kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1)

Availability: Ready to download

A meteor 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, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part. One of these new entrants in the spa A meteor 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, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part. 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.


Compare
kode adsense disini

A meteor 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, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part. One of these new entrants in the spa A meteor 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, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part. 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.

30 review for The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Opposable Thumbs: “The Calculating Stars” by Mary Robinette Kowal “There is nothing to see but that vast blackness. Intellectually, I know that we’ve passed into the dark side of the Earth. We slide into her shadow and then magic fills the sky. The stars come out. Millions of them in crisp, vivid splendor. These are not the stars that I remember from before the Meteor. These are clear and steady, without an atmosphere to make them twink If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Opposable Thumbs: “The Calculating Stars” by Mary Robinette Kowal “There is nothing to see but that vast blackness. Intellectually, I know that we’ve passed into the dark side of the Earth. We slide into her shadow and then magic fills the sky. The stars come out. Millions of them in crisp, vivid splendor. These are not the stars that I remember from before the Meteor. These are clear and steady, without an atmosphere to make them twinkle. Do you remember the first time you saw the stars again? I am sitting in a capsule, on way my to the moon.” In “The Calculating Stars” by Mary Robinette Kowal I remember the one called "Duck and Cover". If I remember correctly, the instructions included: 1. Fill the bath with water 2. Take a door off it's hinges and prop it length-ways against an internal wall 3. Cover the door with a mattress 5. Get the family under the door. 6. Crouch down on the floor 7. Put your head between your legs 8. Kiss your arse goodbye Even at 10 I thought that wouldn't help much...and it was bloody nonsense. How is an entire family going to take a bath before the four minute warning is up? If you're into stuff like this, read on.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'll go out on a limb here and be mightily surprised if this novel doesn't get nommed for Hugo out of this year's candidates. It has all the right qualities, from good writing, exciting story, delicious premise, and timely application of hot topics and social issues. Huh? Well, it's like an alternate reality where a meteorite wipes out DC in the 1950's and forces everyone to get into gear with the space program for the best of all reasons... SURVIVAL OF THE HUMAN SPECIES. It's quick, fun, and crin I'll go out on a limb here and be mightily surprised if this novel doesn't get nommed for Hugo out of this year's candidates. It has all the right qualities, from good writing, exciting story, delicious premise, and timely application of hot topics and social issues. Huh? Well, it's like an alternate reality where a meteorite wipes out DC in the 1950's and forces everyone to get into gear with the space program for the best of all reasons... SURVIVAL OF THE HUMAN SPECIES. It's quick, fun, and cringeworthy in how women are treated... not to mention the racial element! Think Hidden Figures, add anxiety and mental health issues in a big way, mix with sexism, post-apocalypse, brazen and headlong optimism, and do it all with sheer human ability. Computers are people who compute. Everything else is '50's mentality and an underdog story that leads to getting women in space against all the odds. :) This is easily my favorite Kowal tale. I'm gonna tell everyone for next years noms that this is one to push. :) It may not be my ABSOLUTE favorite book of the year, but it is certainly the smartest, quickest, and easiest feel-good SF out of the bunch. It pokes a stick at all the big issues and drives the dagger in. This OUGHT to be a huge bestseller. If it isn't, then there's some big idiocy going on out there. ;)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I've read the short story of this series some time ago and was speechless by how wonderful it was. Naturally, I had to give the novel a chance. And I certainly didn't regret it! In March 1952, a meteorite strikes Earth. It lands in a body of water which, as it turns out, is even worse than if it had hit land. The protagonist, Elma, is on vacation with her husband (they are newly weds) in some mountains. He's an engineer and responsible for a US satellite program while she is a former WASP pilot ( I've read the short story of this series some time ago and was speechless by how wonderful it was. Naturally, I had to give the novel a chance. And I certainly didn't regret it! In March 1952, a meteorite strikes Earth. It lands in a body of water which, as it turns out, is even worse than if it had hit land. The protagonist, Elma, is on vacation with her husband (they are newly weds) in some mountains. He's an engineer and responsible for a US satellite program while she is a former WASP pilot (female pilots that flew during WW2), a physicist and mathematician (I think she has 3 PhDs in total but can't remember what the third was for). They both quickly realize that it wasn't an A-bomb and, thanks to their small private plane, make it out of the immediate danger and survive. Many Americans weren't that lucky, including Elma's parents and all of Washington DC. As you can imagine, chaos descends. But they bounce back and quickly establish that this is an extinction-level event so a plan needs to be drawn up for the future of humanity. The solution: the colonization of the Moon and Mars. But this is the 50s, the very first IBM is sold a few years after the disaster (yes, the book spans a number of years), calculations are done by "human computers". But they are, of course, highly motivated so the bravest and brightest work on an international space program, building rockets, planning manned space flight etc. Along the way, racism, misogyny, antisemitism and anti-space terrorism (religious nutters) hinder the progress. The topic of gender equality is not new and a complicated one. Actually, scratch that, it's not complicated at all. People just love to complicate things. While there are obvious physical and even psychological differences so there are indeed things men can do better than women, there are actually things women can do better than men as well. As a police officer's daughter, a former Army member's niece, a martial artist (though I've started only about 2 years ago) and someone who's paid attention in biology / is interested in anatomy in general, I know for a fact that there is a reason why sports teams are usually divided by gender. However, as a woman, the neighbour of a former university professor and a rationally thinking human being, I also know that women can be at least as good at mathematics and physics as any man. History has also proven that women can be at least as gifted at piloting planes as men. And yes, it's true that - depending on an individual's height - women can be better astronauts than men (the g-force affects them less). Sure, it takes training and dedication like any other thing that is worthwhile, but the only reason why female pilots during WW2 and female astronaut candidates haven't achieved more is that men held them back (sometimes through legislation even) , probably because they felt threatened. This book has a brilliant way of dealing with all that in a most realistic way. Moreover, the MCs brother has had polio when he was a child and is the perfect example of how one can overcome such an illness (though it can break out again, it never really goes away) and live with a resulting physical disability. Not to mention that the protagonist herself suffers from anxiety - and I mean REAL anxiety, the medical kind (projectile vomiting and all). So mental health issues come up here as well. Then we have the host of African American ladies (and gentlemen) that heartbreakingly show us what racism looks like from the receiving end (being black AND a woman was even worse). Oh, and have I mentioned that Elma is also Jewish? What did astonish me was how groups that were subjected to discrimination themselves managed to discriminate against others. I mean, shouldn't they have known better, been better? Anyway, the book also brilliantly shows how stupid and counterproductive discrimination is as it diminishes your workforce. Just look at all the real-life women (mostly African Americans) that did all of NASAs calculations in their heads or on paper until computers came along and proved to be reliable enough (it was a rocky start). That is seriously impressive. In that