Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Solaris

How a Movie Made Me Read Three Books and What That Has to Do with Self-Publishing

The movie was Solaris (starring Natascha McElhone and George Clooney) and I thought that it could be the weirdest example of cinema I may ever have seen and liked… 

Semi-Spoiler Short Description: A man flies to a space station very far from home and has to deal with meeting a woman he thought was dead

The story had been done before on film in Poland.

Both films were inspired by the novel Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

Being an avid reader of Sci-Fi (and, according to some folks, having written some Sci-Fi myself…), I’d heard of Mr. Lem but not read him.

I hadn’t gotten very far into the book when I knew it was going to be much better than the movie.

In fact, later research uncovered Mr. Lem’s appraisal of both Solaris films:

They departed “…far from his original intentions by focusing almost exclusively on the psychological relationship between the two main characters, while reducing the vast and alien ocean to a mere ‘mirror’ of humanity.”

Yes, the “main character” could be said to have been the Ocean; though, Hollywood was incapable of casting a star in that role—Mr. Lem, however, did give the Lead to the Ocean

Most interestingly, to me, was an ocean I created in my novel (the one some folks think is Sci-Fi) that could have been a distant cousin to Mr. Lem’s ocean—actually, in both cases, it’s probably more “technically” accurate to talk about the self-consciousness of the Planet rather than just the ocean

The book Solaris was so good I went on and read The Invincible by Mr. Lem—also a good read.

Basing my next decision on the “proven” scientific maxim, Third Time’s A Charm, I read Lem’s book His Master’s Voice

Actually, I started to read the book and almost stopped reading it—then, after reading more, I did stop reading it—then, I gave the book a reprieve and finished it.

I don’t think I’d recommend His Master’s Voice to very many people but I did “appreciate” it

If you’ve spent years reading mainstream science and philosophy and you can “appreciate” books that have next to no action for the characters except thinking and talking, then I might recommend it to you

I’ve certainly read multiple books by other authors and noticed differences in treatment from book to book (sometimes, great difference…); but, His Master’s Voice, compared to Solaris and The Invincible, was a Huge Departure in voice, tone, diction, plot, characterization, and story arc

But, buried in this book, that I sacrificed time and thought and feeling for, was a quote that made me write this blog post.

The following is dedicated to all authors who self-publish then face the tasks of book promotion:

“In the childhood of our civilization only select, well-educated individuals were able to read and write, and much the same criterion held after the invention of printing; and even if the works of imbeciles were published (which, I suppose, is impossible to avoid completely), their total number was not astronomical, as it is today. Today, in the flood of garbage, valuable publications must go under, because it is easier to find one worthwhile book among ten worthless than a thousand among a million. Moreover, the phenomenon of pseudo plagiarism becomes inevitable—the unintentional repetition of the ideas of others who are unknown.”

His Master’s Voice was published in 1968, well before the Explosion called “Self-Publishing”………

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