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The Calculating Stars

A Lady Astronaut Novel
Série : Lady Astronaut, Volume 1
Durée : 11 h et 38 min
4 out of 5 stars (4 notations)

Prix : 22,40 €

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Description

Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning Lady Astronaut of Mars

Den of Geek - Best Science Fiction Books of June 2018 

Omnivoracious - Fifteen Highly Anticipated SFF Reads for Summer 2018 

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the East Coast of the US, including Washington, DC. 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.

©2018 Mary Robinette Kowal (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Notations

Global

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Histoire

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
Trier par :
  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • sonja holmes
  • 16/07/2018

it's a nice story

"The calculating stars" is a nice story about an alternate history Space Program. The author does an excellent job of bringing life to the story, which is a good thing, because I think if I were to just read it, it would have been a little flat. This would be a fantastic story for a preteen or even a child, but it lacks drama. Now, not all stories need to be a daring space drama with horrible monsters and and heroic leaps of... heroism, but i kept eaiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never did. I see this story as the way the Space Program would have proceeded if everyone in the world were Canadian. A good read, but don't expect action.

39 sur 43 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mean Jane
  • 27/07/2018

Super impressed

Wonderful attention to detail, phenomenal voice acting, and wonderful characters. My only quibble is that it does sag in the middle as the story turns from the meteor strike and space race to the main character dealing with her anxiety. It does pick up again and finishes with a bang. Highly recommended.

61 sur 69 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Bruno
  • 01/10/2018

Never achieves lift off

So very disappointing. An interesting alternate history premise, but a deeply awkward and clunky execution. Infuriating, repetitive, formulaic. Every now and then there are whiffs of originality and creativity (like when, in listing a group of new astronauts, the familiar names of actual Mercury and Gemini astronauts are included, without calling any attention to the fact), but these moments are rare. And the obsessive and obligatory (but, of course, socially sanctioned) sex scenes between the protagonist and her husband are excruciating as they strive to call up every rocket launch innuendo that they can. Eew.

The author reads her own work, which doesn't help matters. Over the top narration and exaggerated characterizations.

63 sur 73 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Shykim
  • 17/08/2018

Wanted to love it

There is a difference between reading and narrating. The author is OK at reading, but a complete amateur as a narrator. Her attempts at accents are painful - and distracting.

The characters, with the exception of the protagonist, are stereotypical and one dimensional. The protagonist is also a stereotype. She is what medicine used to described as a female hysteric. And yet, she is supposed to be a brilliant mathematician with 2 advanced degrees from Stanford, a child prodigy, and an accomplished pilot. Finally, she comes across as helpless, whiny and immature.

I suspect that the author may be trying to set her main character up for growth and change in the next book in the series, if so she overplayed her hand.

This book might be better if you read it rather than listen. Between the amateurish delivery and the whiny, pathetic marin character, the audio version is just annoying.

58 sur 68 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 16/10/2018

Promising story, cringeworthy main character ...

This story had promise and if you like romance novels with an intellectual undertone this might be for you. (I'm not a fan of romance novels so I can't say for sure.) I found the main character way too whiny. While her issues were justifiably real and I appreciate that ... it was the method they were delivered that I disliked. I am curious whether I would have the same impression of the main character as whiny if I had read rather than listened to the book. It is possible that this is more a narration rather than a story issue ... so I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt there. The other possibility is that this is simply how women in the 1950s behaved and that this is a more accurate representation than other books. If so, I guess it is a good thing I was not around then. I probably would have gotten into a lot of trouble.

47 sur 55 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alex Levine
  • 27/07/2018

Close to perfect

I am a literary nit-picker. I can't really help it. When I read a historical novel, part of me is always hunting for inaccuracies, and when I read an alternate history novel, that same part is always hunting for premise-breaking implausibilities. For me to really, really enjoy an alternate history, it has to either be entirely free of such defects, or pretty damn amazing, so amazing that my nit-picking module shuts down. This book is pretty damn amazing.

The amazingness has many facets, of which I can only mention a few. The first is its timeliness, appearing as it does just two years after Margot Lee Shetterly's wonderful "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race," along with the movie it inspired. Shetterly's book helped bring overdue attention to the contributions Black woman mathematicians, employed as computers, made to the American space program, when the electronic digital computing revolution was in its infancy. In our timeline, their efforts were supplemented by electronic computers as the technology improved, and a state-of-the-art electronic computer traveled to the moon with Armstrong and Aldrin. It may not have worked very well, but it was ready in time to make the trip.

In the timeline of this book, the American space program gets its start ten years earlier than in ours, and vast investment spurs most of the necessary technologies to advance more over the course of the 1950s than ours did over the 1960s. The one exception is electronic digital computing, which appears to be no further along in the 1955 of this book than it was in our own 1955. Suppose space program managers realize that astronauts may need to solve unforeseen problems in orbital mechanics on the fly. Suppose, further, that the best way to obtain a quick, accurate solution to such problems is to consult a skilled human with paper, pencil, and slide rule. Finally, suppose that the most skilled such humans are women. We have a recipe for a narrative in which, rather than lagging well behind the rest of 20th Century American Society in its lurching, uneven progress toward gender equality, the space program leads the way.

Our heroine and first-personal protagonist is, as we would expect, an extraordinary individual. But she is NOT a "steely-eyed missile man" in drag. She has payed a serious, even crippling price for having succeeded in a string of male-dominated fields, and her struggle to shoulder that baggage is perhaps the most compelling aspect of her more general struggle. She is also a woman of her time and place, one who has developed her strategies for selectively ignoring numerous small injustices, and for coping with those she cannot ignore. This is NOT an idealized crusader for women and minorities anachronistically written back into a society that no time for such people. She is a completely believable person who has learned how to pick her battles. She is surrounded by an equally believable supporting cast.