regard, the book often reminded me of the movie Hidden Figures, which I loved (yes, it was a feel-good movie, but wonderfully done). So on one hand we have the brilliant writing style that sweeps the reader off their feet and carries them along the suspenseful string of events and discoveries, accurately explaining the science(s) and making one share the characters' excitement, while on the other hand one is constantly frustrated about the sheer stupidity of so many (often otherwise brilliant) people! Of course, that is how it should be, the reader being invested and all. But it is also utterly exhausting. I cannot count the times I wanted to punch Parker or Clemens. *lol* What was a definite delight was how well researched this book was. The science regarding space flight, piloting fighter jets and other planes (I looked it up as much as I could), biology, geography, astronomy and mental health as well as the social aspects such as racism, discrimination, everyday/mundane encounters and politics were incredibly detailed and accurate and therefore realistic, which made this story come to life like few others. Last but not least, I read the audioversion (for now, the paperback is already ordered) and can testify to the brilliance of the author's own narration. I knew she had narrated for a number of other authors before so she has the experience, but her accents and variety in reading style (for example news broadcasts compared to dialogues between people) seriously impressed me. I'm just glad she'll be publishing the follow-up novel in August already (there is no actual cliffhanger here, but we're not 100% "there" yet either) so I won't have to wait too long. ;)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Yep. All five. What a wonderful ride this book was. I'll say more later. ***LATER*** A good, solid alternate history; a very involving story; characters I can believe in, invest in, and even identify with; and an author whose capabilities, established in earlier books, make the catharsis of reading this book as bracing as a pitcher of 'tinis. The Lady Astronaut of Mars, book 2.5 in the series that (chronologically) begins with this book, won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novelette. There is a reason this Yep. All five. What a wonderful ride this book was. I'll say more later. ***LATER*** A good, solid alternate history; a very involving story; characters I can believe in, invest in, and even identify with; and an author whose capabilities, established in earlier books, make the catharsis of reading this book as bracing as a pitcher of 'tinis. The Lady Astronaut of Mars, book 2.5 in the series that (chronologically) begins with this book, won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novelette. There is a reason this is so. Author Kowal honed her audience manipulation (her phrase, not mine, go look at her Goodreads AMA!) skills in live theater. The result is that her mastery of it doesn't Show. It simply is. A wonderful experience in being led and misled results from that skill's genesis. Be prepared to devote your primary concentration skills to this book once it's opened. Doing less will be frustrating. Reward yourself for enduring 45's antics with an escape to a better, albeit doomed, world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    A beautifully researched and told alternate version of the space race from the point of view of brilliant woman pilot, scientist and mathematician with dreams of going to space. It's 1952, and Elma and Nathaniel Wexler are vacationing in the mountains when a massive meteorite strikes just off the US coast in Chesepeake Bay. Much of the East Coast, including Washington DC is destroyed or flooded, and it's only Elma's and Nathaniel's quick thinking in the face of the disaster that save them both. E A beautifully researched and told alternate version of the space race from the point of view of brilliant woman pilot, scientist and mathematician with dreams of going to space. It's 1952, and Elma and Nathaniel Wexler are vacationing in the mountains when a massive meteorite strikes just off the US coast in Chesepeake Bay. Much of the East Coast, including Washington DC is destroyed or flooded, and it's only Elma's and Nathaniel's quick thinking in the face of the disaster that save them both. Elma was a WASP pilot in WWII and also has doctorates in physics and maths and her husband is a brilliant engineer, and both work for the National Advisory Commitee for Aeronautics (the predecessor of NASA). NACA itself gains immediate prominence in the aftermath of the meteorite and even more so when Elma's calculations reveal that the meteorite has set the Earth on the path to a runaway greenhouse effect. What follows has the space race happening years earlier, and racing the diminishing habitability of the Earth rather than Russians. It's also a space race that begins with the International Aerospace Coalition rather than NASA, so has diverse nationalities from the beginning. But this is the 1950s and both racism and sexism are the norm, setting up barriers for many of the people who wish to go into space. This is the story of Elma Wexler as she works for NACA, IAC and strives to become an astronaut, and it's also the story of the community of people working with her and often against her as well. This is one of the best books I've read this year. A mix of Hidden Figures and Apollo 13 with a heavy dose of The Martian, and impeccably researched and imagined, this hits my sweet spot for space program fiction as well as covering issues like gender discrimination and racism and giving further welcome attention to the women who were active in the science and technology field when "computer" was a job, not a thing. Very much looking forward to the second part of the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Definitely one of my favourite books of 2018. And to think I considered giving this a miss. I'm interested in space, but an alternate history of space exploration? What a colossal mistake giving this a pass would have been. This is a masterful alt history set in the 1950's that illuminates the very real issues of discrimination. Elma's character suffers painfully from discrimination because she is a woman. On top of that she is fighting a personal battle with severe anxiety. At the same time, whil Definitely one of my favourite books of 2018. And to think I considered giving this a miss. I'm interested in space, but an alternate history of space exploration? What a colossal mistake giving this a pass would have been. This is a masterful alt history set in the 1950's that illuminates the very real issues of discrimination. Elma's character suffers painfully from discrimination because she is a woman. On top of that she is fighting a personal battle with severe anxiety. At the same time, while trying to elevate herself and the other highly skilled women around her, she also quite rightly gets schooled on her privileged position via a vis people of colour. Something I really appreciated about this story is that it recognises discrimination on so many levels but does not try to minimize the pain or damage it causes to any class of persons who suffer it. This is a story of individual battles and personal growth within the efforts of a large group, and I thought it captured those myriad experiences well. Of course if you liked Hidden Figures this is an easy go to, but really, it's a wonderfully written story recommended for anyone interested in the personal and political forces at play in any group engaged in achieving a long term goal. This book can be read alone and finishes up nicely but fortunately the sequel, The Fated Sky, is scheduled for release right away in August.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    I'm always excited to read astronaut books, as you might know from my posts like this one, this one or this one. So I was even more excited to read one where women fight their ground to get to be astronauts. As it turned out, it was not an easy fight, even if it's one written in an alternate 50's Earth. The Calculating Stars is no bright and easy read, but it deals with some really important topics, and is also very engaging and strong. I loved it, and here are the reasons why you might love i I'm always excited to read astronaut books, as you might know from my posts like this one, this one or this one. So I was even more excited to read one where women fight their ground to get to be astronauts. As it turned out, it was not an easy fight, even if it's one written in an alternate 50's Earth. The Calculating Stars is no bright and easy read, but it deals with some really important topics, and is also very engaging and strong. I loved it, and here are the reasons why you might love it too! So come and read 5 Reasons To Read The Calculating Stars! I thank Tor Books for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. Receiving the book for free does not affect my opinion. Read Post On My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Galloway

