a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel (2018)
Mary Robinette Kowal

This novel, which is the first in a series of prequels by the author for her Hugo Award-winning story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars", is a sort of alternate history version of Hidden Figures.

In the world where this story takes place, Washington DC is destroyed by a meteorite impact in 1952 (during President Dewey's administration). NACA mathematician Elma York survives only because she happens to be vacationing in the mountains with her husband (and because they take quick action when they see the flash, thinking that it was a nuclear bomb). The tragedy heightens the space race in this alternate universe so that they are quickly talking about manned missions to the moon and Mars...but Elma is wondering why women are relegated to working as "computers" rather than being astronauts themselves.

I don't know much about what happens after that, but I look forward to reading it when it is released in July 2018 and reporting here on whether there are any interesting references to mathematics in the book.

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Works Similar to The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Hidden Figures by Allison Schroeder (writer) / Theodore Melfi (director and writer)
  2. Cap and Gown by Eric Flint
  3. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
  4. Arcadia by Iain Pears
  5. The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming
  6. Conceiving Ada by Lynn Hershman-Leeson
  7. The Difference Engine by William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
  8. The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter
  9. The Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  10. In The Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Science Fiction,
MotifFemale Mathematicians,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)