Review Blog

Aug 21 2019

The fated sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

cover image

Lady Astronaut book 2. Tor Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780765398949.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Women astronauts, Space colonies, Mathematicians, Gender stereotyping, Racism. Fans of the award winning The Calculating Stars will devour The fated sky which is set a couple of years later. Lady Astronaut Elma York is now living on a colony on the Moon and may have the chance to be part of a trip to Mars. After an asteroid devastated Earth it had became imperative for new worlds to be discovered, and Elma is determined to be part of that journey. Along with 13 other astronauts of differing race and nationalities, she is assigned to the Martian mission and sets out into space.
Kowal examines what it would be like to live and work together in a space vehicle, where the Captain doesn't believe that women should be allowed into space, and where a South African man doesn't trust his non-white companions. This examination of gender stereotyping and racist attitudes as well as the dangers of the voyage, make for a breathtaking and thought provoking read in this alternative history. It is fascinating to ponder what would have happened if the NASA space program had continued in the 60s, and what effects the racism and sexism so evident then would have had.
The fated sky, like The calculating stars, is sure to be on many short lists and award lists and readers will hope for a third book, while looking out the short story, The lady astronaut of Mars (2014), which was the catalyst for the series.
Pat Pledger

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