    This novel was utterly fantastic. I cursed every hour of work that kept me away from it! The plot of the novel -- a devastating meteor strike means that Earth must accelerate the space program -- is fascinating enough. Then you throw in the diversity and the civil rights issues and the awful sexism that needs to go away for it all to be successful and that makes the book even better. But what makes this absolutely stunning is the voice. Elma is just an absolute joy to read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Bollinger

    This book covers a lot: feminism, mental health, civil rights, and climate change, just to name a few things. I'm a sucker for alternative history, and this starts out as that: a meteorite takes out Washington, D.C. in 1952. The space race is on, but with a twist---the lady "computers" get a much bigger role. Engaging read, fast-paced, with real *jargon* written by actual astronauts. Great for fans of Stephenson's "Seven Eves," "Hidden Figures," any alternate history, or Ben Bova's hard SF.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    I just loved this. A very very real alternate history of the space program, starting in a disaster that lends it much more of an urgency than a Cold War race to the stars. Features a wonderful main character!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathy (cathepsut)

    At first glance a story about the apocalypse—a meteor strikes Earth in the 1950s with devastating longterm effects. At second glance this is more an exploration of discrimination against women and persons of colour in that time in the US. And an exploration of the Space Race, this time not against the Russians, but against the end of the world. A quarter into the book I wasn’t sure, if I liked the book or the main protagonist. Well written, a bit too linear and straight forward for me in this ins At first glance a story about the apocalypse—a meteor strikes Earth in the 1950s with devastating longterm effects. At second glance this is more an exploration of discrimination against women and persons of colour in that time in the US. And an exploration of the Space Race, this time not against the Russians, but against the end of the world. A quarter into the book I wasn’t sure, if I liked the book or the main protagonist. Well written, a bit too linear and straight forward for me in this instance and maybe a little bit boring. Good beginning, but seemingly fairly flat story telling. And I just wanted to smack Elma around the head on many occasions. But I guess she is a product of her time, although she wants more. I couldn‘t really see the Elma of the short story in this. Surprisingly, not a lot of tension at first. Yes, the Earth is about to end, eventually. But that didn‘t really drive the plot forward a lot. Character driven stories are not really my favourite books, and if they are, I want more character development than this. The plot sort of ambled along in a more or less predictable fashion. I had expected something different, after reading the Hugo Award winning novelette Lady Astronaut of Mars. Nonetheless, it is a well told story with a lot of food for thought and the last chapter was just fabulous. I almost cried. Elma‘s love for flying and space shines through and the writing is very imaginative and poetic at times. So a well-deserved 4 stars, despite what I wrote above. I didn‘t love it enough for the five star treatment. I will maybe read the next book, because Space! Right? perhaps I‘ll have talked myself into 5 stars soon, if I keep thinking about the book some more. I recommend reading this article for further inspiration: https://www.tor.com/2018/07/06/17-boo...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Earlier this year, I read "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...) and fell in love with Elma York really hard. That tiny little story packed such a huge punch about love, grief, passion and space: it took me a few days to recover... and it was less than 50 pages! When I heard there would be two upcoming Lady Astronaut novels, I actually screamed. And dropped everything else I was reading almost as soon as my copy was delivered. In spring of Earlier this year, I read "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...) and fell in love with Elma York really hard. That tiny little story packed such a huge punch about love, grief, passion and space: it took me a few days to recover... and it was less than 50 pages! When I heard there would be two upcoming Lady Astronaut novels, I actually screamed. And dropped everything else I was reading almost as soon as my copy was delivered. In spring of 1952, a meteorite hits the Atlantic ocean just off the east coast of the United-States, and destroys Washington D.C. But this impact has more dire consequences than the flooding of the cities on the coast: the cataclysm triggers an extinction event not unlike that which lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs. If humanity is to survive, they need to find a way to get off the planet. Fast. Elma York is a former WASP pilot and a brilliant mathematician. She and her husband Nathaniel work for the NACA - NASA's ancestor agency. Her calculations and discovery earn her a place on the team put in charge of figuring out how to put a man on the Moon, and eventually colonize it to save humanity. She soon decides that she wants to be more than a computer: she wants to become an astronaut. But a few things stand in her way, mostly the simple fact that she is a woman... If you've seen (or read) "Hidden Bodies" and enjoyed it, you'll love this story of incredibly brilliant women working their asses off to be recognized for their work, and not just as someone's wife or daughter. Not unlike the tiny short story that lead me to this book, I went through it wondering how Kowal managed to talk about so much in so few pages: feminism, civil rights, science, politics, mental health! Each issue is approached with realism and compassion, doing what the best science-fiction books do: make you understand what being human really means while appearing to tell you a story about space exploration. Elam's character is strongly built, and as you read her story, you share her love of her work, her anxiety about public-speaking, her anger at the way women in the program are being treated by the men in charge, her frustration and powerlessness in the face of other discrimination and prejudices. Her relationship with her wonderful and supportive husband Nathaniel is sweet - perhaps a touch too sweet, really - but it's heartwarming to see her partner treating her like an equal as she has to fight tooth and nails to prove that she is just as qualified as the men she works with. I enjoyed the ever-shifting rapport with her nemesis, the horrid Stetson Parker: they hate each other, but begrudgingly respect each other at the same time, which makes their interaction fascinating. I also appreciate that Elma has some prejudices of her won she has to confront and overcome, showing that we can all do better. Kowal might have written an alternate history novel set in the 50's, but her commentaries are quite relevant to current events: the real world is still full of people who feel that women and black people can't do certain things or should be treated differently, not to mention people who don't believe that science is real... Speaking of which, she clearly did her homework with scientific and technological research: I don't know if her aviation and engineering jargon is accurate, but the way the scientists talk and behave feels absolutely authentic. If you like good sci-fi, strong and well-realized female leads, alternate history and excellent writing, do yourself a favor and read this book! I can't wait for "The Fated Sky" later this summer!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    I really enjoyed this. I'm a sucker for books involving space, and I loved the enthusiastic geekery that runs throughout the entire book. What a gem.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    Video review! https://youtu.be/RBF8XNFtUEs

