Jul 24
2018

Publishers Weekly starred review for The Fated Sky

The Fated Sky (Book 2 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“Kowal continues her exquisite exploration of race and gender relations in an alternate 1961 that is still shockingly close to our own. The stunning second part of Kowal’s duology picks up 10 years after a meteor strikes Earth (depicted in The Calculating Stars) with series heroine Elma now serving as a pilot to the lunar colony. After she survives being taken hostage by a terrorist organization opposed to space travel, Elma is asked to join the first Mars mission, replacing a close friend and incurring the resentment of the existing crew. For Elma and her colleagues on both ships, contained in close quarters for three years far from family and friends, the journey is filled with tension, joy, terror, and sorrow, including the deaths of crew members and an anxious period when contact with Earth is cut off. The clever details of life in space—from baking challah in zero gravity to finding tricks for communicating privately, as well as the more horrifying practicalities of how to deal with illness and corpses—create an immersive world that will stay with the reader well past the final page.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Jul 12
2018

Library Journal on The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“In 1952, Elma York and her husband are celebrating their marriage in the Poconos when a meteor strikes, destroying Washington, DC, and most of the eastern seaboard. As a mathematician and WASP pilot, Elma knows the need for space exploration, but now that Earth is poised to fall owing to a climate change of apocalyptic proportions, that timetable has been pushed into the fast lane. Elma wants to be one of those to enter space, and when a program invites women to take the same astronaut training as men, she won’t let anything—not family, history, or the attitudes of men regarding the proper place for women—stand in her way.

VERDICT A fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award­-winner Kowal’s (“Glamourist Histories”) exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. SF and space history buffs will enjoy this entertaining tale.” — Library Journal

Jul 11
2018

Locus on The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“So much about how Kowal structures Elma’s journey works, from her early days as a math whiz and the effect it had on her psyche, through her growth as a competent and confident professional. Equally lovely is the supportive and charming relationship between Nathaniel and Elma. You can’t help but root them both on.

The back third of The Calculating Stars is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying—and nicely sets up The Fated Sky, which is the second half of Elma’s story. Just one month after The Calculating Stars’ release, we’ll finally learn exactly how Elma got herself to Mars.” — Locus

Jul 6
2018

Booklist on The Calcuating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“The first half of Kowal’s two-book tale—The Fated Sky will follow—begins in 1952 when a meteorite strikes Earth, causing a global cataclysm. The eastern coast of the U.S. crumbles, and the rest of the world faces a climate shift…Although Kowal’s latest is a definite deviation from her popular Glamour Histories series, she once again strikes a fine balance of integrating historical accuracy—including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology—with speculative storytelling. Readers will root for Elma as she breaks barriers and calculates lifesaving equations, all while dealing with sometimes-crippling anxiety. Recommend to fans of realistic sf.” — Booklist

May 29
2018

Publishers Weekly starred review for The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“Kowal’s outstanding prequel to her Hugo-winning novelette “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” shows the alternate history that created a mid-20th-century Mars colony. In 1952, mathematician and pilot Elma York is on vacation with her rocket scientist husband, Nathaniel, when a meteor strikes Chesapeake Bay, obliterating most of the East Coast. Elma quickly realizes that this is an extinction event, and that the only option for humanity’s survival is off-world colonization. In a compelling parallel to our own history, Elma, who is Jewish, fights to have women of all races and backgrounds included in the burgeoning space program, squaring off against patriarchal attitudes, her own anxiety, and an adversary from her past service as a war pilot. Kowal explores a wide range of issues-including religion, grief, survivor’s guilt, mental health, racism, misogyny, and globalism-without sermonising or subsuming the characters and plot. Elma’s struggles with her own prejudices and relationships, including her relationship with herself, provide a captivating human center to the apocalyptic background. Readers will thrill to the story of this “lady astronaut” and eagerly anticipate the promised sequels.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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