The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

GoodReads Summary:
The Fated Sky continued the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars. It is 1961, and the International Aerospace Coalition has established a colony on the moon. Elma York, the noted Lady Astronaut, is working on rotation, flying shuttles on the moon and returning regularly to Earth.
But humanity must get a foothold on Mars. The first exploratory mission is being planned, and none of the women astronauts is on the crew list. The international Aerospace Coalition has grave reservations about sending their “Lady Astronauts” on such a dangerous mission. The problem with that is the need for midjourney navigation calculations. The new electronic computation machines are not reliable and not easily programmed. It might be okay for a backup, but there will have to be a human computer on board. And all the computers are women.
The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut, #2)Review:
I have been living for Science Fiction lately. I’ve read so many good ones, including the first book in this series. Sadly, the sequel, The Fated Sky, just wasn’t as good as the first one. I think that’s because less happened. They were in space for most of the book, so while things were happening, the characters didn’t really go anywhere other than their space shuttle.
I still enjoyed this book, just not as much as the first. Another reason I think that is, is that Elma and her husband were separated for most of it. Their relationship was one of my favorite things about the first book. While we still got interactions from them, it was much less than in the first book.
Despite that, I still had fun reading this. The math and science of piloting a space ship are totally over my head, but I don’t think that took away from the story at all. We’re getting to know a lot of new characters, the fellow astronauts on board with Elma. I thought this was interesting because there was conflict with some and resolutions with others. The characters were the best part of this book.
I was a little thrown by the jump in time at the start of this book. It takes place ten years after the meteor hit, and that took a little bit of getting used to.
Overall, this was enjoyable. I liked the characters, the space setting, the challenges and seeing the characters overcome things. This is such an interesting alternate universe and I can’t wait to read more.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Summary:
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.
The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)Review:
Lady Astronauts was all I needed to know to be interested in this story. As I was reading, I kept getting Hidden Figures (the movie) vibes. Come to find out that she wrote this before that and was totally stoked when it came out.

“What I’d come to realize is that, with  kids like these, it was less about me and more  about elevating them-not becasuse it was me, but  becasue I was something  out of the ordinary.”

I thought this book was so interesting. I just couldn’t put it down. I wanted to be reading it all of the time. I thought Elma was such a sassy and interesting main character. She’s got the southern charm that had me cackling in those moments that she translated things (if you’ve read this you know what I mean). I loved that she acknowledged her privilege and that despite being a white Jewish woman, that she still lived a pretty good life compared to some others during the time period. I also loved that she fought to change those sorts of things. She fought to allow women of all races to be able to train and become astronauts because they were qualified. I also totally loved her relationship with her husband. I thought there were going to be a few moments where she keeps things to herself (the miscommunication / lack of communication trope). But it doesn’t happen! She tells him! And communicates! And I loved it! They were honestly the cutest freaking couple. He was so supportive and did whatever he could to help Elma. I adored them together. Plus, who doesn’t love sexy rocket talk?

“Funny how seeing your goal made manifest can change things.”

I think this book did a really good job of bringing up conversations that are hard, but necessary. It acknowledges that Elma is privileged compared to others and that she may not have even noticed that privilege until she becomes friends that aren’t treated the same as she is. There are a lot of discrimination that is fought and I thought it was handled well.

“You’d think that at some point the grief would stop. I put my hand over my mouth and leaned forward, as if I could somehow fold over the pain and keep it from escaping into the world again.”

The space and science talk were honestly so interesting. It wasn’t too complicated but it was all legitimate and mostly historically true. There’s also extensive conversation about anxiety and I thought the representation there was so good and might have even made me a little anxious while reading it. I thought this was handled so well even going as far as a doctor telling Elma that this is an illness and it’s not just ‘nerves’ or whatever they would have said in the fifties.

“Wanting something isn’t enough by itself.”

Overall, I just adored this story. The characters were compelling and had me invested in the story. There was great representation and conversations. I cannot wait to read the sequel. I might have to go out and buy it since there’s at least a six month wait from my library.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.