Where This Meets That
“Holston glanced around the airlock. My life is too tight, he wanted to
say. My skin is too tight. The walls are too tight.” – Wool: Part 1
On a friend’s recommendation, I recently read Hugh Howey’s Wool Omnibus Edition. Wool is a series of five novellas that introduces us to a future dystopia where humanity has been driven underground. The Omnibus Edition wraps them all into one.
In Wool, humanity has been forced by a toxic, post-apocalyptic overland to live in the shelter of a massive subterranean silo that reaches some 144 levels below ground. In the silo, everyone has neatly assigned roles and follows strict rules that govern every part of life, from power generation to communication to procreation.
Survival of the silo depends on everyone’s adherence to its code. Anyone who explores other notions risks being condemned for treason and sentenced to “cleaning”, which involves being released up top, into the toxic world, where they are compelled to clean the one screen through which the society is able to view the wasteland outside. Among the silo’s unfolding mysteries are why the condemned always cooperate with the sentence, why they always “clean” before facing certain death.
Wool is a fascinating and timely work of fiction to read right now when we are again forced to weigh freedom versus security in our own society. Howey’s prose is both elegant and efficient. His pacing is wonderful, constantly ratcheting up tension and the stakes while tightening up the silo’s walls and guiding us ever down the endless spiral of the silo’s stairs into the “down deep”.
Wool Omnibus Edition is super-cheap in digital formats ($4.99 on Nook and $5.99 on Kindle), and I highly recommend it for your summer reading list! I enjoyed it so much that I’m now buried in its prequel series called The Shift, also available for cheap in digital formats. Stay tuned for that review!