“Don’t worry about a thing. The Station’ll bring you in,” he said. “Bon voyage!”
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. “Solaris” soon will be available as an Audible audio-book. During the second half of 2011 – also as an e-book.
The question of publication in book form lies in the hands of the right holder to volume edition.