13.30: Project in Depth, THE CALCULATING STARS, with Kjell Lindgren

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, and Dan, with Kjell Lindgren

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t yet read The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal, you may wish to rectify that prior to listening.

In this episode we go into great depth on Mary’s novel with the expert technical help of NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who was one of Mary’s consulting readers. Like most of our project-in-depth episodes this one runs long. Longer still because we were at JSC in Houston, which was incredibly cool for all of us, so nobody was watching the clock.

Liner Notes: The reference to “Type 2” fun comes from an as-yet-unpublished episode. Type 1 fun is fun in the moment. Type 2 fun is fun to talk about later. Maybe much, much later.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Benjamin Hewett, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Take something you’ve already written, and write a prequel set forty years or so earlier.

3 thoughts on “13.30: Project in Depth, THE CALCULATING STARS, with Kjell Lindgren”

  1. Loved the book Mary!
    I thought you handled the racism and sexism of the era very well. It was both hard to read, and enlightening. In my head I know about those aspects of the era. Yet it’s a different feeling to be confronted with it in this way. It reminds me that while some things have improved, others are almost the same.
    I read a headline about a young girl hoping to be on the NASA Mars mission, yet the headline was about her not being able to have a family or get married. Not about all her hard work to be eligible for the space program. It felt right at home in your book, yet it was a 2018 headline.

    I also loved in the audio book how you used the mother’s voice: “What will people think!”
    That hits home too. Your emotions while reading the audio book were voice acting at its finest.

  2. Imagine Brandon, with a head cold, Mary, with a book being finalized, Dan for the fun of it, and a guest astronaut, Kjell Lindgren, all talking about Mary’s book, an alternate history about how Elma became the Lady Astronaut of Mars! That’s what you can listen to in this podcast, or read about in the transcript, now available in the archives and over here…


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