Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Nebula Update: The Calculating Stars

I'm now down to 7 books to read in my Nebula Best Novel quest. I finished the latest winner, The Calculating Stars. It has a lot of good bits, but I was put off by its approach to alternate history.

Here is my Goodreads review.

The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book is well-written and compelling, but I can't bring myself to give it more than 3 stars. As with the novellette that ends the series, I find the rules of its alternate history confusing. In the notes, the author explains that she made Dewey instead of Truman president because she had written herself into a corner on the timeline in the novella. But then there's an asteroid strike that seems to be the main divergence, which is explained fairly differently in the prequel short story than it seems to be in the book. And then there's a character in the book who died in real life in 1920, so it seems like things are just being changed around for the convenience of the story.

If you can get past that, it's at least a 4-star book, if not 5 stars.



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