Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson

Galileo's DreamNew readers (which is pretty much everyone) will fnd a strong prediliction for Science Fiction here at Ex Libris.  But be assured - I take great care to choose titles that are easily accessible to non-Sci-fi oriented readers (i.e., not geeks).  Kim Stanley Robinson is always a great pick - a seamless blend of big concepts and initmate human feelings.

Robinson is best known for the Mars trilogy (Red, Green and Blue), his recent Weather triad (Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days and Counting), and his groundbreaking trilogy depicting three very different near-futures for Orange County, CA (The Wild Shore, Pacific Edge and The Gold Coast). 

In Galileo's Dream, Robinson posits a Galileo that is guided into his development of the telescope, as well as his astronomical observations that will eventually attract the unwanted attentions of the Catholic Inquisition, by mysterious figures from the future, who seek to alter the historical relationship of science and religion.  But the real story and beauty of this novel is the extraordinarily detailed and nuanced portrayal of Galileo himself, with all of his flaws, biases and arrogance, and how the subtle manipulation by outside forces causes him to reexamine his own personal history, and choices. 
The novel covers roughly 25 years in the life of the "First Scientist", and draws on a wealth of documentation, combined with a brilliantly imaginative story of advanced scientists attempting to use the great man as a pawn in their own collision of faith in reason, far in the future.  Like another Robinson title, The Years of Rice and Salt, the author deals with big issues and broad concepts, reflected through the minds of characters who ultimately display their profound humanity by admitting how little they really know. 

1 comment:

  1. Review added at KimStanleyRobinson.info!


    (thank Google for that finding!)