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The Fated Sky cover art

The Fated Sky

Written by: Mary Robinette Kowal
Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
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Publisher's Summary

Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars. The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. 

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic - but potentially very dangerous - mission. Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the civil rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? 

This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

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

What listeners say about The Fated Sky

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A MUST Read/Listen!!!

I initially only listened to the first book—The Calculating Stars—because I joined a book club and it was on the roster. I am normally not a fan of science fiction but decided to give the first book a try so I could participate in discussion. I fell in love with the book instantly and listened through it in a day. Because of that, I had to get and listen to the second in the 2-book series. Again, I listened through it in just a day! Not only are these books easy “reads”, they address a number of ‘hot topics’ of today: 1) the stigma of mental health; 2) race and gender inequality; 3) global warming/the greenhouse effect; etc. These topics are woven throughout the storyline in a tactful way that causes the reader/listener to stop and think about them. I feel the author eloquently touches on both sides of the issues without letting bias pull the reader one way or another; she causes the reader to truly stop and think about the issue and it’s role/effect in daily life.
I would HIGHLY recommend both books in this series! Worth every penny and every minute spent listening!
The narrator also does a splendid job at capturing the characters and the emotions. Plus, how she does the over-the-intercom voices is incredible!

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The second book keeps it amazing

same as the first book, the second book had the same amazing storytelling, character build up, and narration with week researched social and scientific elements. Mary has written the best protagonist out there. This book is a 6/5 for me!

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Once the Dust Settles

As a follow up to the Calculating Stars, I got this book as soon as I was able to and loved it. I still love the feel of Nathan's and Elma's relationship, the solidarity of it, but also the struggles of it. I love the realism of it, even the pee in space thing (ick ick ick burping toilets)

I loved it. It's so awesome, it's wonderful and I really think everyone should take time for it

#Audible1

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Not quite as good as book 1 but still good!

It felt like there was a lot of repetition in this one and more of the same from the last Lady Astronaut book. In many ways it is the last book, or a continuation of it, but it didnt feel as fresh this time around which dulled the luster a bit.

There's still lots to love though, from the exciting opening scene, to "The Bag", then to the ammonia leak, the communication blackout, right to the ending scene. So many wonderful moments that I appreciate, having gotten to know these characters in book 1 (Parker being the main one!)

I'm now immediately downloading "Word Puppets" again and relistening to the short stories that gotnme hooked in the first place!

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  • Areader
  • 2018-09-26

The authors Agenda is showing

I have mixed feelings about this book, much as I did about "the Calculating Stars" Elma is annoyingly perfect except for her conveniently socially relevant blind-spots that allow the author to drive home her ideas about entitlement and racial bias with a club. I agree with her views but the book would have been better if she'd put the story first.

The book IS well written and well read but I'm left with the feeling I've just left a lecture or a political meeting and if I wanted to go to one of those I'd I wouldn't be sitting on the coach listening to audio books.

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  • Sparrow
  • 2020-04-07

Go ahead and read book two...

Mary Robinette Kowal should not read for the audio renditions of her work. Thank heavens she backed off of the caricature voices and the disturbing emotive outbursts as the story went on or I wouldn't have been able to finish these books. It does get better. But it's still not right. With that off my chest, a review:

This series has been critiqued for being low on sci fi but excessive on characterization and interpersonal drama. It's true. This is a slice of life story dressed up in astronaut's gear - to the nines. But it's well written, which is more than I can say for the many other novels I have started and abandoned in the last few weeks, and I enjoyed it.

Even so, this installment did press the edges of my interest by the end. If the lack of action in book one bothered you, book two is worse. The one redeeming quality: You don't have to endure the overinundation of repetitive foreplay talk and the idealized marital relationship that hijacked book one.

Not a stellar recommendation? Sorry, it's what I got. If you liked book one, just go ahead and read this one.

PG13 for some adult themes

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  • shane
  • 2018-09-12

Fantastic sequel to the first book !

A great alternative version of history and space , this book does not disappoint ! an enjoyable listen .with a great narration !

