Kim Stanley Robinson's next novel is Galileo's Dream and deals with themes dear to KSR: history, science and science fiction. Frankly, it does sound a bit out there, compared to the realism of most of KSR's previous works. It appears to be a mix of a historical novel on science and religion and world-building science fiction on time-travelling (?) Jupiter-dwelling future humans.
The description reminds me of Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men, in which humans from the far future (the eighteenth race of humans, actually) contact a member of our present (the first race) and recount all the future history and evolution of humans throughout billions of years. A mind-blowing novel that is one of a kind, which I really recommend. Since KSR is quoted recommending it in the back cover of its latest edition, it might very well have been somewhat of an inspiration for Galileo's Dream.
Interestingly enough, Johannes Kepler, German astronomer contemporary to Galileo, wrote Somnium ("dream" in Latin): an account of how the Earth could be seen from the moon. Does Galileo's dream parallel Kepler's dream?
It is due to be published very soon in the UK, August 2009. The first reviews have started popping up. Check out this very appetizing reviewer's blog entry -- in latin! This is the UK cover that has been in online announcements, on the right. The Daily Mail quote refers to the Mars novels, let's hope it will be removed for the final printed cover.
It is due to be published in December in the USA.
Galileo's Dream on KSR.info: post your comments and reviews
Galileo's Dream page on MangalaWiki