Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker:
Many of Robinson’s twenty-one science-fiction novels are ecological in theme, and this coming summer he will publish “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” a memoir that is also a rich geological and cultural history of the range. After returning from Deadman, he updated the manuscript to include the vanished glaciers. He told me about them a couple of weeks later, while we were driving through California, toward our own backpacking trip in the Sierras. Tan and trim, with silver hair and wire-rim eyeglasses, Robinson rode in the back seat of the car, looking out at wildfire smoke. The night before, he’d outfitted me with some of his own minimalist backpacking gear; while he’d assembled it, I’d wandered around his house, inspecting his library. Walls of shelves contained British literature, American literature, and science fiction. Other areas were organized by subject (Antarctica, Mars, economics, prehistory, Thoreau). Shelves were dedicated to volumes about Galileo, which Robinson had read while writing “Galileo’s Dream,” a highly detailed historical novel, published in 2009. Mario Biagioli, a historian of science and a Galileo expert who’d helped Robinson with the research, was the third member of our backpacking party; an accomplished giant-slalom skier, endurance cyclist, and transatlantic sailor, he drove us expertly, hugging the curves.