Well, this is certainly a change of pace for the fans of Kim Stanley Robinson's epic "Mars" trilogy. That series, of course, was an intricate meshing of hard science, ecological musings, adventure, and sociological speculations. In its scope and in the wealth of issues with which it dealt, it was not unlike Frank Herbert's classic "Dune" trilogy.
"Escape from Kathmandu" is something far different.
For one thing, it is set in the Nepal of our own timeframe (or close thereto...the four stories were originally written in the mid-'80s). For another, the protagonists are not colonizers or scientists or eco-rebels...they're hash-smoking Western expatriates who hang about the Himalayas in a rather carefree fashion, living for the thrill of climbing. Happily enough, for those with eyes to see, the area is rife with yetis, hidden cities and tunnels, and reincarnated lamas. So adventure is never too far away.
The plots themselves are rather slight and uncompelling, and they creak somewhat under the weight of the political views heaped upon them. Tibet and the Dalai Lama = good, China = bad (the Chinese are portrayed as genocidal militant oppressors and poachers to boot, although in the current political climes, many would tend to agree with this assessment). The ruling elite of Nepal are villains. Governments are almost uniformly bad, but luckily they will someday be overthrown by enlightened spiritual types.
Nevertheless, the book does offer some insight into the impoverished country of Nepal, although an earlier reviewer notes that most of the information is wrong or misleading, so don't take any of the descriptions of conditions as gospel truth.
It's especially weird to read this book now, given the very recent upheavals in the country in June and July of this year (the crown prince's killing spree and the resignation of the prime minister). Since some of the members of the royal family actually appear as characters in the stories, it's rather unsettling to find out their real-life fates lately.
On the whole, the books seems dated, but KSR fans might want to check it out.