Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal

After the smart, brilliant, thrilling The Calculating Stars, this second novel in the Lady Astronaut series is just as good - thrilling, compelling and compassionate as our heroine is part of the first crewed mission to Mars in an alternative 1960s.

There are all kinds of hazards along the way, including diarrhoea in space - a hundred times more horrible than it sounds - and Earthbound conspiracists attacking their own technological infrastructure in ways that echo recent attacks on 5G. In fact, this tale of people cooped up together for long stretches really resonates just now, the astronauts missing loved ones and unable to do anything about the medical emergencies affected their loved ones back home...

Yet for all the big events and hard science, this is a novel about the little stuff - the interpersonal relationships, the struggle not to be That Arsehole.
"Space always sounds glamorous when I talk about it on television or the radio, but the truth is that we spend most of our time cleaning and doing maintenance." (p. 425).
I'm keen for the next instalment, The Relentless Moon, due out later this year, but the author's website includes links to some short stories in the meantime:
Here's the list in internal chronological order:
"We Interrupt This Broadcast"The Calculating Stars"Articulated Restraint"The Fated SkyThe Relentless Moon - coming 2020
The Derivative Base - coming 2022
"The Phobos Experience" - in Fantasy & Science Fiction July 2018"Amara's Giraffe""Rockets Red""The Lady Astronaut of Mars" 

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