Calling Robinson a stream-of-consciousness author may be unkind, thanks to the label's attachments... let's rather peg KSR as a stream-of-ideas craftsman.
Those that made their way thru the Mars trilogy and called the journey pleasant will testify that what kept them entranced was not any certain traditional literary technique, but instead a technique possibly unique to KSR himself. KSR builds rich gardens of thought and ideas, very realistic and utterly fascinating, and then translates them into the next scene for his characters to enter. We never are fully guided through any of these idea gardens, but as we close the book, we realize that he has left a meta-map of 5 or 6 of these for our minds to explore later. KSR may be the quintesential adept of paradigm construction. If you are a scientist, thinker, writer, or inventor, KSR will certainly open up, nay -blow open- doors to new realms of thought. He's done it in every one of his books thus far, and I will continue to be first in line to buy his new hardcovers as they emerge, so that I won't have to live a day without seeing all the potentialities that KSR sees. Asimov may have created 1 or 2 of these idea gardens (psychohistory, as one), but KSR does it repeatedly. It is a totally unique experience in literature.
Speaking to The Memory of Whiteness itself, it is set in the year 3229... that alone speaks volumes, and KSR builds the finest 4th milennium stage I've ever read. You will be guided on a tour of worlds and cultures (KSR also being a master of 'culture creation', another of his distinct footprints), and the entire idea of 'music' will transform before your eyes. The story moves along with good pace, with enough complexity to entice you to read it again, and builds to an ending that will haunt your waking days. So this one certainly deserves an A+.
I sit here still enraptured. I raise a toast to Kim Stanley Robinson! May your days of formation remain prosperous...