The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal is an alluring and infuriating must read. From the socio-political themes to the catastrophic extinction level event that requires immediate action—all currently, highly relevant and related—the plot focuses on the main character’s quest to become an astronaut after a meteorite strikes off the coast of D.C. causing a rise in temperatures that will ultimately lead to an unoccupiable Earth.
The first couple of chapters are riveting. Character driven, the book converges on the main character’s climb thru the space program and accurately and infuriatingly chronicles the sexist, racist, religious, and mental health issues that women continually face in a patriarchal system.
You will feel emotions. If you don’t, I question your empathy. At several points, I wanted to throw my kindle across the room.
Some of the more technical details are a bit dry that I tend to speed read thru in science fiction—my issue, not the authors. Personally, I would’ve preferred a broader socio-political brush to the context of the society the characters lived post-meteorite, but understand you only have so many pages to devote. The good news is there is a sequel and I plan to read it.