The Captain’s Log – upright women wanted (Sarah Gailey)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I loved the author’s books about hippo cowboys even though I didn’t enjoy their fantasy novel.  So I was excited that their newest novella was once again set in the American West and deals with queer librarian spies on horseback.  I mean how can ye not get excited about that?  I got even more excited when Matey Tammy @ books,bones,andbuffy sent me a surprise copy of the novella.  She be awesome (seriously)!  Arrrr!

I really, really enjoyed this one.  Only a few small issues that really are because I wanted more of certain things.  The basic premise is that a young girl, Esther, runs away from home, hides in the Librarian’s wagon, and hijinks ensue.

The positive:

  • The Librarians – Of course!  I thought it was hysterical that these women are supposed to be morally virtuous and distribute the “Appropriate Materials” sanctioned by the government.  Ha.  Their official title is “Librarians of the Southwest Territory, the Honorable Brigade of Morally Upright Women.”  Of course the librarians are spies delivering the truth!
  • Diversity – Ye have a group of lesbians and non-binary kickass women as all the main characters.  Arrr!
  • Genre-Mashup – This is an alternative history western dystopian.  SO fun.
  • Functional Relationships – It is so wonderful to see couples who are in loving and caring partnerships.  I particularly loved how Bet and Leda deal with each other and their disagreements.  Each have rough pasts and mental health issues and yet make it work.
  • The Romance – The romance in this starts out in insta-lust on the part of Esther and then evolves into a slow-burn relationship.  I liked how the ending was more about future hopeful possibilities between them and not just happily ever after.
  • Found Families – I just frickin’ love when people find where they belong.  This book captures that so nicely.
  • Amity – Such a dang good character!  Fierce, kinda insane, and so very enjoyable.  Her entire arc was just amazing.  I loved how she dealt with Esther.  She kept surprising me.  I seriously want a whole story about her.  Her past, present, future.  I’ll take it all.

The (not quite) Negatives –

  • Character Names – One of the characters is Bet and the other is Beatriz.  I though Bet was a nickname for Beatriz at first and it lead to massive confusion at the beginning of the novella.  Silly me.
  • The Romance – I was a little annoyed at how quickly Esther lusted over someone else after her girlfriend just DIED.  I did believe that she was traumatized by the death but wanted more exploration into how she dealt with it.  There was a bit of a nebulous time jump and the issue was just kinda glossed over.  It should have been dealt with more.  Beatriz deserved better.  This is where a longer book could have helped.
  • The World-Building – I absolutely loved the world the author created but because this was a novella, there weren’t many answers.  How does the government work?  How did the world end up this way?  How do the Librarians not get caught?  I loved the sketches and the world felt real but I want more!

So all in all this be an excellent novella that I am glad to have and would certainly reread.  More set in this world please.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novella:

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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sarah Gailey – Author

To buy the novel go to:

upright women wanted – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

river of teeth – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Alternative History Sci-Fi)

taste of marrow – book 2 (Captain’s Log – Alternative History Sci-Fi)

magic for liars (Walk the Plank On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

24 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – upright women wanted (Sarah Gailey)

  1. COWGIRL LIBRARIANS?! Sign me up! This sounds awesome– despite the negatives you pointed out. I would, too, enjoy reading books set in a universe like this. So, this isn’t set in the same universe as the first series you read? Just similar settings. I guess that isn’t surprising — authors write sci-fi in different locations all the time, why can’t someone write westerns in different worlds? I don’t read enough western settings, I guess! XD


    1. I think her ideas are sometimes better than her plots but I do enjoy her work. I would start with the hippo cowboys. If ye can get a hold of the omnibus it has bonus short stories. I haven’t read those yet though.
      x The Captain


  2. I keep meaning to read a book by Sarah Gailey because I love her concepts and the themes she explores in them, but I haven’t yet read any of her work. I’m glad you liked this one so much, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I usually want the longer format but novellas are growing on me. I love the line. Plus life is crazy at the moment so finding time for a novella has been easier than a full novel.
      x The Captain


      1. I saw that there was a “book 2,” but I wasn’t sure what that was all about. I had only heard of this authors hippo books until just recently, when I realized that she comes out with something like 2-3 books per year!

        Liked by 1 person

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