The Calculating Stars concentrates on the climate changing event of the meteor strike and Elma’s struggle to be taken seriously as a mathematician physicist pilot. Elma, the Lady Astronaut, has such determination in the face of harrowing misogyny. Her anxiety is visceral—I could feel how upset she was. The completely undramatic loving relationship she has with her husband is what so many books should aspire too.
I gave this book to my mom to read—not a sci-fi/fantasy/alternate history reader at all—and she loved it so much she used it as her book club pick.
The Fated Sky concentrates less on misogyny—it’s five years later and the ladies have more than proved their skills and worth—and tackles racism while giving us an amazing adventure of what happens on the long space flight to Mars.
While both of these books have the larger themes of misogyny and racism, they are explored through life situations so that it’s easy to forget while reading the social issues the characters face. Yet, when you’re finished, what sticks with you as much as the adventure is those issues and how they must be faced in order to move past them.
These two books were wonderfully imagined and written. I can’t recommend them enough.