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rhode

    One of the best books of the year. I stayed up well past midnight gulping it down. The researched details, the emotional resonance, the thrill...my gosh. It’s absolutely grounded in (but never bogged down by) science, history and the realities of what the space program was and would have been. This is brilliant historic sf. I feel as though I really was there in the space program myself. I’ll admit it was tough in some parts, not so much because of the catastrophic meteor or the physical and ment One of the best books of the year. I stayed up well past midnight gulping it down. The researched details, the emotional resonance, the thrill...my gosh. It’s absolutely grounded in (but never bogged down by) science, history and the realities of what the space program was and would have been. This is brilliant historic sf. I feel as though I really was there in the space program myself. I’ll admit it was tough in some parts, not so much because of the catastrophic meteor or the physical and mental challenges inherent in being an astronaut, but because of the (entirely realistic) sexism the heroine endured and her anxiety due to it. Having lived through a portion of that, as we all have, my stomach twisted for her and I had to breathe deeply to get through it. The book had two other welcome threads. Firstly, the heroine learns intersectionality. Although she experiences discrimination and stress as a Jew, she also realizes her own world view’s got white lady goggles on. Even after her first realization, she continues to come up against this - she has an ongoing process of digging out bias instead of one cleansing revelation. Secondly, her marriage is a relatively true partnership. Her husband is genuinely supportive, sweet, sexy and helpful every step of the way although her skills, fame and achievements begin to excel his. Sad how strange it felt to read that - it felt like the most fictional thing in the novel. Yet, even this amazingly great marriage still winds up with (utterly realistically) unequal roles. They work equally hard in equally important jobs, yet she feels as though she has to manage the household and bills by herself. It’s a big deal when he cooks a dinner. She also puts a great deal of energy into the physicality of being ladylike- calm,graceful posture even when she’s upset or angry. He of course doesn’t have to police his body continually as she does. I also enjoyed this because it’s about adults. It’s not YA. The heroine has an adult’s backstory. YA has so swept the mainstream SFF world these days, especially for books with female leads, that sometimes it feels as though only 18 year olds can have big adventures. I was also thrilled by the mention of an astronaut in training who was already the mother of 8. Which really happened. The way that women’s roles in our real world are discarded in most adventure fiction and movies the instant they become mothers, is shocking. Thank god for this reminder. Life is often better than art. For adult women at least.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    MRK on writing the book: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2018/07/0... ... Let me tell you about the Mercury 13. These were a group of women who were put through the same tests as the original astronauts. All of them were pilots, and many were also computers, chemists, or business owners. The people running the program were interested in the fact that women were lighter than men. At a time when weight factors were a big consideration in the space program, this was very appealing. After WW2 there were ov MRK on writing the book: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2018/07/0... ... Let me tell you about the Mercury 13. These were a group of women who were put through the same tests as the original astronauts. All of them were pilots, and many were also computers, chemists, or business owners. The people running the program were interested in the fact that women were lighter than men. At a time when weight factors were a big consideration in the space program, this was very appealing. After WW2 there were over a 1000 Women Airforce Service Pilots, who typically had more logged flight time than their male counterparts. So they called up some of the WASPs to see what they could withstand. When they got into the actual testing, they discovered that women could handle g-forces better, and generally performed better on stress testing. ... But, the testing was shut down by Lyndon B. Johnson because he didn’t think women should go into space. What would have happened if he hadn’t shut that down? What if, say, I dropped a giant rock on D.C.? Tom Shippey gives it a nod at the WSJ, https://www.wsj.com/articles/science-... -- and notes that "The sequel, which will take her on to Mars, comes out next month, “The Fated Sky.” This is what NASA never had, a heroine with attitude." All right!

  17. 4 out of 5

    George

