Apr 262012
 

Author: Kim Stanley Robinson

Pages: 532

Publisher: Spectra Ballentine

Release Date: 8/6/2009

Genre: Science Fiction, Fictionalized Historical

Characters:

Galileo Galilei- 17th century Italian, Mathematician, Physicist and Astronomer.

Maria Celeste- Galileo’s faithful daughter.

Pope Urban VIII – Pope during Galileo’s later trial.

Cartophilius- Lives in Renaissance Italy, and works in Galileo’s household. Also from the future and transports Galileo to future.

Ganymede- Cult leader from one of Jupiter’s moons in the future.

Hera- Advanced mind therapist from future, helps Galileo work on issues.

Aurora- Future scientist that uses advanced computers and helps Galileo catch up on scientific advances.

Synopsis: Brilliant 17th century astronomer Galileo interrupts his normal real-world history with journeys to the moons of Jupiter in the future. In the 17th century he discovers 4 of Jupiter’s moons and deals with charges of heresy from the Catholic church and in the future he encounters alien intelligences. At the same time he attempts to reconcile religion and science and to avoid science being a slave to power.

Analysis:Kim Stanley Robinson has been one of my favorite author’s since I read his Mars Trilogy. His novels have a nice combination of scientific knowledge and character depth. Galileo’s Dream continues with this and really puts a human face on a great scientist and sheds light on the thought processes behind some of his discoveries. Also, up until the parts where Galileo travels into the future the novel seems close to the historical Galileo, but I would have liked to see more information about Robinson’s research.

Pro:

  • Possibly an indirect continuation of the mars series.
  • Carnival on Callisto has some really amazing costumes.
  • Galileo’s reactions to the English philosophers.

Con:

  • Reader may need to consult a dictionary, physics book and biography of Galileo.

Conclusion: This is a very good book. After 532 pages I feel as if I lived with Galileo and that he was a real living and breathing person. If the reader is like me, they will find themselves researching anyone and everyone named in the book.

Score: 4.31/5

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