M’s drunk review of Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
What I Drabk: We’re on Tarzan of our Disney animated watch in timeline order from Snow White to present. So why is that like ‘99? Close enough. But had half a pitcher of order-in margs and opened a bottle of some white wine.
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.
My Summary: This is a reimagined dystopian future sapphic Western where librarians are tasked with providing Approved material but are secretly trafficking in Unapproved material. Ester, a leader’s daughter, becomes a stowaway who joins the troupe after she runs away from her life and troubles.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: It took a min for me to get into tbh but by the end I was full in. The relationships were great within the librarian’s party. I think more background and depth would have been much appreciated, but you can’t ask that much more from a short story. Would have loved for this to be a longer story — I have so many questions. Good ones, but still.
Plot: The plot took a little while to ramp up, but eventually I was really into it. The ease of just blending in really resonated with me. It’s always easier to act how people want you to, but you lose part of yourself.
Characters: My favorite character of the whole thing was Cye. It wasn’t just Ester’s read of them, they just had this dgaf energy that I was totally here for. Ester, the hopalong, really was no my fave but I got her. She was just kinda wishy-washy about her desire for adventure and it took too long to get there. Leda and Bet were totally adorable and badass and Amnity was uh sorta random? Most I choose to say there.
World Building: Was really into the world concept. I still have a lot of questions, but I feel like it’s just a teaser to a larger world building thing, right? RIGHT!?
TL;DR: Took longer to get into than I’d like in a short story, but eventually got super into the world and the characters.
Drink Pairing: Whisky on the rocks, as one would in a futuristic saloon.
Rating: 4/5 shots
xxxo Drunk Minda