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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Galileo's Dream is a dense and complicated novel, but its surprisingly gripping just the same. I won't write any spoilers here except to say that the story jumps from a detailed and fascinating account of Galileo's day to day life of sixteenth-century politics, science, religion, his inventions and family drama to a strange new science fictional world that blends in an eerie way with his real life. This book is unique and captivating. I'm an old KSR fan and definitely felt like I got my money's worth. Four stars.
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on June 8, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm of mixed minds about this.

Galileo came across as a really brilliant thinker... and also very problematic as a human being. The way he treated his daughters..!

But- it does give, I think, a pretty reasonable cultural context for him.

The more SF bits... well, I found them interesting, but not all that compelling; they did seem to belong to a different narrative.

I look forward to reading it again, in another couple of years.
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Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Kim Stanley Robinson has again transcended the gheto of Science Fiction. In a book of ideas and characters, he carries the reader from 16th century Florence to the moons of Jupiter in the 31st century seen through the eyes of Galileo. Gelileo"s Dreams manages to be both a historical romance, and a meditation on the nature of time by one of our greatest writers.
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on June 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
great idea for a book, interesting concept. Probably rambled too much and too many rarely used and made up words for a good read flow
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on July 27, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Others have written more completely on this book, but I had to add my 2 cents: This is a great example of speculative fiction, where the use of Sci-Fi is entirely subservient to the author's desire to illustrate sociological and interpersonal issues. This is not a Science Fiction book in any real sense, and the "Sci Fi" parts of it are (as noted by many others) beautifully "illustrated" but weak. What compelled me was the characterization of Gallileo, his time, the possibility of (and hope for) change in human mores. I almost disliked the first half of the book, but I kept on and was pleased to have read it. That's been my experience with much of Kim Stanley Robinson. Some heavy going and implausibility early, but ultimately books you're happy to have read.
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on July 2, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Kim Stanley Robinson is an author who regularly leaves me in awe - sometimes spellbound, sometimes confused, sometimes plain lost in irrelevant details. "Galileo's Dream" takes off like a nice summer afternoon and it is the most enjoyable part to participate in the mystery and the adventure of scientific discovery. I went back a few times to the scene where Galileo first observes the moons of Jupiter and becomes aware of the magnitude of this discovery. Again when he draws his conclusions from the motion of sunspots. This is exactly what science writing should do, convey a kind of poetry through the description of facts that is not overloaded with adjectives or comparisons. Here is a prime example of what makes science a thrilling endeavor.

The Jovian episodes start very intriguing, but at about a third into the book there is the typical Robinson effect for me. I get lost in details and it is not apparent what or if at all things are important. There are plenty of good ideas and this is likely one of the best explanations for time travel (in both directions that is). Unfortunately a large fraction of the core of the book felt a little feverish to me in the sense that is was not a nice daydream but rather delusional and unreal.

In the end, the story picks up speed again when Galileo faces the inquisition. Although the endless questions and answers that mingle with theological and political intrigues seem rather dry, this is where Robinson excels and I pictured Galileo as a human again.

I purchased this book without reading anything about the story. Maybe that was a mistake, but the title didn't seem to need any further explanation. Naturally, the Jovian parts came as a surprise. In the end, this book might have been better as a purely historical story. But it is Kim Stanley Robinson after all and his ambitious ideas alone deserve the utmost credit. It would be nice to see a few shorter works of his at some point, but I'll find my way through the other ones as well.
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on January 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is AMAZING.

I am generally not one to rave on about a book, but this was really great.
I have read other Kim Stanly Robinson books that sounded promising going in - great idea / interesting premise - that really got bogged down in the minutia of the telling.
Mostly now I am thinking of the Mars books: Red, Green, Blue & Martians.
They sounded so promising, but ended up being largely boring by the time I was through with them.

Galileo's Dream though was a thoughtful and thought provoking mixture of a historical retelling of the second half (+/-) of his life, mixed with several interludes in which far future scientists enlist his aid in a problem of their own on the moons of Jupiter.

I will admit that somewhere between a few and all - depending on your opinions - of the trips in time in space seem more than a little pointless, but for some reason it doesnt detract from the story in any way to me. Maybe it just adds enough SCI-FI to what would otherwise be a mildly fictionalized historical account - but it works for me.

It was entertainning, and engrossing, and I found myself tearing through it in no time at all.
I am still not sure if this in more of an indication of KSR at his best, or if this book in particular just sparked my own imagination in a a very personal way - but I recommend this book very highly.
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on September 24, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is the first book by Kim Stanley Robinson that I have read since the Mars Series. I found it somewhat interesting but alittle tedious at times. There are plotlines which seem to be longwinded which I think the author is trying to convey timescales through the length of said plotlines. The technique is interesting because you find yourself reading through those sections of the book as quickly as you can to get back to the plotline you just left. I did like how the story seems to weave the historical narrative we all know in with the story of the future. What would Galileo say about the progression of history from his time to far into the future? I think on that score, Robinson has done a good job.
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on September 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a very well-written book that stays with you a bit. It is not a quick read, but one that really makes you think about how science, religion, and cultural mores are entangled within society and our lives, , a "sci-fi historical fiction," that is quite entertaining and thought provoking..
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on January 5, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Just brilliant. Robinson is a master with an extraordinary ability to create with such confidence. Very good story teller. He keeps getting better and better. I haven't read everything he has written, but, I am close. Just a joy to see his stories unfold with such vigor and vision.
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