CALCULATING STARS Excerpt –
In the East. At the euphemism, the saleslady’s eyes widened and her brows peaked with pity. “Oh— you poor dear.” And then curiosity followed, like a predator drawn to blood. “Where were you?”
Mrs. Lindholm pulled out a navy blue dress from the rack and held it up. “She doesn’t have anything except the clothes on her back.”
A middle-aged white woman appeared from between the racks of clothing. “You were really there? You saw the meteor?”
“Meteorite. A meteor breaks up before impact.” As if anyone cared about scientific accuracy. I think this might have been the last time I corrected someone. “Meteorite,” for whatever quirk of the English language, sounded almost cute. “But no, we were three hundred miles away.”
THE CALCULATING STARS Summary:
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.
About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.
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