From Publishers Weekly
The creative imagination of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus–winner Robinson (The Years of Rice and Salt
) is on display in this offbeat novel of scientific discovery. In 1609, a stranger tells Galileo Galilei about a recent Dutch device that magnifies distant objects. The Italian scientist develops his own version, and the success of his telescope brings him recognition and acclaim. Forty pages in, the book changes genres abruptly as the stranger brings Galileo to Europa, the second moon of Jupiter, in a far future where various factions quarrel over plans to colonize the distant sphere. During the course of several trips through time and space, Galileo becomes something of a pawn in the political conflicts while gaining treasured glimpses of the future of science. Readers will eagerly share Galileo's curiosity and astonishment at the wonders of both the past and the future. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In early-seventeenth-century Venice, a mysterious stranger tells Galileo about magnifying lenses he has seen in the Netherlands, inspiring the scientist to construct a workable spyglass and later view the bodies in the night sky with it. One night, in company with the visitor, Galileo is transported centuries into the future and spatially to the moons of Jupiter. He’s the center of a dispute there between those who believe that, if he does certain things, their future will never come to pass and those who don’t believe it. Thereafter, Galileo strives to understand the wonders of what, during apparent syncopes, he is seeing on the Jovian moons, while earning his living and making his own discoveries in Italy. The latter eventually lead to arraignment for heresy for supporting the Copernican theory. Robinson skillfully melds the disputes of seventeenth-century Italy and speculation on future philosophical conflict, meanwhile providing an engrossing portrait of the epochal scientist—so engrossing that one may feel tempted to learn Tuscan to see how true-to-life Robinson’s depiction is. --Frieda Murray