A 2020 ALA Booklist Top 10 SF/F Pick
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.
“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”
Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.
The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.
Praise for Upright Women Wanted
"A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution."—Charles Stross
"A dazzling neo-western adventure. . . . Gailey’s gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Part Western, part thriller, part revolutionary manifesto, Upright Women Wanted is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Sarah Gailey’s novel is set in a dystopian future, where a fascist dictatorship has made all of America look like the Wild West. Against this bleak backdrop, a woman named Esther goes on the run, fleeing an arranged marriage and the heartbreaking death of her secret love. When Esther stows away with a band of travelling librarians, she quickly learns that these seemingly straitlaced women are actually a freedom-loving queer collective—who also dabble in espionage. This smart, funny, multigenre mashup moves at a rollicking pace and is stacked top to bottom with fearless heroines who are always ready to face down danger of all stripes while spouting awesomely quotable dialogue. Get on board for nonstop, nonbinary, rip-roaring fun.
Gailey (Magic for Liars) pits librarian spies against the oppressive government of a future Southwestern America in this dazzling neo-western adventure. After Esther Augustus's best friend and crush Beatriz is executed for possessing unapproved reading materials, Esther's father, the superintendent of the Lower Southwest Territory, arranges for a political marriage between Esther and Beatriz's fianc . Esther flees by stowing away in the caravan of the Librarians, state employees who distribute approved literature to isolated towns. Once discovered, Esther is shocked to learn that the Librarians are actually a hotbed of queer subversion: stern Bet and motherly Leda are a long-term lesbian couple, and their cranky apprentice, Cye, is nonbinary. The Librarians agree to take Esther to Utah, an insurrectionist camp, after picking up a "package" of other refugees. Along the way, Esther grows disillusioned with the homophobic government propaganda she's read all her life and develops feelings for Cye. During a brazen attempt to prove herself useful to the Librarians, Esther stumbles upon frightening information about one of the refugees they're escorting, plunging them all into danger. Gailey's gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight. Readers will relish this showcase of Gailey's striking talents.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Enjoyed these characters
Too short! First book I have read with a gender fluid character. Loved the strength of the characters and especially the language used for the fluid character. That language does not come naturally for me but I want it to. Wonderful story of learning to be your true self. Thanks to the author.
Empowering and Enthralling
This book had such a vivid and surreal universe. This book was hard to but down and easy to burn through. Amazing book dealing with a Post-apocalyptic homophobic society that spotlights an environment for LGBT+ and allies to exist.