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Wool (Wool, #1)
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"Wool Omnibus" Discussion > Wool *Book 1 Spoilers Only*

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message 1: by Kim, The Zinoviev (new)

Kim | 948 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion about the first book only.


message 2: by Kim, The Zinoviev (new)

Kim | 948 comments Mod
At just under 50 pages long this is only a short story but sets the tone for more to come. It raised far more questions than it answered. Why are they in the silo? What are the uprisings and what actually caused them? Why the deception to the cleaners or is that just so they'll clean the cameras?

Please remember to keep discussion to information from the first book only.


message 3: by Darci (new)

Darci (luminique) | 32 comments I definitely agree on the raising questions. Why do they even care so much about having the cameras cleaned when all they see is an unchanging dead landscape? It just seems to me that it would be better for people to not even see or think about the outside since they can't go there.

The deception part was puzzling. At first I thought it was just a cruel joke, but then considered that most likely not everyone was able to get their helmets off so maybe they died quickly enough to not entirely realize. I thought it might be an act of mercy, to let the condemned have a glimpse of paradise. It's probably just so they'll actually do the cleaning, though.

I was disturbed by the idea that simply saying in public that you wanted to go out could guarantee your death. I doubt they have eliminated mental illness, so it just seems that they don't care enough to make sure you're sane enough to make the choice. Maybe it's just that they don't have bad enough crimes that often, so to keep it clean they take any volunteers.

The fact of being in the silo didn't trouble me much, I assumed it was a refuge during whatever war made the outside so poisonous. And it's not like life seemed miserable there, they had a fully functional civilization going. What I couldn't figure out was how long they had been in the silo.


George (galgozzini) | 17 comments Wool 1 grabbed me quickly. A review I said mentioned a surprise twist and I thought it was that the world was green. Luckily that wasn't the twist so the person mentioning a twist didn't ruin it for me. More of a double twist I suppose. I made the same deduction that you came to Darci that they did it to get them to clean. I remember saying as much to my wife when I finished the first story. I decided to read this one section each evening and this start definitely had me ready for more. My biggest question was what is going to happen next. Who will take over as the lead character since Sheriff Holston was now resting on the hillside with his wife. Plus all the questions mentioned above.


message 5: by Adam (new)

Adam Bender (adambender) | 10 comments Thought it was a very engaging first book, and loved the twist (which really was a double twist as mentioned!). Sure it raised questions, but it makes me all the more excited to read the rest!


message 6: by Mike (new)

Mike | 3 comments I read this as part of the Omnibus and cannot imagine reading it stand-alone. That would have been an incredibly frustrating experience. In fact, stopping after Part 2 would have been even worse! Parts 1-5 together make a very satisfying novel and answer all the questions sensibly. As Howey points out in the Q&A at the end, there are many more stories in the Wool world and I hope he keeps at it.


message 7: by Leesa (new)

Leesa (leesalogic) | 18 comments The way it was described that some people just snapped and "rebelled" almost like they were compelled to act out made me think of some sort of power of suggestion, subliminal message, or even some sort of switch being turned on that would make people want to go out to clean.

I think the trick of the visor was so that even defiant people would be so excited and relieved they'd clean just as a way of being nice to the poor people stuck inside and then they'd go gallivanting off to play in the green.

Looking forward to more of the story.


Evilynn | 332 comments I assumed the sensors was in part to keep people from going "Oh, where does this door lead then?" and boom! there goes the clean air in the silo, and in part because people in general do go stir crazy after awhile confined indoors, and I don't know how quickly the population could conform to living in a confined space with no open vistas.

I was pretty sure the green visor was just a sham, and I'm quite happy this was indeed the case.

I'm not big on short stories in general, but it actually works quite well when I'm reading it on my Kindle, and I have to say I really liked Wool #1.


message 9: by Ric (new)

Ric (ricaustria) | 11 comments I haven't read #1 yet so have only skimmed the posts above. Mostly am trying to find a good reason to get started on the series.


message 10: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments Most people like the series, isn't that a good enough reason? lol


message 11: by Carol. (new)

Carol.  | 215 comments David wrote: "Most people like the series, isn't that a good enough reason? lol"

As someone whose tastes are not always in line with popularity, I'll offer my own reasons:

1. Several GR reviewers & friends who I often agree with absolutely loved it.
2. An adult who I have never discussed books with before recently said to me, "I almost missed practice tonight because I was reading this really amazing book."
3. Its a monthly read, and I like to participate if I'm interested in the book.
4. I'm a little intrigued by the indie buzz.