    As a Docent at the Virginia Air and Space Center, I educate folks every day about Katherine Johnson's (Hidden Figures) involvement and amazing contribution to our Space Program's success in the 60's and early 70's. Unfortunately, part of that story is her struggles as a woman and, to make matters more difficult, one "of color." This tale centers on a woman, Jewish by religion, and her struggles to maximize the value of her unique skill set, not dissimilar from that of Katherine, except that she As a Docent at the Virginia Air and Space Center, I educate folks every day about Katherine Johnson's (Hidden Figures) involvement and amazing contribution to our Space Program's success in the 60's and early 70's. Unfortunately, part of that story is her struggles as a woman and, to make matters more difficult, one "of color." This tale centers on a woman, Jewish by religion, and her struggles to maximize the value of her unique skill set, not dissimilar from that of Katherine, except that she is an experienced pilot with combat experience (astronaut material?). Her position is complicated, however, by the fact that her husband is the lead engineer trying to get us into space and to another human habitable planet, as a species, because our's has suffered what amounts to an "extinction event." This is SciFi, so the story is an alternate approach to history. Even better. The science, although it takes some liberties, is solid even thoiught on the leading edge. ENJOY! And then grab "The Fated Sky" to finish this amazing tale.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christina Pilkington

    How important were women to the space race in the US? Would we we even be where we are today without them? If so, why don't we know more about their contributions? After the popularity of the movie Hidden Figures, based on a book of the same title, more people have become aware of women's role in NASA and the space industry. The fact that these women, especially the African American women, were hardly recognized for their work, paid significantly less then their male colleagues and often disrespe How important were women to the space race in the US? Would we we even be where we are today without them? If so, why don't we know more about their contributions? After the popularity of the movie Hidden Figures, based on a book of the same title, more people have become aware of women's role in NASA and the space industry. The fact that these women, especially the African American women, were hardly recognized for their work, paid significantly less then their male colleagues and often disrespected and harassed is not something I'm particularly shocked at. But in The Calculating Stars, somehow those women became more real to me. Despite this being an alternate version of history, looking though Kowal's acknowledgments and historical notes in the back of the book, it's clear that most of the way women were treated in the 1950's in this work of fiction was pretty close to how they were treated in real life. Kowal notes that most of the headlines that start off the beginning of each chapter are pulled right off of pages of actual newspapers. I was very surprised to learn that during the 50's there were a group of women chosen to participate in a astronaut testing program. And even more outraged when I read the following quote knowing that it had been printed in a real newspaper. "These beauties range from blond to brunette and are among the best feminine specimens on the planet." Specimens? Oh, heck no. I cannot even count the amount of time I wanted to scream and hit something when time and time again the men in this book acted like a woman's main goal in life is to look good, keep quiet and do just enough to make the men look good. Elma York, the main protagonist in the book is a mathematics genius. Time and time again she calculates equations in her head faster than anyone can on paper, can fly a plane even during dangerous conditions and started college at age 14. And yet during one scene, reporters care more about her answers to "What are you going to cook in space?" "What about your beauty regimen in space? and "Will you be able to use hairspray?" than any serious scientific questions. I immediately remembered an article that I read during the last summer Olympics where the writer noted the many examples of female athletes who were asked questions about their clothes and makeup purchases and haircuts, while she couldn't dig up a single time a male athlete who was asked the same questions. And this is in the year 2016. When I wasn't getting riled up about the female and racial discrimination taking place in the story, I became a bit swept up in Elma's journey to become an astronaut, the science and technology that needed to be mastered before a rocket could land on the moon, and how that might have taken place even without the technology that we have today. Kowal's attention to detail and world building are immensely impressive. Kowal also tackles the tough topic of mental health in this novel. Elma suffers severe anxiety brought on by experiences in her youth and is in constant fear that she will be removed from the space program because of it. Elma struggles with the choice of whether to receive help with her problems and lead a more normal life or risk being seen as a liability and is scared of what people will think of her. It's an extremely honest and raw picture of what anxiety looks like. Although I don't suffer with anxiety myself, I am so glad I read this book because it has helped me to understand just a little bit more about how awful crippling anxiety can be. My only criticism, and the reason why I had to lower my rating from 5 stars, is the amount of time Elma's character uses rocket launches and space terminology when she's either discussing sex or during intimate moments. She does this ALL THE TIME! It drove me absolutely crazy. I think it annoyed me the most because it COMPLETELY took me out of the story. I would be emotionally gripped with what was going on in the plot, and then that ridiculousness would happen. One or many two times might have been funny, but I felt that those attempts at humor hugely backfired. It felt forced and unnatural. PLEASE DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN IN THE SEQUEL AND RUIN THE BOOK!!! PLEASE!!!! Ok. That said...go out and read this pretty amazing book :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nacho Iribarnegaray

