TBR Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Lady Astronaut of Mars

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Tor
E-book, free
31 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: A Finalist for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. Thirty years ago, Elma York led the expedition that paved the way to life on Mars. For years she’s been longing to go back up there, to once more explore the stars. But there are few opportunities for an aging astronaut, even the famous Lady Astronaut of Mars. When her chance finally comes, it may be too late. Elma must decide whether to stay with her sickening husband in what will surely be the final years of his life, or to have her final adventure and plunge deeper into the well of space.

Time was when I couldn’t walk anywhere on Mars without being recognized as the Lady Astronaut. Now, thirty years after the First Expedition, I was just another old lady, whose small stature showed my origin on Earth.


  • Won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novelette (not a term I’d heard before!) For the Hugo Award the novelette category is given to a science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 – 17,500 words.
  • I love the cover!
  • The author packs a lot into a story of only 31 pages. This makes me want to read more short fiction!
  • This was an emotional read for me . . . maybe because my husband and I have been married 33 years and I can imagine this scenario.
  • I like how honest Elma and Nathaniel are. The story is told from Elma’s POV so we get more of her internal thoughts. And some of those thoughts she’s ashamed to have.
  • To me this was a perfect story . . . not too long and not too short. It told all it needed to in these few words.
  • For me this is the best kind of love story.
  • I like the addition of Dorothy into the story. The story’s opening paragraph:

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. She met me, she went on to say, when I was working next door to their farm under the shadow of the rocket gantry for the First Mars Expedition.


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read this book for Wendy’s January TBR Challenge (Short Shorts).
  • I don’t usually read short fiction and I’ve had this book for a while so was glad for the impetus from the TBR Challenge to read this.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?