I've considered Solaris one of the best science fiction novels ever written, as it is really one of the few that addresses a major concept overlooked by many (communication between humans and aliens). The book may seem a little drawn out to many, as it was written by a Polish/Eastern Bloc writer. Stanislaw Lem is an interesting artist, but he doesn't write with the space opera ease you'll find in most Western novels. It's one of the few science fiction novels that I would say could qualify for that snobbish category of "literary fiction". The original 1972 movie is also great. The remake with George Clooney is surprisingly true to the book, though the ending tends to take after the original movie rather than the novel. Both are worth watching, and I think reading Solaris can be a rewarding experience for the science fiction aficionado.