Galileo's Dream was a fascinating novel with a really cool concept. In the novel people from the future living in Jupiter go into the past to meet Galileo. Under the pretense of helping him with his telescope discovery, they transport him into the future to Jupiter. They bring him there because of a problem they are having with a group of Jovians who want to go into the ocean of one of Jupiter's moons. They hope that Galileo will provide them with insight to the problems they are currently facing. The book goes back and forth from past to future as Galileo returns to his time, then goes back to Jupiter various times. It's a blend of what occurs in the life and times of Galileo and what is happening in Jupiter, which Kim Stanley Robinson skillfully pulls off. In the hands of a lesser writer, this could be confusing.
For the most part this was an enjoyable tale, but it is also a bit long winded. In particular, Robinson includes many letters from Galileo and testimony from trials, which really slows the novel down. I thought he could have lopped off about 20% of it without missing a beat. Also, I thought the novel suffered from a lack of focus on the plot. As I mentioned, it occurs over a long period of time, and there tends to be a rambling quality about it. If the author narrowed the plot and cut a lot of the fluff out, this would be a much more effective novel. Despite these things, it was both entertaining and informative. A good science fiction read.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street