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8 people found this helpful

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  • Donna (Girl Who Reads)
  • 2018-09-06

I didn't want it to end

I'm sad that I finished this book. It was so, so good that I didn't want it to end. I love Elma but I became attached to all the characters and I want to know how they resolve the racial issues and if a colony is really successful. I know there is still a novella in this series, but I want more of this world that Mary Robinette Kowal has created

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7 people found this helpful

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  • Chester Johnson
  • 2018-08-27

Alternative timeline masterpiece!

I'm a huge fan of alternate timeline stories, and this series satisfies that craving. This novel in particular builds on its predecessor in an intelligent way, by detailing the steps humanity would be taking in its next step from a moon colony to its first manned Mars mission. During this adventure we get to experience the continued story of mankind dealing with the social issues of the 50's and 60's as we are forced to "grow up" quickly as a united and equal humanity of all races, colors, creeds, and genders to ensure the continuity of our species off of our slowly dying homeworld. 5 out of 5 star rating, and I hope to see more of Elma and Nathaniel York's adventure on Mars soon!!!!

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  • Kevin
  • 2019-06-17

Love everything about this series.

If you're on the fence on buying this series, DO IT. It's amazing Sci-Fi and alternate history. It really make you think about how different life was in the 1950s-1960s and what humans achieved with so little technology compared to today's standard.

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  • Bikram Agarwal
  • 2019-04-09

Overhyped

This book again starts with the "rocket launch" innuendo. Does the author not know any other way of referring to that? I was irritated by repeat of this from the beginning.

Characterizations in this book felt quite weird to me. Elma was trying to be portrayed as holier than thou, but at several places she came off as self-centered jerk. And why the hell was the author hell bent on redeeming Parker. That guy was sexual predator, as the author clarified at several places during the two books. Yet, it looked like this book's mission is to establish that "aww... he's not that bad after-all." Just no. Once you are sexually exploiting people at your workplace, you have no redeeming qualities. Period.

Moreover, it looked like the story was heading towards Elma getting a crush on Parker. ffs.

Apart from all these, the story itself wasn't anything unique. First expedition to mars. Few critical issues during the voyage. <spoiler>Few people die. But they finally reach the destination.</spoiler> Meh.

And still a poor narration. Only Elma's voice was unique. All other females have one voice. All other males have one voice.

To me it sounds like this series is hyped just because "yayy... women."

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  • C. Haase
  • 2018-09-03

Second book does NOT dissapoint

So many good moments and so well researched. I googled a bunch of terms to find them accurate and loved it. Didn't imagine how my opinion if a character would change throughout the book. Can hardly wait for book .

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  • JN
  • 2020-12-04

Incredible story, But it has one major pr-

This is that book. You know the one where it’s going along awesome and then it just ends mid-story? No climax? No denouement?

Yeah. That’s this one.

Other than that, it’s wonderful. Honestly, I wish it had sucked all the way through, because then I’d not be so ticked that it just randomly just stopped.

It’s like she got bored writing and decided, “nah. I’m good. Callin’ it a day.”

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  • The Lance Gifford
  • 2018-11-11

Worthy Follow-Up to The Lady Astronaut

The extraordinary Mary Robinette Kowal follows her Lady Astronaut novel with...well, I am not sure one would call it a sequel--I think of it more as a "what-are-they-doing-now" follow up.

Beginning years after The Lady Astronaut end, Elma is a veteran astronaut and pilot, enmeshed in the routine of flying transports on the moon. Events conspire to ground her just when the Mars expedition(s) are forming. Will she make it to Mars? Will she ever even fly again?

Once again, Mary Robinette delivers a brilliant book, a terrific read (listen!) and satisfying in every respect. Her craft as a writer is matched by her narrative skills as she again brings Elma to life.

#spaceexploration #althistory #femaleprotagonist #moon #mars #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

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  • Marie Balon
  • 2019-11-10

Even better than the first opus!

This book was so good I let my food burn to a crisp WHILE STANDING NEXT TO IT. I was entirely absorbed.

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