    Qué maravilla de libro. Leedlo mucho. Leedlo varias veces seguidas. Oíd el audiolibro narrado por la autora. Comprad el segundo libro. Todo el Sí.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary

    Shortlisted for best book of the year on Sci-Fi & Scary. Full review to come.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The Calculating Stars is an alternate history with a very strong female protagonist that is pushing the gender boundaries of her time. The premise is that a meteorite struck there earth with catastrophic consequences.The initial destruction was obvious, as it wiped out much of the east coast, either from the initial impact or the flooding that occurred after. However, our protagonist does some impressive calculations and determines that what they’ve seen so far is nothing compared to what is to The Calculating Stars is an alternate history with a very strong female protagonist that is pushing the gender boundaries of her time. The premise is that a meteorite struck there earth with catastrophic consequences.The initial destruction was obvious, as it wiped out much of the east coast, either from the initial impact or the flooding that occurred after. However, our protagonist does some impressive calculations and determines that what they’ve seen so far is nothing compared to what is to come. And with the most dire consequences set years down the road, convincing people to take the threat seriously can be a challenge (and likely even more so when you are a woman trying to do the convincing). There is a very real threat that the earth may not be inhabitable in the future, so Elma and others (including her engineer husband), work on a plan to start colonization outside of earth. The thought of going into space is terribly exciting for Elma. She was a pilot in the war, part of the group of women trained to help shuttle aircraft around. It’s an elite group, but no where near equal standing to their male counterparts. The book deals with both racism and sexism and trying to break through boundaries to allow women and minorities to participate in roles previously reserved for white men. The role of astronaut is one of these roles, and logically for any colonization to live past the initial generation, they must include women. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, even with this, there is still a great deal of resistance. Once again, Kowal displays her skill at setting a strong atmosphere for a historical setting. The 1950s in this story may differ from our own history, but it still very much captures the time period in a way that feels effortless on Kowal’s part. Meaning, as a reader I just get it without noticing the process, which is wonderful because then everything remains about the story. I love Elma’s personality. She has a true love of math and has a very impressive talent in the area, able to do complex calculations in her head at impressive speeds. Her weakness really is more on the social side of things. She suffers from anxiety, but not from the pressures of being a pilot or having to quickly calculate the best trajectory given conditions and fuel. Math is actually calming for her, it centers her and keeps her focused. Ask her to talk to reporters or put her on the spot with a group of observers, then she can panic to the point of making herself ill. I am not to either extreme as Elma, but I have always loved math, and do find it calming, and I find people stressful, so I really relate to her. Overall I felt this was a very enjoyable read. In the beginning I was a bit concerned that some of the messages might feel a bit heavy handed, but as the story progressed, and I became more invested, I quickly forgot about that and everything became about the characters and the story. If you enjoyed Kowal’s other books, I do recommend this. It’s different from Glamourist Histories, maybe not quite a light or fun, but still engaging with a wonderful historical feel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crini

