On one level, there is an absolutely wonderful feel to the technology in this book. It really does feel to me like a slightly alternate history 1950s/60s, flying a trio of spacecraft to the red planet. It actually comes to the point of making me think: if this feels this real now, then why in the world haven’t we been to Mars yet. Bring on the meteor! (Not really. That would kill an awful lot of people.) You can really feel just how much research went into this book.
On the other level, I really love how Mary Robinette Kowal does a great job on the human level as well. Elma is one smart lady, but not without her own flaws. She works through them though, even when the whole world doesn’t act the way she expects them to. And man. I cannot imagine going on a mission like this without my spouse. The code was a pretty brilliant idea… and brute forcing a few of those sections that wasn’t translated. Ooh la la.
Parker is an absolute PITA to work with, but the more you get to know him… the more you get it. Deep down, he really cares about his people, doing his job, and learning how to swear in as many languages as possible. After all he goes through this book, I really want to be a lie fly on the wall when he gets back to Mission Control.
My mother once told me that an apology wasn’t about being right or wrong, but showing that the relationship was more important than the problem.
The rest of the crew is every bit as solid, in my opinion. It’s fascinating and more than a bit sad to read about the outright racism and sexism present on Earth and the mission to Mars. People are people, yet you still find the black crew members doing more than their share of janitorial work and the women stuck with laundry and kitchen work. Oy vey.
I am trying to remember that you mean well. But at the moment, I cannot take the protestations of a well-meaning white woman. I do not have the energy to reassure you or to pretend I am happy and content with my lot in life.
Even if it’s not primarily Elma, I’m looking forward to The Relentless Moon.