The Calculating Stars: Book summary and reviews of The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars

A Lady Astronaut Novel

by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal X
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
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Book Summary

In an alternate history, a global catastrophe forces a greatly accelerated space program - and puts stress on the gender barriers that keep women astronauts on the ground.

On a cold spring night in 1952, a meteorite falls to earth and destroys much of the eastern seaboard of the United States, including Washington D.C. The Meteor, as it is popularly known, decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth's efforts to colonize space, and allows a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition's attempts to put man on the moon. 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 - aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma's drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance against her.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Readers will thrill to the story of this "lady astronaut" and eagerly anticipate the promised sequels." - Publishers Weekly

"A perfect novel to continue the Hidden Figures love. Especially refreshing is the nuanced exploration of protagonist Elma York's growing understanding of inequality." - Library Journal

"While there's a fascinating alternate history here of humanity's quest for the stars, it could stand to be told with characters who are a little more human." - Kirkus

"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

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Author Information

Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov's. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.

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