Stanisław Lem - Forum

English => Forum in English => Wątek zaczęty przez: raskolnikov w Październik 31, 2006, 10:55:12 pm

Tytuł: Return from the Stars
Wiadomość wysłana przez: raskolnikov w Październik 31, 2006, 10:55:12 pm

this is my first post. I adore the works of stanislaw lem; he is the only science-fiction author I know to blend lyrical prose with "hard" science/philosophical ideas.

Last night I finished Return from the Stars. Not finding a post about it, I was curious what the forum-goers here think of it. Specifically, I wonder what everyone makes of the ending, the character arc of Hal Bregg, and what thematic conclusions one could draw from that arc. I found the novel to be interestingly ambiguous, and perhaps very personal. It begins with many indictments of the betrizated society, but ends [seemingly] with ambivalence/acceptance on Bregg's part of this brave new world. Incidentally, I feel the prose also descends into a kind of ambiguity near the end, particularly the dialogue. One wonders whether the novel could have benefitted from a slightly longer denouement; the marriage to Eri and last act of the book seem either rushed or invested with symbolism so as to make a bill of particulars unnecessary; thoughts?

And, what do you all think of the ending's pronouncement? To me, Bregg's "going home" seems to be a rejection of the stars/exploration and praise of the "world-inside." But I admit that interpretation is heavily colored by my own experiences.  ;)

[[as an aside, its funny how some people whom I consider very intelligent don't "get" stanislaw lem. My Mom, for instance, couldn't stand Solaris and felt the writing style was unbearably dry--exactly the opposite of how I described his prose as starkly beautiful, cutting, crushing.]]

Tytuł: Re:  Return from the Stars
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Listopad 02, 2006, 12:11:46 am
 Well, I've read Return... once, but I don't remember much of it. Too long ago it was.
As for the remark about Your mother's dislike of Solaris - it's interesting she reacted this way, it may be a matter of her personal preferences and expectations towards prose, but not necesarily. I love reading some of Lem's works, I mean I enjoy reading them, but there are certain pieces (take A perfect vacuum) for example, dealing with which seems a kind of hellish torment for me (this is ONLY my opinion...). In a way I can agree, it sometimes gets dry, maybe too much scientifical also...

Nevertheless I can hardly believe that it was actually Solaris where this features were found by Your mother, since I always claimed this book to be one of the less rational and more emotional. Well, maybe then we should all thank God Your mother hasn't  read Summa Technologiae...

PS. You can consider resizing Your avatar... I mean it kicks butt & stuff, but is a little big:
      (Luckily, only loads once...)
Tytuł: Re:  Return from the Stars
Wiadomość wysłana przez: raskolnikov w Listopad 02, 2006, 02:39:52 am
haha. sorry about the avatar, i will resize or change it--all i had on this laptop at the moment

well--to be a little snarky and snidey--my mom also loves james joyce. i think her favorite book is portrait of the artist as a young man. i hated it, for what id call histrionics and melodrama (prose and story). i do agree that it is personal preference: differently tuned sensitivity to prose.

of course, its funny to talk about the prose of translations: in college i did extensive translations of japanese literature, and was impressed by the difficulty in conveying the feeling "under" the direct text (the structural and atmospheric/contextual considerations people usually mean when they say "prose")...
Tytuł: Re:  Return from the Stars
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Listopad 04, 2006, 10:35:53 am
 Wow, really? You translated from Japanese? Sweet Jesus... ::) MOST Impressive, as Lord Vader used to say. I would kill to learn Japanese, but there's never been any way to achieve it ::) Guess it's kinda harder to learn it here  in Poland, dunno...