The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, a puppeteer and recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (now the Astounding Award), is the 1st novel in the Lady Astronaut series of alternate history science fiction, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Macmillan’s Tor Books.
This is their featured free eBook of the Month Club offer for June, won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Sidewise Awards, and is being offered free to help promote the upcoming 3rd novel, The Relentless Moon, due in July.
The series takes place in an alternate 1950s where a global disaster prompts international efforts to accelerate and expand space exploration with the aim of colonizing the Moon and beyond to preserve humanity, and provides the prequel backstory to the Hugo Award for Best Novelette winning short “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” (readable free online at the Tor.com website).
This installment sets up the realization of the long-term effects of the initial meteorite strike and the ensuing efforts of talented women to take an equal role in the future as astronauts themselves, as seen from the viewpoint of a US mathematician and former pilot turned “calculator” for the new space program as she struggles against public and professional prejudices as well as her own disabling personal anxieties.
Offered through Friday, June 26th until just before midnight Eastern Time, available DRM-free to Canada & US only directly from the publisher.
Free for a limited time directly via @ the publisher’s dedicated promo page (DRM-free ePub & Mobi bundle officially available in Canada & US only due to geographic restrictions, requires newsletter signup with valid email address)
Mary Robinette Kowal’s science fiction debut, 2019 Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Award for best novel, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars.”
Winner 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novel
Winner 2019 Locus Award for Best Novel
Winner 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel
Finalist 2019 Campbell Memorial Award
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.
Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.
Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance/ against her.