Episode 14: All Systems Red by Martha Wells and Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Download Episode 14

In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss All Systems Red by Martha Wells and Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Morning Chatter

Staying safer at home hasn’t led us to more frequent reading or more frequent podcasting. We are glad to be podcasting together today.  Marian and Lissa are looking at the popularity of the novella as a form and a length. As longtime NaNoWriMo writers, we are both familiar with what a 50,000 word story can do.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

The description of All Systems Red by Martha Wells from goodreads.com:

Murderbot Book #1

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

The description of Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey from goodreads.com:

In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

Are you a coward or are you a librarian?

“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.

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss and compare, All Systems Red by Martha Wells and Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor spoilers, so please read the books before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!


 Marian’s Crackpot theory about novellas includes the cover price and size, magazine publishing trends, ebook publishing trends, and the shortening of attention spans.

Other recent novellas we recommend include:

“I need my dismemberment to be toward social justice and community change.” – Lissa, describing why the violence in both of these books is somehow palatable to her otherwise suspense and gore averse preferences.

Novellas leave room for other characters to have their own stories told in other novellas. Or sometimes they leave room for characters who are a huge presence on the page to continue to take up space in the reader’s imagination.

Upright Women Wanted followup book idea: “Cye and Esther’s Guide to Living on the Road” with lots of chapters about fighting fascism and also recipes. Lissa wants to read this. Someone please write it.

Coming Up

Next episode: Marian and Lissa will pitch their re-write or update or adaptation proposals of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and discuss whether we would truly ever want to rewrite/adapt a public domain book into a new story.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

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