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Galileo's Dream Paperback – December 28, 2010
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It's an uneasy balance between the two stories. On the one hand, we follow Galileo and get to see him as a great scientist, but also as a very fallible, hard-headed, and somewhat obnoxious person, along with thematic messages of where science should leave off and faith prevail, or perhaps meld in a type of synthesis that would have greatly altered the course of history as we know it; and on the other we observe (along with Galileo, who rarely takes any active part in the action) the efforts of the future civilization to resolve their own factional disputes while at the same time try to change the past to achieve a less horrifying path of humanity from Galileo's time to theirs.
The trouble is that these two parts are unequally balanced; Galileo's story is immediate and readily understandable, while the future society never seems to be concrete, never crystallizes into a `you are here' environment, despite strong descriptive material and some excellent scientific exposition of the known features of the Jovian moons and current theories about space-time and ten dimensional manifolds.Read more ›
The concept behind "Galileo's Dream" drew me to the book the instant I read the description: Galileo is taken from Earth to the moons of Jupiter (which he discovered) in an attempt to modify the past to make for a better future. Unfortunately, while it's a fun concept, Robinson provides an uneven implementation.
The vast majority of the book follows Galileo over the course of 30 or 40 years through his major astronomical discoveries and inventions. His is, by far, the strongest character throughout the book that includes a mix of humans from the future, Galileo's daughters, and numerous other good and bad guys from 17th century Italy.
The first several times that Galileo is spirited away by "The Stranger" the table is set for a interesting view of human life in the future, living on a moons of Jupiter. I was settling in for a nice space/time travel ride but became disappointed and the increasingly shorter visits to space and the future, and the increasing focus on philosophies of time travel, it's impact on the past, and vagueness on the battles between science and religion.
These elements are interesting and good scifi fodder, however I found them to be bluntly addressed and not well balanced with the minute details of Galileo's daily travails and triumphs.
If you're interested in a solid period piece, with strong historical research and a decent story, then I'd recommend this book. But read with appropriately measured expectations.
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of those quiet masters. Known predominantly for his Mars series, Robinson has a dedicated fan base who marvels at his vision and his storytelling. When you bring up the genre of science fiction, other names instantly gravitate toward the fore of the discussion: Asimov, Bear, Ringo, Niven, Weber. This is not to suggest that Robinson is a lesser novelist. In fact, where his Science in the Capital series on a global warming disaster of a worldwide level may have been a step back in terms of his storytelling strength, his newest book, GALILEO'S DREAM, is a surefire winner.
In GALILEO'S DREAM, we find ourselves embroiled in the scientific community and the life of Galileo Galilei in 1609. Science is expanding, and philosophers and mathematicians seek to make bold discoveries all within the shadow of the Church --- which seeks to make certain that no discoveries are too bold.
With some help from a mysterious stranger, Galileo creates a spyglass that he then expands into a telescope, which he uses to map the surface of the moon. Intrigued by the power of his own creation, he turns its sight on Jupiter. There, he discovers four moons, which he eventually determines revolve around the main planet body. His star is on the rise.
What he does not remember, however, are his late-night visitations to the moons he has recently discovered. Manipulated by the stranger who aided him in the invention of the device, Galileo is an unwitting pawn in a battle on the Jovian moons in the year 3020. One group seeks to use his mind to convince the others not to explore the oceans on the moon of Europa.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was excited at the start of this novel that blends the fascinating story of Galileo with a hidden and enticing event in the far future on a moon of Jupiter. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nathan Fairchild
How important was Galileo to science? In our culture, the most important. Read and understand.Published 2 months ago by Cheryl Hospodar-Bishop
This was a fascinating read. The interplay of science, religion, metaphysics and spirituality was mesmerizing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bob
I really expected to like this book, since Kim Stanley Robinson is a skillful and well respected writer. Instead I found it practically unreadable. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Kofoed
A good read though the pace slows down to a crawl at time. Good use of vocabulary, I had to google a few words and concepts (a good thing for the imaginative reader).Published 3 months ago by Matt
This a biographical/historical-science time travel with a lot of easy to understand physics and philosophy and theology book. It is pethaps the best sci-fi book I've ever read!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is beyond awesome! You need to read this if you have any drop of humanity in your blood!Published 3 months ago by K. Peterson