Wednesday, February 6, 2019
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Lady Astronaut - Book One
I started this book thinking I was about to read an alternate history about a group of women pioneering space flight on an alternate, historical planet Earth. What I felt I just read was an autobiography of one of the first women in space. An AU space, but still... not what I expected.
The story is told from the first person POV of Elma York, who is a mathematician and was a WASP pilot during the war. World War 2. She's also married to Nathaniel, who is an engineer and they are both Jewish. (Although, for some reason - I suspect because of Hidden Figures - I kept thinking of her as black.) Both of them are very, very smart. The story begins in alternate 1952 and t the world isn't that much different from reality.
There is an awful lot of Elma becoming more and more aware of racial discrimination against people of colour while being subjected to antisemitism and prejudice against women personally. The latter half of the book is taken up with the beginnings of integration in the International Aerospace Coalition and Elma's learning to deal with her crippling - at times - anxiety as she moves closer to her goal of getting into space.
So, I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't get the story I expected to get when I picked up the book. BUT, the book was a good read if I look at it as an AU auto-biography. And because of that, I've added book 2 to the 'want to read' list.