“Galileo’s Dream” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Spectra, 2008)

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Kim Stanley Robinson tries something different to his usual classic science fiction novels in Galileo’s Dream, employing a combined story of Galileo’s life as a scientist with an unusual setup on a moon of Saturn in the distant future.  The result is an incredible novel that uses all of the great styles and abilities that Robinson has to offer with his complex, developed writing style, the excellent research, the hard science fiction, and an incredible, unique story.

Galileo’s Dream essentially has two storylines going on that involve Galileo Galilei: one is the moving story of Galileo’s life in becoming a hard scientist, scrutinizing everything, researching and learning, coming up with new inventions, and studying the heavens every day.  As his popularity grows and his ideas and theories on the Copernican idea of the universe – that everything does not revolve around the Earth, but that the planets revolve around the sun – turn to proven facts in his mind and he tries to publish works claiming this, he begins to feel the wrath of the church and more importantly the Pope who he though would be an ally and is instead turning into an adversary.

The other story to Galileo’s Dream is when Galileo uses his recently invented telescope with superior lenses, he discovers the moons of Jupiter – which are known as the Galilean moons – and in a moment is magically transported from the seventeenth century to the year 3020 on the moon of Europa where he must help the strange looking inhabitants with their own problems.  Each time he is transported back to his time, he remembers a little more of his forays into the distant future.

Galileo’s Dream is a unique story that could only have been conceived of in the mind of Kim Stanley Robinson, taking the reader on a journey they won’t soon forget, as they learn about the incredible life of someone often referred to as the world’s first scientist, as well as being entertained by an engrossing science fiction story set in the thirty-first century.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on March 11th 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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