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The Fated Sky

(Lady Astronaut #2)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,644 ratings  ·  418 reviews
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 miss
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Tor Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Mary Robinette Kowal Yes. This is the best book in the history of ever.
Mary Robinette Kowal I would recommend it. My other series you can step into at any point, but this is truly a duology.

You can read the first book and stop, but this one…more
I would recommend it. My other series you can step into at any point, but this is truly a duology.

You can read the first book and stop, but this one is hard, I think without the first.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,644 ratings  ·  418 reviews

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Brandon Sanderson
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, and so was excited for the release of the sequel, The Fated Sky. As I suspected it might be, it was that kind of book.

You know, that kind of book where you start reading at midnight, knowing full well that this is a very bad idea, and finish at 5:00 AM, knowing you will be sorry for having gotten no sleep, but not at all sorry for having read the whole book at once? The Fated Sky was that kind of book for me.

You know that kind o
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The worldbuilding aspect deserves mention because this is a full continuation of all the events in the previous novel, one where a meteorite destroys a good portion of the United States and where the nineteen-sixties become a backdrop for a big push off the planet due to rampant heating and eventually boiling oceans.

What makes the novel special is the luck and quirk and the actions of the women to get themselves equal access to the whole project. It's not just a space race. It's the survival of
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Lady Astronaut duology (my review for the first installment can be read *here*) and thus continuing as well as concluding the story of Elma and her quest to get to Mars in order to save humanity from the consequences of a meteorite strike that hit Earth about 10 years ago.

This second book opens in 1961 and progresses over a couple of years (less than the first). Elma has been shuttling to and from the Moon but that doesn't mean that the space program has become any
Allison Hurd
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fem-author, scifi
Okay...that was cute. I thought Calculating Stars was sweet, and I cheered for our heroine. But this one works much better as a book, I think. More action, more adversity, more lacked a few of the charms of the first book, but I found it more powerfully written.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-All the space stuff. I really just enjoyed the cra
Elma York is probably my favorite character that I encountered in my 2018 readings, first in the short story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”(, and then in "The Calculating Stars” ( I couldn’t let the year end without reading the conclusion of her story, though I anticipated it might be an emotional goodbye. Then I saw that Mary Robinette Kowal has TWO MORE NOVELS about Elma in the works and I squeaked loud enough to ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I actually finished this a few days ago, but wanted to reflect on it a bit before writing this review. I was a little disappointed with this after The Calculating Stars, and at the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it might be.

First things first- plot summary: Elma goes to Mars. That’s it. This was a large part of the problem for me. Having already read The Lady Astronaut of Mars, the ending was kind of a foregone conclusion. There wasn’t any kind of intense battle for women’s equality
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
My long awaited sequel of The Calculating stars (review here) turned out to be just as amazing as the first book! After closing the last page, I was just as devastated as the first time round that I have to leave the world of this story. The Lady Astronaut books remain the kind of story you don't really want to leave.

The biggest theme in this book is racism – especially when you're talking about relocating the human race and having to pick who goes and who stays. This was presented wonderful
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Again this was a very enjoyable read much like the first book in the series but this one seemed to have higher stakes right from the start. We follow the same cast of characters, namely the Lady Astronaut, as she is blasted into Space on a mission to Mars. It's the first mission there and all sorts could go wrong, but they are astronauts and they should be trained on how to fix it all... 4*s
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Continuing on from one of the best books I've read this year (The Calculating Stars), we have ... one of the best books I've read this year.

Events have moved on from the first mission to the Moon and on to planning for Mars. Elma Wexler is spending half her year living on the moon base and piloting missions there, but is contemplating giving it all up as she has hit yet another glass ceiling. When she again demonstrates her grace under pressure, she gets put on the crew for the first mission to
Jenny Baker
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, science-fiction
The more novels I read from Ms. Kowal, the more I'm impressed with her writing, stories, and characters. Her endings always make my eyes water. She does a fantastic job narrating this series, so if you're planning to read this, I highly recommend the audiobook.
Richard Derus
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, returned
Thirteen (13) w-bombs. THIRTEEN.

And I still gave it all five stars.

I am plumb wore out and need me some shut-eye. I'll be back tomorrow or something.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And, we're off to Mars!
This novel felt tighter and flowed better than book one. It's 1961, and humans have colonised the moon. Elma's been ferrying people back and forth between the moon and earth. NASA's been preparing, in the meantime, for a trip to Mars to investigate it for a future colony. Because of a growing opposition movement on earth (Earth First), NASA's budget's and the Mars endeavour are in jeopardy. Elma's parachuted into the already months-long training program, much to the disgus
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Once again, Kowall has done a meticulous job with her research, creating a very believable and detailed portrait of a mission to Mars .... in the early 60’s. This didn’t make five stars merely because I was a bit put off by the jump forward in time and I was expecting a more concrete resolution to the books. I kept expecting there to be more even as I neared the end. And perhaps there will be, I don’t know. I do know that I’d read it if there were!
Executive Summary: I liked this book more than The Calculating Stars in some ways, and less in others.

Audiobook: Ms. Kowal once again does a great job narrating her own book. She does all the little things that adds that element that makes doing the audio worth it.

Full Review
I liked The Calculating Stars so much that I bought this book even before I had finished listening to that one.

This one gets more in the fiction part of the sci-fi and feels much less like historical fiction than its pred
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed The Calculating Stars, but *devoured* The Fated Sky. Brilliant.
Beth Cato
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, science
I started on The Fated Sky the day after finishing the first book in the duology. Together, they are among my favorite reads for the year.