    "We were Lady Astronauts. All of us. And, goddamn it, we were all going to go into space." I was going to read this solely on the fact that I loved the original story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" (which this book is a prequel of) and didn't even read what it was going to be about exactly, so it was a bit of a surpise how this is more of a historical fiction/alternate history story than (as I thought) a scifi one. That in turn did NOT make me expect to have the kind of feels I had, and boy did I h "We were Lady Astronauts. All of us. And, goddamn it, we were all going to go into space." I was going to read this solely on the fact that I loved the original story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" (which this book is a prequel of) and didn't even read what it was going to be about exactly, so it was a bit of a surpise how this is more of a historical fiction/alternate history story than (as I thought) a scifi one. That in turn did NOT make me expect to have the kind of feels I had, and boy did I have FEELS. First off there was the anger. This being set it the 1950s, it's got men all over, telling women that they are too fragile to be even considered for any important tasks (never mind they wouldn't get shit done if it weren't for the computers which were all women). Especially in the beginning I had a hard time dealing with all that anger and was close to throwing my Kindle across the room on numerous occasions. Seeing those women fight so damn hard, constantly being dismissed for what they were more than capable to do had me emotional the whole time and in tears by the end of the book. Racism is of course a huge deal too and I liked how the MC (a white woman) more than once rebukes herself for not noticing the lack of POC in a group/only noticing when made aware of, instead of being pictured as the perfect ally. This is a fight all on its own and as emotional to watch as the women finding their place. Additionally, the MC has a long history of a complicated relationship with anxiety and her finally coming to terms with the fact that having anxiety attacks doesn't mean she's weak was so beautiful and empowering, it made me cry. "I just didn't want to admit that I was this weak. I was so ashamed of needing a drug to do something as innocuous as talk." It wasn't just all anger and sadness though, because Elma is also surrounded by the most precious group of people, both family and friends, that had me constantly laughing and cry happy tears. (her relationship with her husband was so damn CUTE, OMG, and tbh their sex scenes made me laugh LOL) If you want a feminist read, if you're fan of Hidden Figures, or if you just want a beautiful and empowering story, READ THIS ONE.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Colin Forbes

    I realise that my somewhat insipid 3 star rating is at odds with the majority of glowing reviews here. I see what she was trying to do, I really do, but I can't shake the feeling that MRK has tried to squeeze too many issues into one book. Let’s count. Main PoV character, Elma, is discriminated against because she is a woman. Also, people don't understand her Jewish heritage. She has mental health problems. Many of her friends experience racial discrimination. The public at large don't believe the I realise that my somewhat insipid 3 star rating is at odds with the majority of glowing reviews here. I see what she was trying to do, I really do, but I can't shake the feeling that MRK has tried to squeeze too many issues into one book. Let’s count. Main PoV character, Elma, is discriminated against because she is a woman. Also, people don't understand her Jewish heritage. She has mental health problems. Many of her friends experience racial discrimination. The public at large don't believe the global warming predictions which are driving the space race she is involved in. All worthy topics for exploration, but to try to cover all that ground in one story? It's too much. And it's not subtle. The casual misogyny which she recreates is probably authentic to the period and feels so jarringly wrong to the modern day reader that by the tenth or twentieth repetition it really feels unnecessary. Perhaps it's just not the book I thought it was but when, at three quarters of the way through the book, we have yet to experience spaceflight through The Lady Astronaut's point of view, I couldn't help but feel slightly cheated. Maybe it was always supposed to be a book about race/gender/religion/etc, with the space race as backdrop and not vice versa. On an intellectual level I had a major disconnect with the whole premise of the book. "A meteor impact has put in motion a chain of events which is going to make the earth uninhabitable - therefore we must go into space to secure the human race's future!" How is it ever going to be easier to build a habitat for humans on the moon or Mars, where there is literally no oxygen in the atmosphere, the gravity is all wrong, there's no easily accessible water and so on? Surely they should be concentrating on building habitats on the earth - in domes, or underground, where there is rather less effort than a rocket launch involved in getting supplies to where they are needed? (Okay, there would be huge moral issues around deciding which tiny percentage of the human race would be selected to be saved within the shelters, but that's an entirely different story.) With all that said, the storytelling picks up in the last few chapters and I’m moderately interested in finding out how the second book moves things forward. Dammit! PS Also contains a couple of scenes which are clearly intended to be erotic but actually contain the most painfully cringeworthy language. It's not cute, it's laughable. Can't believe that the editor let them pass.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Liz Orange

    This book is definitely on my list of 2018 favorites. I couldn’t put it down! Dr. Elma York is a fantastic character. Her witty humor and smart remarks make her narrating style incredibly enjoyable to read. While she is brilliant beyond belief, Elma is also a relatable character. Her shyness when being the center of attention struck a familiar chord with me. The fact that she pursues her goals despite her uneasiness in doing so is truly inspiring. She has made it onto my list of favorite female l This book is definitely on my list of 2018 favorites. I couldn’t put it down! Dr. Elma York is a fantastic character. Her witty humor and smart remarks make her narrating style incredibly enjoyable to read. While she is brilliant beyond belief, Elma is also a relatable character. Her shyness when being the center of attention struck a familiar chord with me. The fact that she pursues her goals despite her uneasiness in doing so is truly inspiring. She has made it onto my list of favorite female leads--and that list is difficult to get onto! If Elma’s character isn’t enough to draw the reader in, then the setting of this story will. This alternate history is thrilling, uplifting, and wholly enjoyable. It’s the perfect read for science fiction lovers.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenne

    Super cool premise! But it felt like she was trying so hard to do justice to the women who inspired the story, that actually it got in the way of it feeling realistic.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    “The Calculating Stars was amazing. Every bit of this book was polished. Every word mattered. Every sentence flowed. Each character was as real as my neighbor. This book instantly sucked me in, and kept me hooked to the last page. Emotional, visceral, and important, The Calculating Stars will be on every award shortlist next year, or I’m not really a human.” http://www.bookwormblues.net/2018/08/...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Crane-rosset

