Last night, I stayed up until midnight, waiting for my Fairy God Kindle to give me the gift I have been waiting for FOR WEEKS, and then stayed up longer to read it. This was not my best plan ever, but I made the dentist in the end, and I can totally stay up late to do the stuff I meant to do, but didn’t. Totally.
That book was Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner, the third in the Fly Me To The Moon series. The series takes place in not-quite-our 1960s, where American Space Department is attempting to put the first man on the moon.
The first two books in the series, Star Dust and A Midnight Clear, focus on the astronauts to be. I really enjoyed Star Dust, and at the end I let out a squeal of joy when I found out that Book Three featured 1) Snarky Chief Engineer Dr Eugene Parsons, 2) A sneaky workplace affair, and, following on, 3) a look behind the scenes.
Earth Bound delivered in spades. Parsons’ heroine is Dr Charlie Eason, Deputy Director of the Computing Science department. Charlie’s worked her whole life to get where she is, in the face of opposition from all the critics who think that a woman can’t, and from her parents, who wish she was a theoretical physicist like the rest of the family. (Including her mother, who worked with Charlie’s father at Los Alamos). She wants, desperately, to get this right.
Luckily, so does Parsons. If I were to describe this book in two words, those words would be ‘competence porn’. Our leads aren’t attracted to each other on the basis of physical attributes– though those are nice, they’re attracted to the other’s brain, and both of them get moments where they express how much they love the other’s,dedication to their shared work, and how much effort they put in.
In addition to that, we also got a POV that astronauts don’t get: the astronauts dismiss the enormous work going on behind the scenes to get them in the air and keep them there, including the contribution of people like Charlie’s two computers, Bev and Dot. We also get a look at the potential first female astronauts, the Virgo Three, who open whole new stories to tell, if anyone will treat them as anything but performing dolphins. (And when I got to the leads of Book 4, I made a noise so high pitched I think it took out a wineglass).
I am awaiting Book 4, Star Crossed, with interest, and I am eager to see where Barry and Turner take us next.