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Book Review: Solaris

★★☆☆☆ 2 / 5

It would be outlandish to presume that a renowned author like Stanislaw Lem had never heard of the three-act literary structure. Therefore, I cannot explain why he has forsaken it when writing this book. He has an incredibly interesting setting and premise, but fails to build any sort of real story around it.

Nothing happens in this book. Whole chapters are dedicated to long descriptions of fictional scientific works and studies; in a 300 page book, that’s a large chunk of the material. There is a turning point, very early in the novel, but no rising action and no climax. The main character has no agency; he only feels but does not act.

It’s too bad; I really like the premise, the way the author depicts how incomprehensible an alien life-form can really be, to the point where you have to ask yourself: is it even alive? What does “alive” really mean now? Sadly, beyond that, the book just fails to keep you interested in the characters.

Fact Sheet

  • Author: Stanisław Lem
  • Publisher: Wydawnictwo MON