In the novel 'Solaris', by Stanslaw Lem, Kris Kelvin notices that the automats are all missing after he arrives on Solaris Station. He questions Snaut about this, but the latter refuses to explain.

It's soon revealed that

The Ocean is manifesting people from the crew's memories, and Snaut can't explain it to Kelvin because he knows that Kelvin will think he's insane. Instead, he has to wait for Kelvin to experience it for himself.

However, Snaut and Kelvin have laid their cards on the table by the end of the book but, as far as I can tell, it's never explained why all the automats were hidden away. Given what we learn about the situation on the station, I can't think of any reason why the little helper bots would be a problem for Snaut or Sartorious.

Did I miss some clue, or was this just never explained? I can barely find a mention of the Solaris automats in Google searches, aside from direct quotes from the novel.

I am working off the 2011 English translation audio book.

  • They don't appear to make an appearance in the 1961 reprint. – Valorum Apr 17 '15 at 22:10

My translation is slightly different from yours - in mine, the "automats" are referred to as "robots" (and the character named "Snaut" in yours is named "Snow" in mine; there are probably more differences). But the automats/robots being locked away is never directly explained. My best guess is that it fits in with the general air of paranoia. By locking away the station's internal automats/robots the crew ensures that anything else moving around the station has to be a Visitor.

In chapter 1, Kelvin and Snaut/Snow have this conversation:

[Snaut/Snow] “Wait!” He had an uneasy look, as if he wanted to add something but was finding it difficult to bring out the words. After a pause, he said:
“There used to be three of us here. Now, with you, there are three of us again. Do you know Sartorius?”
[Kelvin] “In the same way as I knew you—only from his photographs.”
[Snaut/Snow] “He’s up there, in the laboratory, and I doubt if he’ll come down before dark, but… In any case, you’ll recognize him. If you should see anyone else—someone who isn’t me or Sartorius, you understand, then…”

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    That's a good point, and is certainly in-character for a pair of scientists trying to tackle a strange problem. I'll wait 24 hours to see if anyone else has a more concrete answer; if not, I'll mark this as the answer. – Liesmith Apr 17 '15 at 22:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.