Not so Hidden Figures

The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first glance a story about the apocalypse—a meteor strikes Earth in the 1950s with devastating longterm effects. At second glance this is more an exploration of discrimination against women and persons of colour in that time in the US. And an exploration of the Space Race, this time not against the Russians, but against the end of the world.

A quarter into the book I wasn’t sure, if I liked the book or the main protagonist. Well written, a bit too linear and straight forward for me in this instance and maybe a little bit boring. Good beginning, but seemingly fairly flat story telling. And I just wanted to smack Elma around the head on many occasions. But I guess she is a product of her time, although she wants more. I couldn‘t really see the Elma of the short story in this.

Surprisingly, not a lot of tension at first. Yes, the Earth is about to end, eventually. But that didn‘t really drive the plot forward a lot. Character driven stories are not really my favourite books, and if they are, I want more character development than this. The plot sort of ambled along in a more or less predictable fashion. I had expected something different, after reading the Hugo Award winning novelette Lady Astronaut of Mars.

Nonetheless, it is a well told story with a lot of food for thought and the last chapter was just fabulous. I almost cried. Elma‘s love for flying and space shines through and the writing is very imaginative and poetic at times.

So a well-deserved 4 stars, despite what I wrote above. I didn‘t love it enough for the five star treatment. I will maybe read the next book, because Space! Right? perhaps I‘ll have talked myself into 5 stars soon, if I keep thinking about the book some more.

I recommend reading this article for further inspiration:…

View all my reviews

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