Remember the evocative movie Hidden Figures about the almost-hidden female mathematical stars who played crucial roles in the space race? Well, “The Calculating Stars” is a beguiling extension of that notion. When a 1952 meteorite destroys Washington and bequeaths accelerated global warming upon the Earth, Elma, mathematical whiz and ex-WWII-pilot, assists her space engineer husband as he plays a key role in a race to launch into space to enable humanity’s salvation. Elma dreams of space but it is 1952, after all, and women will never be given a chance, surely? Mary Robinette Kowal, an award-winning fantasy author, brings brilliant plotting, exemplary characterization, and a superb stylistic voice to the task, and the end result is an engrossing, unpredictable, and fascinating science fiction novel. The Calculating Stars is recommended reading for anyone fascinated by space, even if you’re no regular sci-fi reader.