Solaris by Stanisław Lem

A depth psychology hard science fiction suspense novel.

This is a science fiction classic. Lem’s work delves deeply into hard science clubbed with a bundle of philosophy. His writing may not be for everyone (as opposed to pulp sci-fi) because his goes really deep into subject matter. If you like the science in fiction however, Solaris if for you. At the heart of it, Solaris has a fairly simple plot.

Kris Kelvin travels to the planet Solaris to study the world’s vast oceans. He’s assaulted by repressed memories of a loved one who’d passed away long ago. As it turns out, other researchers on the planet have been having similar memories being brought into their conscious minds. Once these dots are connected, the story gets interesting.

Kris and the scientists studying the planet hypothesize if the planet’s ocean might itself be a vast brain of some sort. An intelligence with complex behaviour which affects the entire planet, including orbital corrections. The very definition of intelligence becomes a topic of debate. On an orbital platform above the planet, Kris gets drawn into distilling the basics of life and sentience itself.

Why are Cris and the other researchers having these experiences? How are they related to Solaris? Can it all be just fantasy? There’s a lot of mystery surrounding everything they hypothesize about the planet and the two suns of the star system. Would and should they attempt to contact the intelligence on Solaris?

Lem often dives into debate exploring the human psyche and the ability of the mind to grasp the workings of the intelligent world and the larger universe it exists in. Solaris makes for an interesting read that delves into various deep science aspects of space travel, investigating new worlds and the human mind.