It’s Thursday and that means it’s Thursty Ears Thursday. Here’s a FREE Audible file that you can download and enjoy. This time, it’s a free first chapter of Solaris: The Definitive Edition by Stanislaw Lem translated by Bill Johnston (translator) and narrated by Alessandro Juliani. In order to download these files, you’ll need to be an Audible.com member. It’s free to open an account and you can also get a free audiobook of your choice!
A BIG THANKS again to Sammy of Palm Addicts for linking to Palm Discovery on their front page.
Please keep in mind that the links to the free files were valid when this post was published but over time, Audible may decide to remove them. So get them now just in case!
Solaris: The Definitive Edition: Free First Chapter
By: Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
Narrated by: Alessandro Juliani
Program Type: Audiobook
Length: 23 mins
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Audible.co.uk: No free download available but you can download the full audiobook, Solaris: The Definitive Edition
Audible.de: No free download available but you can download the full audiobook, Solaris: The Definitive Edition - HÖRBUCH.
At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available – just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation – complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English.
Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.
In Solaris, Kris Kelvin arrives on an orbiting research station to study the remarkable ocean that covers the planet’s surface. But his fellow scientists appear to be losing their grip on reality, plagued by physical manifestations of their repressed memories. When Kelvin’s long-dead wife suddenly reappears, he is forced to confront the pain of his past – while living a future that never was. Can Kelvin unlock the mystery of Solaris? Does he even want to?
Listen to the rest of Solaris: The Definitive Edition.
©1961 Stanislaw Lem. Translation © 2011 by Barbara and Tomasz Lem (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Audible Editor Reviews
This fine, new, direct-to-English translation of Solaris allows listeners a new opportunity to marvel at the way Stanis?aw Lem managed to pack so much into such a compact story. As well as being a gripping sci-fi mystery, his novel stands as a profound meditation on the limitations of knowledge and the impossibility of love, of truly knowing another: how a vast, cold galaxy can exist between two people. In how many relationships does the other turn out to be a projected hologram? At the book’s heart is the dark and mysterious planet of Solaris: working out what it means is half the fun of the book. One thing is clear: the possibility it offers of alien contact represents “the hope for redemption”, a Schopenhauerian longing to be rid of the endless cycle of want, need, and loss. In one passage, the main character notes with a touch of envy that, “automats that do not share mankind’s original sin, and are so innocent that they carry out any command, to the point of destroying themselves”. The motivating forces that have traditionally sustained mankind – love, relationships, belonging – are exposed as so much space debris. In a book that contains one of the most tragic love stories in modern literature, the idea of a love more powerful than death is “a lie, not ridiculous but futile”.
Alessandro Juliani is a veteran of television’s Battlestar Galactica, though here it’s a young, pre-parody William Shatner-as-Captain Kirk that his performance sometimes evokes: the same cool, clipped delivery and occasional eccentric choice of emphasis. If he occasionally under-serves the book’s dread-filled poetry, his character studies clearly carry the wounds of their earlier lives: at first, his Kris is an opaque tough guy, coolly removed from the unfolding, terrible events, until he touchingly gives way in the end to an overwhelming sense of loss. His performance as Snout is a mini-masterpiece in feral intensity, an intelligence crushed by the immense weight of limbo. As Harey, caught in “apathetic, mindless suspension”, he manages to make his voice unfocussed and passive, as if distilling the bottomless sadness of her self-awareness of her own unreality. It’s also a strong tribute to his performance that he can carry the pages and pages of philosophising, argumentative theology, and semi-parodic scientific reports without coming across as didactic. What could easily drag the story to a standstill is, in this recording, compellingly conveyed as an essential part of Lem’s heartfelt investigation into the painful limitations of human knowledge. — Dafydd Phillips
What the Critics Say
“Few are [Lem's] peers in poetic expression, in word play, and in imaginative and sophisticated sympathy.” (Kurt Vonnegut)
“[Lem was] a giant of mid-20th-century science fiction, in a league with Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick.” (The New York Times)
“Juliani transmits Kelvin’s awe at Solaris’s red and blue dawns and makes his confusion palpable when he awakens one morning to find his long-dead wife seated across the room. Juliani’s performance is top-notch.” (AudioFile)
Wait! Before you go, why not take a FREE 14 day trial of Audible and get a FREE Audible Audiobook of your choice! Choose from amongst the Best Sellers like The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, Super Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Steven J. Dubner, What The Dog Saw and other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell or any other titles of your choice.
Enjoyed this FREE Audible file? Check out the huge list of FREE Audible files I have mentioned previously. Keep in mind that some of them may no longer be available as Audible may have pulled them since. Grab yourself a tasty beverage and enjoy!
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