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The Fated Sky

(Lady Astronaut Universe #2)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  9,818 ratings  ·  1,280 reviews
Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold ...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Tor Books
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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 i…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)

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Brandon Sanderson
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
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 really liked it  ·  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 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 easier or any less po
Allison Hurd
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 cr
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 wonde
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...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 au
Even better than the first. Maybe since we have more space in it.

I liked the conversations Elma had with Florence and Leonard about racism. Never, ever, explain someone else's experience.

Now, I don't get most of the techno babbles but it was not too hard to immerse myself especially since Kowal had such a flowing narrative.

I still applaud her research into making this series. After looking at her references, I am happy that I have some in my TBR already. Space makes a fun read, fiction and nonfi
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
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
“The Fated Sky” is the sequel to a book I mostly enjoyed: “The Calculating Stars” but that enjoyment was leavened with some qualms and niggling concerns. While I liked getting to know the main character Elma York and was thrilled with the prominence of mathematical concepts like the Fibonacci series and prime numbers, there always seemed to be “something off” about the ethos of the first book. The concept of the series is very clever: suppose the Space Race started a decade earlier due to an ext ...more
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
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part two, and very much a (near) seamless continuation of, and fully consistent sequel to, part one, The Calculating Stars. I read them pretty much (but not exactly) back-to-back, and ... given that they're both relatively quick reads, I could easily imagine folks buying the two-book set and treating the work as a single, large tome.

I can't imagine reading the second without the first, nor can I fathom an argument for reading them out of order....

Frankly, I really can't think of anything to add
Jenny Baker
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Richard Derus
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fated Sky continues the story of the Elma York, the Lady Astronaut, taking her from the moon to the first Mars mission. Kowal’s writing feels more assured in this book. While the story is foremost a great adventure—the launch, technical problems en route a la Apollo 13, crew conflicts, a communication blackout, and finally Mars—Kowal continues to raise important questions appropriate not only to the book's time frame but also today.

In The Fated Sky racism plays a larger role, first via an Ea
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I preferred The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky is still a worthy successor.

The story is very different in many ways, but some things haven't changed in the years since the meteor struck Earth and the world undertook to accelerate efforts to explore and colonize space. All of the same social problems remain: sexism, racism, discrimination based on gender and sexual identity to name a few. The question becomes whether in the pressurised environment of sure environmental and economic colla
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 pr
Dawn C
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-ibooks
I really wished I could like this more, but I find Kowal’s writing annoyingly juvenile. Elma bites her lip as much as Anastasia in Fifty Shades and the rocket launch sexy euphemisms between Elma and her husband are nauseating. And when I wasn’t rolling my eyes at that I often felt I was reading woke Twitter, where letting the characters speak like organic human beings was sacrificed in Kowal’s eagerness to educate the reader on the social and racial injustice of not only that time but today.

Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Di Maitland
'“When you got assigned to the Mars mission, there was general consensus that our relationship might cause me to have confused priorities relating to the mission.”
“Clearly they don’t know you.”
“No, they do know me. I would sacrifice everyone on both ships to keep you safe.” He pushed the bra strap to the side, followed it down to the cup, and then dipped inside it to cradle my breast.
“I need you not to make exceptions for me.”
“I try not to, but it’s not actually possible.”'

A worthy successor to
Karen’s Library
5 GIANT stars to this brilliant book which took me on a journey to Mars!

I'm such a NASA geek so I love astronauts and space travel and space and gravity or no gravity or low gravity or any thing related to any of this. I love the moon and Mars and colonizing planets. I love the science of it all! Mary Robinette holds nothing back at explaining the science! Did I understand it all? Heck no! But I got enough to get the gist.

Elma York was a computer in book 1, The Calculating Stars, but became a
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2020, scifi, favourites

Kowal’s second novel in this alternate history carries on with the race to colonise space while juggling with the ever worsening situation - meteorological and political - on Earth. Elma is ferrying people from the planet to the new base on the Moon, when she is pulled and added to the Mars team as a marketing tool to ensure funding and positive public image, taking the place of one of the POC astronaut. The narration follows her efforts to catch up and fit in the team in light of resentmen
So I never actually wrote a review of the first book in this series. I review-amnestied it late last year, in the 40+ reviews I just gave up on because I let my review backlog get Out Of Control. We read it for my IRL book club, and we were all excited to read about lady astronauts doing science and winning against misogyny, but all of us had very mixed feelings about it. I flew through the book, but also had problems with it at the same time. I thought, with the exception of the first 100 pages ...more
Review from Tenacious Reader:

The Fated Sky is set a number of years after the end of The Calculating Stars. A colony has been established on the moon, and they are working to develop a colony on Mars. I continue to really enjoy this series. Kowal creates very intriguing characters, keeps the pace moving well and just writes very readable and compelling stories.

If you missed reading the first one, I highly recommend you go check it out. It is an alternate
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)
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed The Calculating Stars, but *devoured* The Fated Sky. Brilliant.
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "The Fated Sky" by Mary Robinette Kowal (BR) 48 67 May 22, 2019 06:39PM  
The Sword and Laser: TCS: The Fated Sky (spoilers) 30 110 Mar 10, 2019 12:59AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct page number 2 15 Aug 25, 2018 07:56PM  

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Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the Lady Astronaut series and historical fantasy novels: The Glamourist Histories series and Ghost Talkers . She’s the President of SFWA, a member of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses, and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, four Hugo awards, the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel, the Nebula, and Locus awards. Stories have a ...more

Other books in the series

Lady Astronaut Universe (4 books)
  • The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut Universe, #1)
  • The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut Universe, #3)
  • The Martian Contingency (Lady Astronaut Universe, #4)

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