I won't sully this review by rehearsing any of the small number of nits I have picked. Read the book, or better yet listen to it in the author's expert narration.

63 sur 76 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jim N
  • 04/02/2019

Fizzles After a Great Start

The Calculating Stars received a lot of praise in 2018 so when I saw it on sale at Audible, I decided to give it a chance, despite being a little put off by the series title, which sounded silly to me. The book justifies that title well enough and after listening to the riveting first few hours of the novel, I told a friend that my misgivings were unfounded. The book's opening sequence, in which a massive meteorite strike in 1952 sets off a sequence of cataclysmic events, is great. Unfortunately, after that, it slows down, following a predictable path and never truly regaining that early momentum. The remainder of the novel reads like a Hallmark Channel riff on Hidden Figures, co-produced by the SyFy Channel. There are few surprises, the drama is minimal and the plot crawls toward a conclusion that's both predictable and inevitable. There are, however, a number of cringe-worthy "romantic" scenes between Elma, the protagonist, and her husband, Nathaniel, complete with increasingly painful rocket and launch references. After such a promising start, I was very disappointed.

The issues above are complicated on audio by the author's reading which was fine except when reading some of the characters, which veered into exaggerated caricature when voiced.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • sbsd13
  • 25/09/2018

awkward sex scenes ruin message

I didn't like this as much as Ghost Talkers. Mostly bc the character isn't as likeable and all she and her husband seem to do is exchange rocket ship sexual euphemisms before they bone. If I hear that "his engines were firing" one more time, I quit. (this was about 75% through).

But no, the “rockets firing” sex analogies didn’t quit. I did keep going though and read till the end. The women’s empowerment, mental illness, and racial equality storylines were cheapened by the foibles of the main character and the attempts to make Elma seem sexy and empowered by showing that she liked sex. How do we know she liked sex? Oh, because she talked about her husband’s genitals in rocket ship terminology. Of course! Completely accurate and representative. Best parts when the “lady astronaut” was actually doing things like flying a plane and solving flight trajectories, and I wish Kowal had made those parts the majority of the book.

27 sur 33 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bucko
  • 24/08/2018

So happy I listened to this.

It's rare that a book comes along and I get so wrapped up in it that I don't want it to end. I am a big fan of things having a beginning, middle, and an end... but not so much here. I didn't want this story to end.

I had no idea this book existed or who Mary Robinette Kowal was until I went to a book signing in Cincinnati with Patrick Rothfuss. At the signing he said "If I can recommend one book to you - one book that you should absolutely be reading - it's this one." And I am so glad I listened to him.

Mary Robinette Kowal's The Calculating Stars was one of the first books I've read in years that when it ended - I was disappointed. Not because it was a bad book, but because I wanted another 100 pages or more.

The alternate history of the United States and the astronaut program was spot-on perfect. She has written a version of my own timeline that, with the exception of the meteorite impact, I wish and dream had come true...

If you're here looking for reviews, you don't need me to recap the book. You just want to know if you should read it - and the answer is YES. Why are you waiting? It's an amazing story with strong, rich characters. And, thankfully for me, the sequel is already out. And I started reading it this morning.

This book will enter my "re-read" pile. And I could not be happier about it.

The audible version is read by the author and, wow, she does a great job at it. 5 Stars all around.

12 sur 15 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alisa
  • 17/07/2018

Stunning alternate history

I’ve just finished the audiobook, and I have enjoyed it immensely. The sense of immersion and of subject and material mastery was really wonderful - I absolutely believed it all the way through. And I loved how it’s clear to the reader that Elma is a 3-dimensional character whose actions are not all exemplary, but who tries to do better. Can’t wait for the sequel!!!

15 sur 19 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

Trier par :
  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Stanislav Sevcik
  • 23/04/2019

Not what I was looking for

To each their own. I can understand there is an audience for this book. But before you buy this one, I'd encourage you to look at other Kowal's works like Valour and Vanity, Of Noble Family or without a summer, it may even be enough to check their covers - expect this book be less Heinlein and more Jane Austen.

The book starts with a bang - our heroine is chilling with her husband in a romantic cabin in the woods when a world-wide catastrophy hits. However, the thrills screech to a grinding halt after about a dozen pages and the book turns from a sci-fi disaster story into a quasi-romance novel. You have the main character that has to fight for her place in the society, a cast of supporting ladies, you have your villain - a handsome and capable, but morally rotten guy; the only thing that is missing is the fated love of her life that she would yearn for but couldn't join, which is replaced by a husband that is perfect in every way - he's gentle, understanding, supportive, good looking and can cook.

The titular lady astronaut is not doing any space-faring things for 99% of the book. She's fighting to overcome stage fright, she's facing-off with the misoginistic generals, she is convincing other characters to join her in the cause and she is having wonderful intimate moments with her husband on a regular basis. Also the overall problems the world is facing are handled in a handful of off-hand remarks. This book is not a science fiction story. And that's fine, if that's what you want to read/hear, add two more stars to my rating. If you wanted a science-fiction story about the struggle to save the world, you'll find this one extremely slow in pacing, anachronistic in its presentation of the 1950's USA and unsatisfying both in the breadth and the depth of the issues presented.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SpaarZwärg
  • 13/07/2019

Awe

It's a great story awesomely narrated.
It made me smile, laught and cry of joy, thanks to exceptional great storyteling, underlined by a great narators voice.