The Calculating Stars

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The Calculating Stars
First edition
AuthorMary Robinette Kowal
CountryUnited States of America
SeriesLady Astronaut
GenreScience fiction
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
July 3, 2018
Followed byThe Fated Sky 

The Calculating Stars is a science fiction novel by American writer Mary Robinette Kowal. The book was published by Tor Books on July 3, 2018.[1] It is the first book in the "Lady Astronaut" series and is a prequel to the 2012 short story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars".


Shortly after President Thomas Dewey leads the United States to victory in the space race in 1952, a meteorite strikes the Chesapeake Bay, obliterating most of the Eastern Seaboard. In the aftermath, mathematician and former WASP pilot Elma York calculates that the resulting climate change will make the planet uninhabitable within 50 years. This threat accelerates efforts to colonize space and leads to Elma joining the International Aerospace Coalition in its attempt to reach, first the Moon, then Mars.


The Calculating Stars won the 2019 Nebula Award for Best Novel,[2] the 2019 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel,[3] the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel,[4] and the 2019 Sidewise Award for Alternate History.[5]

Publishers Weekly considered it "outstanding", with Elma's personal life "provid(ing) a captivating human center to the apocalyptic background."[6]

James Nicoll praised Kowal for being willing to include historically accurate racial and gender issues.[7]


  1. ^ "The Calculating Stars - Mary Robinette Kowal - Macmillan". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Nebula Awards 2019". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  3. ^ locusmag (2019-06-29). "2019 Locus Awards Winners". Locus Online. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  4. ^ 2019 Hugo Award & 1944 Retro Hugo Award Finalists, by Cheryl Morgan, at; published April 2, 2019; retrieved July 23, 2019
  5. ^ 2018 Sidewise Award Nominees, at Locus; published August 19, 2019; retrieved August 20, 2019
  6. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Ages and Ages Hence". James Nicoll Reviews. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

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