Ian MacLarty

returning-to-the-catacombs-of-solaris,-a-nascent-“artsport” Rock,Paper,Shotgun

Returning to The Catacombs Of Solaris, a nascent “artsport”

Stansław Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris places its protagonist, Kris, alongside several other scientists on a base orbiting a mysterious planet that features an amorphous, strangely sentient sea. The book captures the uncanny feeling of encountering and attempting to understand a sort of alien intelligence that is completely incomprehensible from a human perspective. The forms the planetary sea makes appear aboard the ship are just off enough, a naïve reconstruction of Kris’ dead lover, for instance, that there is an obvious attempt to communicate coming from the planet, but also a gap and unpredictability that can make it unnerving, or uncanny….