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Review: Wool / Hugh Howey

April 17, 2013

A post apocalyptic novel, Wool by Hugh Howey is my read of the year so far.  Imagine a community living in a giant underground silo hundreds of stories deep.  Outside the environment is so toxic that it is used as a punishment to send men and women, who have transgressed the community’s rules, to their deaths.

This novel begins with the Sheriff of the Silo (Silo-18) investigating the reason behind his wife transgressing the silos rules and asking to be let outside, to her certain death.  Each “Cleaning” requires the person being expelled from the Silo to clean the above ground sensors, including those that provide a window view of the outside world to those who live in the upper stories.

WoolThis world underground is a strict one; every birth requires a death and every subgroup within the society must conform to their “job description”.  Certain topics of discussion are disallowed, the punishment if discovered talking about these – being sent to Cleaning.  Rebellion is nipped in the bud and history has been “cleaned” itself.   Couples who wish to have a child take part in lotteries whenever someone dies. However, there is an unspoken suspicion that the leaders of the Silo are lying about the toxicity of the world outside….

This is the first in a series of books about this underground world and is an omnibus comprised of five novellas (Holston-Proper Gauge-Casting Off-The Unravelling-The Stranded).  Book two ‘Shift’ will be an omnibus of three more novellas (First Shift Legacy-Second Shift Order-Third Shift Pact) and book three ‘Dust’ concludes the series.  If each of these is as good as Wool, I will be in reading bliss for some time to come.

In researching further into this book, I discovered that Hugh Howey originally self published this book, with publishers Simon & Schuster discovering it and offering a seven figure print-only deal.  Film rights to the series have been sold to 20th Century Fox.  The author has kept the online rights to this book.

by Heather

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