Stanisław Lem did not like both adaptations of his novel Solaris — neither by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972, nor by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. After the release of the American version, starring George Clooney, Lem said irritably, “I thought Tarkovsky’s Solaris was the worst.”
The first film adaptation almost fell through. In 1969, having met with Andrei Tarkovsky in the Peking hotel in Moscow, Stanisław Lem was horrified when he learned about Tarkovsky’s vision of the future film. Lem sarcastically remarked that instead of Solaris, Tarkovsky was going to shoot Crime and Punishment, but still gave permission to shoot, since it was not in his rules to prohibit anything.
As a result, thanks to Tarkovsky’s film, Solaris became Lem’s most famous work, eclipsing his Summa Technologiae philosophical essay. In Summa Technologiae, written in 1963, Lem predicted the creation in the near future of artificial intelligence and virtual reality — the most rapidly developing areas in the technology market today.
Despite his incredible popularity among the Soviet intelligentsia and many visits to the Soviet Union, born in Lviv Lem could not bring himself to visit Lviv again. He traveled all over the Soviet Union, even stopped in Kharkiv, but could not come back to his beloved Lviv, which he left in 1946.
In his own words, it would have been like a visit to a former beloved woman who already had a new husband and children from him. He left his memories of Lviv, his childhood and youth, in the novel Highcastle: A Remembrance.