First published in The Times, Monday September 16 2019
The best-known novel by the Polish science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem is a story that never dies. Solaris, which depicts a group of scientists attempting contact with a seemingly sentient planet, has been filmed three times, notably by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and Steven Soderbergh in 2002, and has been adapted several times for theatre and opera.
First published in The Times, Friday February 10 2017
The iconic status of Mary Shelley’s creation is mainly thanks to a Hollywood makeup artist named Jack Pierce. He dreamt up the image of the flat-topped monster with bolts in his neck, made immortal by Boris Karloff in James Whale’s 1931 film adaption, that has long eclipsed the “shrivelled complexion and straight black lips” of the creature in the original novel.