Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey (three stars)
“You believe everything you read?”
Almost gave up after the first thirty pages; glad I stuck with it. Good coming-of-age tale about a settled city person thrust into the wilderness. This story is more than it seems. Yes, it’s the agenda-driven stuff claimed in the blurb, but it’s potentially more.
“Awful worldly for a colt. What’s at the end of that road, then, world traveler?” “Nothing but trouble.”
Quibbles: Correctly identifies the dangers of slow travel in the desert southwest, then ignores them. Serious issues with how far and fast horses can travel, especially pulling a loaded wagon. Stumbles over her own contrived pronouns occasionally.
She had seen a man decide that she deserved to die, and she had killed him for it.
Gailey must decide whether she’s wants to serious, challenging fiction or disappear in the sea of pulp writers.
“Dead as shoe leather, and fixing to stay that way.” “I should feel worse about it. Shouldn’t I?”
(2021 Hugo Award novella nominee)