William Winkle's Reviews > Wool Omnibus

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
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's review
Dec 26, 12

Read in July, 2012

There's no need to recap what many hundreds of others have said about WOOL and its plot. This is character-based science fiction at its finest. In WOOL 1 through 5, we follow the path of Juliette on her way from mechanic to sheriff and well beyond, all set within the crucible of a post-apocalyptic underground silo. Hard SF fans may find the detail here a bit light. Personally, I appreciated that Howey didn't stall the story with Clancy-like devotion to the technical minutia of silo operation and sustenance. It's as detailed as it needs to be and no more.

Howey is poetic without being academic or overly literary. His characters change, and not always in predictable ways. A friend of mine warned me after I'd finished WOOL 2 not to start on WOOL 3 until I had a clear spot in my schedule, because I wouldn't be able to stop. Sure enough, I finished WOOL 5 at 3:45 AM this morning. I haven't pulled a late-nighter like that for a book in decades. No exaggeration.

I know the film rights for WOOL have been bought and a script is under way. I can only hope that the movie turns out to be at least half as good as the books. The story's claustrophobia will be challenging. There are few explosions and not many opportunities for eye-popping CGI work -- and that's a good thing. Just as WOOL defies formulaic conventions in print, perhaps the film will do the same and give us all (pardon the inside joke) a bit of fresh air.

I'm now ordering the next WOOL book and will make my way through Howey's other titles over time. Buy the WOOL Omnibus. It will be one of the best book purchases you make this year.
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message 1: by Art (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art Steinmetz You raise some good issues. I like harder SF and Howey is cavalier about physics in some places. It didn't take anything away from the story, though.

I would have to see the film but, inevitably, lovers of the book(s) will be disappointed. I wouldn't try to create claustrophobia. The silo dwellers didn't feel it like we would. That's all they know, after all. It can certainly be done as "Das Boot" showed.

The "Wool" movie would probably be better done as a low budget effort with no-name actors. You certainly don't need to spend a lot on sets and CGI. Big stars would puff up the budget and make the producers demand big action set pieces to justify it. This is a story about human longing.

A stage play would work, but who would do it? "Bellona, destroyer of worlds" was an off-broadway production last year based on Dhalgren. I was sorry to miss it. Good SF is about ideas, not spaceships.

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