Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Five books centered on women in space

Michelle Anne Schingler, a former librarian and Hebrew school teacher, is the managing editor at Foreword Reviews. At BookRiot she tagged five books about the universe and women’s roles in its mapping, including:
In Meg Howrey’s The Wanderers, the privately funded Prime Space is planning the first human mission to Mars, and famed astronauts Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei have been tapped to “man” it. That verbiage itself goes to the heart of many of the dilemmas that the crew, and their families, face in the year-plus during which they simulate the journey, ostensibly in the Utah desert. Helen is a riveting lead, both for the mission and in the book; relegated to the role of a cold careerwoman in her life, thanks on no small part to her older novelist husband (who is dead by the time the novel opens, but whose gaslighting still comes through in his wife and daughter’s accounts of their lives), she struggles with what it means to be the first person to do anything and still be made to feel inadequate. Her daughter, an actress, also flails against her mother’s vastly more impressive legacy; and Yoshi’s wife has her own entanglements with what’s considered proper womanhood. On and off of Prime Space’s (simulated?) craft, there’s reckoning aplenty with assigned roles, conscripted spaces, restricted expressions, and the very question of what’s real. “Did they or didn’t they?” is the question that will linger.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue