Stanisław Lem - Forum

English => Forum in English => Wątek zaczęty przez: Dragon of Improbability w Kwiecień 26, 2011, 07:36:05 pm

Wiadomość wysłana przez: Dragon of Improbability w Kwiecień 26, 2011, 07:36:05 pm
As some of you probably know, Michael Crichton (who has been compared to Lem by the author of the Vitrifax Lem site on the topic of "the pleasures of made-up science") wrote SPHERE, a novel with a few similarities with SOLARIS. Richard Ellis, author of THE SEARCH FOR THE GIANT SQUID and MONSTERS OF THE SEA, descibed SPHERE as "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea meets 2001 meets Alien," while Roger Ebert, who watched the film version of SPHERE, called it a watered down version of SOLARIS (it's something when an American critic can tell when mainstream science-fiction borrows from high-brow science-fiction, especially Lem's fiction). How Crichton created a work with SOLARIS-like aspects, I don't know, but I do see that there are similarities, even though one book is a cerebral study of humanity's relationship to the unknowable, and the other book is a thriller with a similar theme in mind, but relies more on thrills and suspense nonetheless.

                                Both books take place a specially designed stations
 Characters from both books have repressed problems which are manifested by an alien thing.
                                   Both stories take place in watery environments.
However, in SPHERE  (which takes place in the middle of the Pacific ocean in a spaceship from the future, and not on a water planet), the scientists are incredibly petty, and the Sphere unfortunately manifests everything a person can imagine, including their fears, but only if that person manages to open the Sphere and enter it. With SOLARIS, the planet only manifest one particular person from a visitor's repressed memory. The abilities of Solaris are evidently more emotionally straining than the Sphere's, yet I admit that my favorite part of SPHERE is when a giant squid is manifested from one of the fears of Harry the mathematician. (I'm attracted to sea monster stories with plenty of imagination, but most sea monster books, mainly by Peter Benchley and Steve Alten, are pulp science fiction. I want to someday take the Lemian approach to sea monster stories, by writing the giant squid equivalent of THE STAR DIARIES).  Even though some of the characters from SOLARIS are rather egotistical and patronizing, SPHERE's characters behave like they shouldn't belong in the scientific field. Their pettiness, as I've mentioned before, consists of pseudo-scientific ambitions, efficient weapon discoveries, suspicions of racism and sexism, and severe levels of persecusion complex. I still like both books side by side, but I wonder how much Lem might have improved SPHERE with his own writing, even if it is sort of a watered-down horror version of the superior SOLARIS. While Crichton does tend to take himself a bit seriously, Lem is more sharply satirical than Crichton is, and Lem's satire always has a serious intent.

What are your thoughts, Solarists?
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 27, 2011, 01:14:42 am
Oh, just one thought: plagiarism.

I havent read/seen it, therefore it's just first thought. I will search some info on this :)
But thanks for sharing, it's nice to hear from you now and then:)
Wiadomość wysłana przez: lunar w Lipiec 14, 2011, 08:32:15 pm
Maybe it's a kind of 'in the like of' like a lot of fantasy is in the style of Tolkien maybe Sphere is in the style of Solaris, so not plagiarism just following a similar pattern with a different story.  I also haven't read it so it's just a thought.
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Lipiec 14, 2011, 08:57:04 pm
Yeah well, I think the pattern, as you call it, is in Lem's case such a great thing, that it cannot be followed by some other guy without him making a fun of himself:) But hey, let's give it a chance maybe... When I retire... or whatever...