Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning "Lady Astronaut of Mars."
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On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.
Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.
Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.
About the Author
MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL was the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story “For Want of a Nail.” Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies. She also writes the Glamourist History series, which began with Shades of Milk and Honey. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and many manual typewriters.
Praise for The Calculating Stars
“This is what NASA never had, a heroine with attitude.”—The Wall Street Journal
“In The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal imagines an alternate history of spaceflight that reminds me of everything I loved about Hidden Figures.”—Cady Coleman, Astronaut
“The Lady Astronaut series might be set in an alternate past, but they’re cutting-edge SF novels that speak volumes about the present.”—The Verge
“Fans of [Hidden Figures] will definitely find something to like in this novel.”—SF Revu
“Readers will thrill to the story of this “lady astronaut” and eagerly anticipate the promised sequels.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Kowal’s book was revelatory for me, because here is a version of history where men eventually, finally, listen to women.”—Tor.com
“If you like: lady scientists and lady astronauts, space science, lovely romance, the historical fight for equality, if you read or watched Hidden Figures and loved it, if you watched the Netlfix’s documentary Mercury 13 (about the very real 13 women who underwent secret testing to become Astronauts in the 60s), please don’t miss this one.”—Kirkus
“A fine balance of integrating historical accuracy—including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology—with speculative storytelling.”—Booklist
“Readers will be hooked.”—Library Journal
“I couldn’t put this paperback down, and I was mad at everything that kept me away from it.”—While Reading and Walking
“This is a book about fortitude, about preservation, and strength in the face of injustice, resilience as a flag against oppression and politics. Parts of this book makes me cry. I cry in rage, in defiance, in support, and in triumph.”—Utopia State of Mind
“An engrossing alternate history with a unique point of view, The Fated Sky dramatically demonstrates the technical problems with going to Mars—but the technical problems are the not the only ones. Never backing down from vital issues of race and gender, The Fated Sky confronts the human issues of space travel in a United States made increasingly desperate by a massive meteor strike. Plausible, convincing, and ultimately moving.”—Nancy Kress, author of the Hugo Award-winning "Yesterday's Kin"