    Where to start with this book? It was amazing. I pretty much devoured it in one sitting. Just could not put it down at all. Thank you, Mary Robinette Kowal, for helping me find a part of myself again that I thought I lost. Reading this book made me remember a girl I used to be, one who loved science and wanted to be an engineer or a doctor and be an astronaut. That never happened, because life, but I'd almost forgotten that person existed in the first place.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    The Calculating Stars is a bit of a departure for Mary Robinette Kowal, who is better known in long form for her historical fiction with fantasy elements. This is a science fiction novel, set in the 1950s, positing a space race that is accelerated by a meteor hitting just outside of Washington D.C. It is set in the same universe as her Lady Astronaut novelette (it is, in fact, a prequel). Although this was written before Hidden Figures, readers of that book will likely enjoy this one. Elma York w The Calculating Stars is a bit of a departure for Mary Robinette Kowal, who is better known in long form for her historical fiction with fantasy elements. This is a science fiction novel, set in the 1950s, positing a space race that is accelerated by a meteor hitting just outside of Washington D.C. It is set in the same universe as her Lady Astronaut novelette (it is, in fact, a prequel). Although this was written before Hidden Figures, readers of that book will likely enjoy this one. Elma York works as a calculator for this universe’s version of NASA. She has a PhD and served as a WASP pilot; her husband, Nathaniel, is the chief engineer for the same agency. Elma is smart, competent, and has an anxiety disorder. This version of the 1950s is still very much grounded in our universe, and Elma and her friends and colleagues are up against a lot of the same issues, to varying degrees, of being erased. Systemic sexism and racism and ableism are present in this universe, and they are also confronted using a variety of methods. This novel lays out the struggle of being simultaneously overly qualified and dismissed due to bias pretty well, on multiple vectors. It’s also a story about friendships and relationships, and how the kindnesses we show to one another matter. So do the choices we make, the ways we inspire, and the way we view the world. Fans of Kowal’s other work will still find a loving, supportive central relationship (with a LOT of rocketry puns), a strong, whole, complicated main character who continues to work towards being her best self, and really well executed action scenes. Highly recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Ellsworth

    The best book I've read since The Fifth Season and The Expanse. And I read a looooot of new science fiction. This is an absolute joy to read, a deep and honest portrait of a "computer" (think Hidden Figures) at NASA's predecessor in the early 1950s. Constantly underestimated for her sex, an air combat veteran of World War II not recognized for her experience, Elma is also the only person to recognize the long-term significance of a meteor smashing into Washington DC. Not only does Kowal write a w The best book I've read since The Fifth Season and The Expanse. And I read a looooot of new science fiction. This is an absolute joy to read, a deep and honest portrait of a "computer" (think Hidden Figures) at NASA's predecessor in the early 1950s. Constantly underestimated for her sex, an air combat veteran of World War II not recognized for her experience, Elma is also the only person to recognize the long-term significance of a meteor smashing into Washington DC. Not only does Kowal write a white-knuckle flying sequence escaping the meteor's devastation, she then puts Elma in the position of being the only one to realize how exactly the meteor will make Earth uninhabitable. Elma fights logistical, sexist and personal issues all throughout the book, slyly turning herself into a celebrity, despite her crowd anxiety, to promote the space program. Kowal's done a metric ton of homework and it shows. Anxiety and exhaustion-fueled problem-solving is as intense as the two (two!) crash sequences in a small plane, and I felt every bit of Elma's simmering anger at the men constantly underestimating her, and cheered for her subtle ways of beating their systematic oppression. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS BOOK. Awesome read, and I don't know whether to be happy or sad that the sequel comes out so soon! I want it now, but I also want the experience of reading these books to last longer!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leah Rachel

    In The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, a meteor hits Washington, DC, starting a potentially extinction-level global event. Suddenly, the space race becomes not just about technology, but a fight for the survival of humanity. As the program accelerates, pilot and calculator Dr. Elma York decides that it’s past time that women get to go to space too. This is the first in a duology, and I am in love five times over with this alternative history and science fiction novel. York and her fel In The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, a meteor hits Washington, DC, starting a potentially extinction-level global event. Suddenly, the space race becomes not just about technology, but a fight for the survival of humanity. As the program accelerates, pilot and calculator Dr. Elma York decides that it’s past time that women get to go to space too. This is the first in a duology, and I am in love five times over with this alternative history and science fiction novel. York and her fellow scientists not only have to fight infuriating sexism on multiple levels, but racism—her African American and Asian female calculators and pilots are even less estimated than her and the other white women in the programs. The science is intricate and the mathematics are thought-out through dramatic moments. Through it all, York is also struggling with a long history of anxiety and panic attacks, and whether therapy and medication would make her seem too weak, or actually be weak. Not to mention that she and her husband are part of a group fighting the same fight we’re fighting today—trying to get government leadership to take climate change seriously when the shifts are slow. This is one of the best science fiction releases of 2018, and we don’t even have to wait long for the sequel, The Fated Sky, which will be arriving August 21. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and my honest review is that I am totally obsessed. I couldn’t put this paperback down, and I was mad at everything that kept me away from it. I was rooting for the characters, who are believable, compelling, and witty; I was caught up in all the trauma; the fight against sexism and against mental illness stigma spoke to me on a personal level; and I want to read more and more and more about Dr. Elma York and her fight to get to space.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.