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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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An immediate classic

Each decade, it seems, dozens of new authors write books. Most are acceptable, some are better than average and occasionally an excellent story appears to delight us. Very rarely, perhaps a handful of times each generation, come an author whose work is that of a master or his or her craft. Ms Kowal with her books The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky is such an author and these books are destined to join the honour roll of true classics of this genre. The characters are brought to full humanity with faults shown as openly and honestly as their strengths. Although an alternative timeline is used, the setting brought the turbulent middle decades of the 20th century into a stark and credible realism confronting issues of race and sexual discrimination into the storyline just as they permeated those decades in our time. The science is rigorous and believable even though the story deals with events we have not yet achieved and gives cogent and credible reason for this.

I found I joined the journey of the characters. I laughed, I cried, I imagined and I believed with them - only a very very few other books have ever engaged me so deeply. The audio narration is by the author herself and this was a delightful surprise; not only is Ms Kowal an expert narrator but her intimate knowledge of the characters gave the reading great emotional power and enhanced the experience.

I do not know the author nor am I in any way connected with the publishers. I bought these books myself and am so very glad I did. I look forward to future works by Ms Kowal and hope she can match the depth and beauty of these books. She has set the bar very high but has the talent needed. When her next book is released she already has a purchaser in me.

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I hope to god this is made into a Netflix series.

This story is great. The science seems solid. The characters are interesting, complex and all so very human.

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Best sci fi every

I’ve been trying to get myself into sci-fi and this has sealed the deal. I liked the first book a lot but LOVED the fated sky. The detail of research it must have taken to write this series is insane. I cannot WAIT for the next instalment. The fact the the author is also narrating is just so so talented. Definitely the best series I’ve ever read/listened to. Thanks Mary

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Another trip among the stars

An excellent sequel to the previous book, full of character development, conflict, adventure and intrigue.

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Great performance good continuity in the story

Great performance from the author, nice to have the story continue and see where the lady astronauts travels

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Great sequel

Fantastic book. I think I enjoyed it even more than the first book and I gave that 5 stars too!

Awesome characters, great story line and comes across as very plausible for this genre. Nice touches by adding in some real world people from the 60s like Katherine Johnson (NASA mathematician)

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  • Sparrow
  • 07-04-2020

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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  • Kevin
  • 17-06-2019

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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  • JN
  • 04-12-2020

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
  • 11-11-2018

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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  • shane
  • 12-09-2018

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 !

6 people found this helpful

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  • Areader
  • 26-09-2018

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

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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  • C. Haase
  • 03-09-2018

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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  • Chester Johnson
  • 27-08-2018

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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  • Wendy B
  • 14-06-2021

love this series

it's not often a book can make you feel such a part of it that you cry tears of sadness and of happiness. can't wait to read more.

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  • Inga Auðbjörg Straumland
  • 07-08-2019

I'm already missing Elma

I laughed and cried and constantly had to pause to tell my husband about the very specific and interest things Mary had written about space and its challenges. It's brilliantly read and often very frustrating to a modern day feminist but also thought provoking, empowering and certainly entertaining. Sometimes a bit far fetched, like would anyone sincerely send a racist prick on a three year long space mission in confinement? But still, strong, thoroughly researched and tied together the topics of technology, feminism, racism, neurodivergence, math, flying, family, friendship and baking into a one cohesive story, which I find a great achievement!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-02-2019

Excellent story - beautifully narrated

It's rare to find the narrator of a story doing such a marvelous job as this one.

Brilliant narration which adds so much to this fascinating two part story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • FrodoNL
  • 29-12-2018

The first book was good, this one is fabulous!

I enjoyed the first book in the series - a lot. This one though totally moved me!

1 person found this helpful

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  • CitizenV
  • 11-03-2021

Just swell

Read this series, over.



It's bloody great from start to finish my only concern is that these last two books set a high bar for the third.

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  • Jjgggjkygb
  • 03-07-2020

excellent, loved every second

excellent, only found out about these books 5 days ago!
please hurry with the next installment

#smartereveryday

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  • Sam Goodwin
  • 08-03-2020

Most astonishing book I've ever read!

I love this book for everything it offers. very few book have captured my imagination like this and the previous to it.
I emagend ever person, every wisp of air and every detail down to the shapes of the ships. incredibly well written and performed. I only wish I could see the stars, moon and mars in real life. The blissful parts and the horrifying.
Thank you so much Mary for making me feel a childlike wonderment!

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  • Michela
  • 17-02-2020

Journey to Mars

This second novel in the series of the Lady Astronaut is mainly concerned with the preparations and the actual journey of the protagonist and a few other recurring characters to Mars. Besides technical and logistical concerns, the main characters also have to face political consequences, as a group of terrorists ("First Earthers") fight against the space program, that they claim mainly benefits privileged white people, and some astronauts are suspected to support them. Many prejudices and biases, including those of the Lady Astronaut herself, are exposed, and friendships are reestablished, sometimes unexpectedly, while a few people remain stubbornly hostile, obstructing everyday operations even in space. Travelling to Mars, so far away from Earth, proves quite dangerous, unexpected events further complicates it, including interrupted communications with Earth, and the story is particularly moving when the main characters succeed as much as when tragedy strikes them. The incredible era of humans on the Moon, presented as a given at the beginning of the novel, by the end of it is however subsided by a new, more amazing era for humanity.

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  • Sharon Barron
  • 09-09-2019

Further adventures of the Lady Astronaut

Superbly written and narrated SciFi of the believable kind. I found myself investing a wealth of emotion in this brilliant novel in which Elma, the Lady Astronaut makes her first journey to Mars.

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