The Lady Astronaut ; 1
I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about Mary Robinette Kowal, but the only thing by her I’ve ever read is a short story, and that was way back in 2012. I did buy one of her books, and I enjoyed the short story, so I’m not quite sure why I never picked her books up.
But this one, The Calculating stars is on the Hugo shortlist. So I read it.
And I just loved it.
It is set in the 1950s, in the aftermath of a meteorite strike on earth. At first the world thinks that although a terrible tragedy with huge loss of life, that at least the planet has survived. But it turns out that the impact of the strike hasn’t reached its full and devastating consequences yet. But soon the temperature of the earth will cool, and then it’ll start to heat up. And once that starts it won’t stop until there’ll be nowhere left to live.
The only way out is to look to the stars.
That’s the premise of the book, but really this is a story about people. And I loved Robinette Kowal’s heroine. Elma is a wonderful person. She is determined to be part of the space mission, she already has all the piloting experience from her days during the war, but gender politics is keeping her out. Never mind that if a space colony is going to work it’ll need women there!
I also loved her relationship with her husband, Nathaniel. It is nice to see a couple that work in fiction, they are few and far between.
It is a slow book, plotwise, but it works because of the writing and the characters. I believed in the situation and in their attempts to succeed. The struggles they, and others faced, sexism, anti-Semitism, racism.
I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series now.