Kirstie's Reviews > The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
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it was amazing
bookshelves: quality-characters-w-disabilities, science-fiction, speculative-fiction, strong-female-characters, alternate-history
Read 2 times. Last read February 9, 2019 to February 21, 2019.

In an alternate history where a meteor crashes into the earth in 1952 the space race is kicked off early in an attempt to find a new home for humanity in the stars. Elma York is a genius level mathematician an WWII pilot who dreams of being one of the first female astronauts, only to find it's not quite that easy to get past the glass ceiling of the 1950s.

The characters are all deeply detailed and believable characters, and even the villains (frustrating though they are) you know there are people exactly like them (even now). I especially loved getting a little glimpse not just into the 1950s, but also into facets of the space program, Jewish life, and Elma and Nathaniel's hilarious rocket based sexy talk (seriously, prepare to experience more rocket based sexy talk than I've ever heard before. (There might be a porn or erotica novel out there somewhere that does more, but I've not had the pleasure ;p ))

An interesting thing to see was not just that sexism was highlighted, but racism, and mental health. I especially liked how Elma started off oblivious to the racism but slowly began to see it (eg/ black plane mechanics not being listed in the phone book despite being entirely capable of the job).

If you looked at the book's pacing objectively (ie/ if someone wrote out the bare-bones plot) you might think it unspeakably slow, but when actually reading it flows quickly and you just keep on reading. It's a truly enjoyable book and I must admit to promptly having purchased the sequel upon completing this one.

2019 Re-Read
My husband and I wanted to listen to an audiobook while we took a two week road trip and after being *severely* disappointed by our first choice (we DNFed that atrocity) we agreed on this, and both enjoyed it thoroughly. Enough so T-J was happy for me to play the next book immediately after (though by then we were half an hour from home so didn't get far in it ;p )

I also got to notice when Clements was handing out assignments nearer to the end he gave a job to 'Wells, Taylor, and Sanderson' which made me lol because if you listen to Kowal's 'Writing Excuses' podcast those are her co-hosts.
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Reading Progress

September 18, 2018 – Started Reading
September 18, 2018 – Shelved
September 24, 2018 – Finished Reading
October 30, 2018 – Shelved as: quality-characters-w-disabilities
October 30, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
October 30, 2018 – Shelved as: speculative-fiction
October 30, 2018 – Shelved as: strong-female-characters
October 30, 2018 – Shelved as: alternate-history
February 9, 2019 – Started Reading
February 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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