on the surface of solaris

It was like looking at the ruins of an ancient town, a Moroccan city tens of centuries old, convulsed by an earthquake or some other disaster. I made out a tangled web of winding sidestreets choked with debris, and alleyways which fell abruptly towards the oily foam that floated close to the shore. In the middle distance, great battlements stood intact, sustained by ossified buttresses. There were dark openings in the swollen, sunken walls — traces of windows or loop-holes. The whole of this floating town canted to one side or another like a foundering ship, pitched and turned slowly, and the sun cast continually moving shadows, which crept among the ruined alleys. Now and again a polished surface caught and reflected the light.