The Fated Sky
On the moon, I eat in the cafeteria with the rest of the colony, but at home, I cook. Sometimes, I stress cook. Sometimes, I stress cook an entire kosher dinner. After talking to Clemons, I also made pie. By the time Nathaniel got home, the apartment was muggy and smelled of chocolate, rosemary, beef, and red wine. I sat in front of the fan, leaning forward so that the air could go down my cleavage, and regretted my decision to cook dinner while also wondering if I should make another dish.
My regret faded when Nathaniel stopped in the door-way, head tilted up. He inhaled and smiled. “Is that your beef bourguignon?”
“And baked potatoes. And a salad.” I stood up, flipping the fan back to oscillate. “And biscuits.”
He set his briefcase down by the door, and put his hat on the rack. “Have I mentioned how much I’ve missed you?”
“I told Clemons I’d go.” I bit my lips. Well, crap. I’d planned on talking to him over dinner. “Sorry.”
Nathaniel crossed the room and took my hands in his. Gently, he squeezed each of them, looking down as if they were something rare. He sighed, but a smile softened his cheekbones. “Well . . . I knew you were going to go.”
“I’m sorry. There’s still time to back out.”
No. Elma . . .” He looked up and his eyes were wet. I went all over trembles. He brought my left hand up and kissed my ring finger. “I was pretty sure you wanted to go, but was waiting for you to come around to it on your own. In case I was wrong.”
My husband shook his head, still smiling at me, even though his eyes were reddened. “I don’t want you stuck on Earth, wishing you were in the stars. That’s no sort of marriage.”
THE FATED SKY:
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.
About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.
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