Michael's Reviews > Wool

Wool by Hugh Howey
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Feb 28, 12

Read in February, 2012

This self-published, short science fiction story came with high praise and expectations, and it did not disappoint in the least! Only 68 pages long, “Wool” is an ambitious post-apocalyptic tale that is over far too soon.

People have been relegated to living in underground silos due to the unhealthy nature of the air. The world as we know it has been destroyed. The walls of the underground silo are covered in pixels, giving the occupants and view of the bleak, brown, lifeless world above.

We are introduced to Sheriff Holston as he climbs up the stairs to his execution. Three years prior Holston’s wife was led to her death, or “cleaning” as it is called in the book, because she was convinced that they were being lied to: the outside world was actually pristine and beautiful. She thought the rulers of the silo were keeping this information from the residents to curb another uprising.

Sheriff Holston decides he has had enough of living in the silo and decides to follow his wife’s example. He volunteers to go “clean,” which means cleaning off the lenses of the cameras above ground, which is a sure death sentence.

As he emerges from the silo, he notices that everything is as he expected: green, beautiful, and full of life. Holston soon starts to feel sick, though, and in an effort to get some clean air he breaks the clasps of his helmet. As he does so, he notices that there really was no facemask on his helmet; it was a screen merely projecting images of a healthy world. The earth truly is in ruins, bleak and lifeless and brown, and the story ends with Holston struggling for air, wondering what the people in the silo think of his request to clean.

I was very impressed with the writing. The author didn’t waste any time setting up the story and did a great job of not telegraphing any of the twists of the narrative. This was a very thought provoking and interesting read. I am just glad there are four more books in the series!
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