Review Blog

Nov 12 2020

The relentless moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Lady Astronaut book 3. Tor Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781250236968.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Award winning Mary Robinette Kowal returns with another Lady Astronaut, Nicole Wargin, in her alternate history about flight to the Moon. Following The calculating stars and The fated sky, Earth is facing problems with the Space program, with sabotage and demonstrations arguing against it. With her husband, the Governor of Kansas, she uses her intelligence and skills to try to keep the program going and is thrilled when she is chosen to make another trip to the Moon colony. However, she faces danger as things begin to go wrong and it is clear that someone from the crew and colony on the Moon wants to disrupt life there. Will she be able to survive and help save the program?
The story is narrated in Nicole's voice, and the reader can easily relate to what she is feeling and thinking and get to know the other characters that surround her. It was different to have an older woman, in her fifties, with arthritis in her feet and a difficulty with eating when under stress as the main character. Despite her health difficulties her will power, skill with piloting, and sheer intelligence for working out complex problems came across clearly.
The setting of the Moon base, the personalities of the people who inhabit it, and the science around living on the Moon, all are described in a credible way. Each chapter has a news story about disasters that are happening on Earth and they add to the suspense as the reader finds out how badly the Earth is suffering.
With a mystery to solve, some heart-wrenching moments, an alternate history that is fascinating, codes and ciphers and a heart-warming marriage, as well as themes of racism and feminism, The relentless moon is a wonderful read. The conclusion was wonderful and unexpected. And for those who are wondering about Elma, the heroine from the first two stories, there are hints about what happens to her.
This is a really good science fiction series, with The calculating stars winning the Hugo Award, Nebula Award and Locus Award in 2019. The relentless moon is as well researched and finely written and could well be a contender for more awards for Kowal.
Pat Pledger

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