March 27, 2012

Solaris Is A Novel Printed In Polish

tristero at Hullabaloo recommends Solaris The Definitive Edition, a recent translation made directly into English of Stanislaw Lem's Polish science fiction classic, Solaris, an edition commissioned by Lem's estate, and now available to read in Amazon's Kindle-delivered ebook format.

I understand that the version of Solaris I read years ago was only more or less adequately translated into English from somebody else's mediocre French translation of Lem's original, and not to be taken seriously for all the reasons. I don't remember it as a very remarkable read. Tarkovsky's Solaris, on the other hand, is a very good thing to see, even granting tristero's point that Tarkovsky is trying to make over Lem's material for his own purposes entirely, not to realize Lem's vison of Solaris on the screen, but to realize his own. Steven Soderbergh tried not to remake Tarkovsky's film, but fell into its gravity well and the result was an English language version inflected by a Russian version of Lem's Polish original, translated from print to screen.

Lem hated versions of Solaris, print and film. He stood by the original.

The Kindle audiobook of the new English edition is more readily available than the text itself, a sign that the Lem estate not only commissioned this edition but also gave Amazon some exclusive limited right to distribute the thing. A collector's item in the age of mechanical reproduction.

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