Editor’s Note: This review is spoiler-heavy. If this bothers you, please go read “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” on Tor.com, then return. Spoilers: it’s worth it.
Science fiction offers many things to readers. It allows them to be transported to another time, to wonder about the future, to see sights and visit worlds that are currently out of human reach. To writers, it provides a canvas that begs for speculation, to take issues that challenge us individually and as a society and examine them through a lens warped by time, imagination, and creative license.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, which recently won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, is, on the surface, a wonderful and charming tale of an alternate history where NASA reached Mars during the ’50s. Peel back the layers, however, and Kowal’s Martian colony is alive with questions of aging, loyalty and family. Though she never quite provides answers, Kowal challenges readers to contemplate these themes that run through all our lives. Read More »