In this alternate history, an impact off the American eastern seaboard in the early 1950s killed millions and is starting to cause radical shifts in the planet's climate. Elma York, pilot and rocket program computer, has been involved in the efforts to get humanity space-born along with her husband, lead engineer Nathaniel York. A decade after the cataclysm, t
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A strange experience - this felt like a five-star science-fiction novel that was very much weighed down by occasionally clunky 101 effort to be not just diverse in representation but didactic. (view spoiler) ...more
Shaun Hutchinson
I really adored this second installment of the Lady Astronaut series, and I wish there were more to come. I especially liked the interplay between Elma and Parker. I felt like they were both flawed characters (Parker flawed more than Elma) who came to understand, respect, and even appreciate one another.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alternate-history, sf
I rarely read series and I rarely read two books in a row by the same author, but having just read the Calculating Stars, I promptly got hold of a copy of the Fated Sky and devoured it. Stayed up until 1 am reading. I loved the realistic life-in-space details like the shifting locations of foot calluses.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
17 December 2014, Mary Robinette Kowal tweeted, "It's not about adding diversity for the sake of diversity, it's about subtracting homogeneity for the sake of realism." For me, The Fated Sky embodies this tweet in a powerfully refreshing way. The diverse cast of characters presented in this book deal with a number of timely issues without ever coming across as preachy. Elma's flawed perceptions of the world around her are at times brought into focus in ways that help add depth to her and all of ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Because I’m a professional, I actually made it to the gravity toilet in the centrifugal ring before I threw up.”

Hard science fiction with a heart. Kowal melds hard physics and space flight procedures with realistic conflicts of identity and personality. Even better than The Calculating Stars. She never lets the reader forget that this tale is set in the 50s and 60s, not the 60s and 70s. Huge, but often subtle difference.

“This’ll be the only time that Apartheid works in our favor.” At my puzzle
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
In the continuing saga of Mad Men in Space, the Lady Astronaut goes to Mars and this time, learns about...racism! Mary Robinette Kowal continues to do a fantastic job with the audio narration which gives it a very radio play-esque feel. Some real-life NASA heroes make throwaway appearances as the fictional timeline starts to catch up with the real timeline of the space program, such as Gus Grissom and Katherine Johnson, but don't you worry, it's still very much the Elma York Show! While I enjoye ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.5 Stars
This is one of the few instances where the follow up novel was even better than the first book in the series. While I enjoyed the Calculating Stars, I preferred this second novel because it focused more on the science fiction future than the historical aspects of the plot. Once again, the story was incredibly compelling with a heavy focus on gender and racial discrimination. Likewise, I continued to love the cast of characters, who were all well rounded and complex..

I read this as an a
Dana Stabenow
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Martian told first person female with less science and more humanity. We will bring our baggage with us into space, whether we go there voluntarily or are driven there by a meteorite strike as happens here, but we will power through those problems and we will survive. Definitely comes under the heading of a feel-good book, and it's hard sf all the way which makes me very happy.
Ben Babcock
If it feels like just yesterday that I read The Calculating Stars , that’s because it practically was! I seldom read sequels so close together, but once in a while I manage to buy them at the same time. In this case, I rushed out and bought The Fated Sky the weekend after I finished the first book and very deliberately made this my first book of 2019—I like to start my reading year off with something I know I will enjoy.

Part of me really just wants to say: what I said in my review of The Calcul
Liz Orange
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

I'm happy to say that I was utterly blown away with The Lady Astronaut series.

This is an alternate history series that covers multiple topics that were issues in the early 60's and are issues today, including but not limited to sexism, racism, and mental health. The Fated Sky continues Elma's story three years after the events of The Calculating Stars . Just when Elma decides she wants to settle down and start a family with Nathaniel, sh
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked this book.
The characters feel real and tangible, as in the previous book; I was looking forward to seeing how some relationships would develop, and I wasn't at all disappointed. The science part is enjoyable and well balanced in the story, as in the previous book; you can feel the relevance of it without getting too technical.

I'd rate The Fated Sky 5 stars if it weren't for (view spoiler)
The Captain
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! Me first read of 2018 was a novelette called the lady astronaut of mars. I had gotten it from the library only to be surprised that it was only 19 pages! I expected it to be a full length novel. But the story was absolutely wonderful and so this year I wanted to read the two novels in the series.

So this book is an alternate history which posits the idea of what would have happened if in 1952 a major meteorite hit the Earth and was going to lead to an extinction style event
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, digital

That ending was beautiful.

I didn't love it as much as the first book, I love that one so damn much that it was going to be hard for this one to live up to that one. I feel like something was missing, yes the stakes were higher in this one and a little more plot driven as the crew are making their journey through space with Mars as their destination, but I needed more of that character interaction that we got in the first. As much as I love Elma the rest of the crew were a bit meh. And what t
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The Sword and Laser: TCS: The Fated Sky (spoilers) 30 92 Mar 10, 2019 12:59AM  
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Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and her short story "For Want of a Nail" won the 2011 Hugo. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year's Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass (Tor 2012).

Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CB

Other books in the series

Lady Astronaut (4 books)
  • The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)
  • The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut, #3)
  • The Derivative Base (Lady Astronaut, #4)
“If you were here, I would take you into the garden module and lean over the tomato beds so that as you took me from behind, my face would be pressed into the fragrant green leaves with each thrust.” 0 likes
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