The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The worldbuilding aspect deserves mention because this is a full continuation of all the events in the previous novel, one where a meteorite destroys a good portion of the United States and where the nineteen-sixties become a backdrop for a big push off the planet due to rampant heating and eventually boiling oceans.
What makes the novel special is the luck and quirk and the actions of the women to get themselves equal access to the whole project. It's not just a space race. It's the survival of humanity. It's not like people are going to clone themselves out in space. :)
This novel picks up with the Mars project well underway. Nice touches, or perhaps themes, constantly brings back the inequality issue in both race and sex. And since this is a very valid concern for today as well as the 60's, but the 60's are at enough of a remove, it actually comes off as more charming and calm while being quite realistic. There's no bra-burning here. No nasty tweets, either. One might say this is a perfect combination of subject and platform just distant enough to give us all some great perspective.
What makes this better than most others is Kowal's writing. I'm invested in the characters, I want to know what happens, and it always straddles a great fine line.
Oh, and it's a great adventure, two ships going to mars, lots of complications, and a few really big and wonderful heart-to-hearts.
Anyone have a problem with a certain male from the other book?
Ah, well, I LOVED the redemption arc here. That's just me. I'm also male, but I hope that doesn't matter. Reasons and better understanding can go a VERY long way to transforming a dick into someone who might still be a dick, but at least he's not SO much of a dick. Oh, and respect goes both ways for the characters. That's a big bonus. And a lesson.
We're all in this together even if we're all jerks. :) :) Am I talking about the battle of the sexes? Maaaaaybe?
All said, I'm quite impressed and very happy to read this novel. It can possibly be read without the first but I would never recommend it. Characters are most of the fun here.
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