Upright Women Wanted (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Literature can be a form of escapism that at its best maps out the ways we can show up in our own lives. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey is one of those demonstrations. It’s got all the adventure of a solid Western and will pair well with the resurgence of True Grit on many reading lists. When Esther stows away in the back of a traveling librarian's wagon, we are ready to skip town with her. But as we cross the dusty desert of a post-climate-apocalypse American West, it's the community she finds with her travel-mates that shows us the way out of the mire of our preconceptions and self-doubt. The rebel librarians who set Esther on her new path practice the kind of community that nourishes and protects and that we shouldn't wait until an apocalypse to develop. Sarah Gailey's whole body of work is premised on these lessons, from Magic for Liars to their ongoing newsletter recipe series for the pandemic, "Stone Soup." The joy of reading a novel that offers us something in return for sending our minds on a journey someplace far away is that we’ve never really left; what Gailey has to tell us matters right here and right now.

— Ruby


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

About the Author

Hugo Award-winning and bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and The Boston Globe, and they won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Their fiction credits also include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019.

Praise For…

"A dazzling neo-western adventure. . . . Gailey’s gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Praise for American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and New Stories

"Fun and charming with killer hippos and even better characters." —Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of seedy westerns will greatly enjoy this tale of gold-tusked hippos and the miscreants who ride them." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250213587
ISBN-10: 1250213584
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Pages: 176