It is a long short story kind of sci-fi. A single interesting idea, which could be the starting point of so many different ways to develop a story. The idea of a planet size other being/civilization - what to call it? And then, the anthropomorphic contact from a different intelligence is reminiscent of my other recent read, Sagan's Contact.
There is a George Clooney movie as well on the story. Haven't watched the movie yet.
The book was very interesting. However wouldn't rate it at the top with the best kind of sci-fi. Great idea, but there could be so much more. There was a lot there, but somehow, I ended up reading quickly over the bits about the other world's history, and the politics of the science etc. There were some brilliant concepts, and insights about human approach to new exploration. Some ideas that I quite liked:
- the single consciousness lost in some sort of contemplation about the universe and its own nature?
- the frequent expression and destruction cycle - the creative representation, the art, the math.
- the idea that it copies, replicates to try to understand the other
- the way of contact - of literally reading the conscious and subconscious thoughts, of communicating through dreams.
- the general approach and discussion around contact, and the human aspiration of contact. And the general idea of a consciousness which is not human.
I enjoyed reading it, but I guess I am biased when it comes to sci-fi. I expect so much more! And forget that it is fiction. And end up getting disappointed. However beautifully or brilliantly written, the fiction cannot quench the thirst of needing to know what is out there.
Still, we seek.
PS: Normally I do not link other external articles here, but for a good quick read on Stanislaw Lem, and Solaris and the movie, visit this article from Wired. As to linking external blogs - there are hundreds of places I can begin, but where do I stop? So, as a matter of keeping it simple, will remove this external link once I have done my reading around Lem.