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Publisher's Summary

Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning Lady Astronaut of Mars

Den of Geek - Best Science Fiction Books of June 2018 

Omnivoracious - Fifteen Highly Anticipated SFF Reads for Summer 2018 

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the East Coast of the US, including Washington, DC. 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.

©2018 Mary Robinette Kowal (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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it's a nice story

"The calculating stars" is a nice story about an alternate history Space Program. The author does an excellent job of bringing life to the story, which is a good thing, because I think if I were to just read it, it would have been a little flat. This would be a fantastic story for a preteen or even a child, but it lacks drama. Now, not all stories need to be a daring space drama with horrible monsters and and heroic leaps of... heroism, but i kept eaiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never did. I see this story as the way the Space Program would have proceeded if everyone in the world were Canadian. A good read, but don't expect action.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Stunning alternate history

I’ve just finished the audiobook, and I have enjoyed it immensely. The sense of immersion and of subject and material mastery was really wonderful - I absolutely believed it all the way through. And I loved how it’s clear to the reader that Elma is a 3-dimensional character whose actions are not all exemplary, but who tries to do better. Can’t wait for the sequel!!!

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New found favorite book...

Mary Robinette Kowel is a very talented woman, as evidenced by her writing this beautiful book, and in the fantastic narration as well! Mary caught the social mores and nuances of the late fifties, beautifully!
This book covers some really hard issues of the times; women's role in society, racial bias, and even anxiety attacks... it's all wrapped up in this amazing talent that kinda' reminds me of old-school science fiction. That's probably because it takes place in an alternate, 1950's Earth, peopled with all the characters and products you'd expect to find then... and it also includes a meteor impact of truly cataclysmic proportions! 
Science and mathematics are really important in this post-meteor-impacted-Earth, as opposed to the old trope of societal collapse after the big "event". Where the story really distinguishes itself is that it's written from woman's POV as she and others try to end the intolerance and inequity of a patriarchal society, and go to work in fields that have traditionally been reserved only for men... and Mary Robinette Kowal accomplished this without giving the story an agenda-driven feel to it!!!
This is my new found favorite book of the year! If you enjoyed books like The Martian and Hidden Figures, you're going to love this one... Oh, and even better? The sequel will be released soon!   
Simply Stellar storytelling, in every way!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Brilliant!

Simply brilliant, but not a simple story. Mary Robinette Kowal combines science, history, math (!) into a gripping hard SciFi alt-history wrapped in the very real struggles of women, persons of color, persons of different ethnicity, and those suffering from mental and emotional disability in a world dominated by straight white men.

If that sounds off-putting to you, then I have two things for you to think about: these issues are factual and they persist today. Mary Robinette Kowal has done her homework and captures not just the issues, but the sense of the very real people affected.

The plot is engaging and moves forward quickly. The social issues never distract from the science or from the excitement. Rather, they heighten the tension with a resolution that most will find rewarding.

Finally, Mary Robinette Kowal, and accomplished voice artist in her own right, does a fabulous job of bringing all the characters to life. She breaks her own rule of a maximum of three characters plus the narrator for readings. I imagine these characters already lived in her head with their own distinct voices for a long time—she only had to let them out.

I am very excited to listen to the follow-on book, The Fated Sky upon its release in August.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Loved every second of this! Two things: I normally don't like 1st person. This book has proven to me that it can be done extremely well. Second, I don't normally love author narrated books, but Ms Kowal is now one of my favorite narrators. This is the first of her books that I have read, and I'm looking forward to catching up with her previously published works.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful