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.