Just a few of my reasons :)


Brian Kayser | 2 comments I'm not usually into post apocalyptic stories but I did enjoy this. It had me guessing (wrongly) until the very end. I think the deception at the end IMO was just to get them to use the Wool! It was described that most people said they would not do the cleaning, but they all did, so the deception worked.


message 13: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments I'm not sure the deception would work the way the author seems to imply. If I were to discover it was all fake, I would just walk away and not worry about doing some work that I thought did nothing real.


George (galgozzini) | 17 comments David wrote: "I'm not sure the deception would work the way the author seems to imply. If I were to discover it was all fake, I would just walk away and not worry about doing some work that I thought did nothing..."

The green makes the Cleaners think that people in the silo don't realize that everything is fine because the lenses are dirty. If they could only clean them enough people will see and come outside.


message 15: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments I see what you are saying, and that would work for most of the condemned, but I don't see how the sheriff could have thought that. He knew there was a program that could create false images, so he was probably thinking that the false gray images were what they were being created for inside. So no matter how much he cleaned, the false image would still be seen inside the silo.


message 16: by Ric (new)

Ric (ricaustria) | 11 comments Carol wrote: "As someone whose tastes are not always in line with popularity, I'll offer my own reasons"

Thanks, very convincing!


message 17: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam | 16 comments I liked it. It’s good; but great? I just don't see it yet. Some of the ways that several people act just don't seem real to me but I'm on to #3 anyway. It's quite original. I like the silo idea about the closest thing to it is perhaps Heinlein’s “Orphans of the Sky”.


message 18: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam | 16 comments -- I'm not sure the deception would work the way the author seems to imply ---

I agree. If all is green and nice wouldn't I go see about my wife's body first? What's the rush to clean first thing; a clean world means I've got all the time in the world. Perhaps I'd even take off my helmet in front of the camera and do a jig of something. Or spell out "SUCKERS" or some other message in the land. Seems reasonable that at least one person would try that and then their would be a dead body blocking a camera for a few years.


message 19: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments Sam wrote: "Or spell out "SUCKERS" or some other message in the land. Seems reasonable that at least one person would try that and then their would be a dead body blocking a camera for a few years."

Ah, man, you got me to laugh out loud for real.


message 20: by Kim, The Zinoviev (new)

Kim | 948 comments Mod
Sam wrote: "If all is green and nice wouldn't I go see about my wife's body first? "

Why? He believed it wasn't there and the picture he saw showed the hill empty of dead corpses.

The reason the Cleaners clean the lenses is because they think they've won, that everyone inside is stupid. They want to clean the lenses so that the people inside don't need to come out. That is their way of getting back at the people inside. Remember the fuzzier the view the more likely someone else will be sent out. And the Cleaners don't want to share this "Paradise" with those who just sent them out.


George (galgozzini) | 17 comments The sheriff didn't full understand the false image thing his wife was ranting about. The shock of all the green stunned him as I am sure it stunned all the Cleaners. As far as going to check on his wife's body there was no body as far as he could see. There was only the boulder. His plan was to clean to help the others and then go over the hill to search for his wife. Being outside of the situation as a reader and not experiencing the years of programmed thinking of the silo it is impossible to say how one would react. I think the authors depiction of their behavior is plausible.


message 22: by George (last edited Jan 03, 2013 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

George (galgozzini) | 17 comments Kim wrote: "Sam wrote: "If all is green and nice wouldn't I go see about my wife's body first? "

Why? He believed it wasn't there and the picture he saw showed the hill empty of dead corpses.

The reason the ..."


Ah yes, I forgot about this Evil Guy Cleaner side fo the story. This side makes sense and is even more plausible IMO than the Good Guy Cleaner side that I was talking about.


message 23: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam | 16 comments I guess I don't really have a problem with how the Sheriff reacted. I just don't see how everyone does the cleaning. But hey maybe "everyone" has only been a few folks or maybe IT has a different video for each one designed to make them do what they want. Or maybe this silo natural section process has made all of them respond essentially the same when exposed to the outside. Who knows? But hey if I start speculating too much then I become the author and that ain’t my job. Be’n the reader is way easier. Like I said I’m on book 3 so’s I must not have had too much of a problem with the plot :)
However, my reservations on how people behave have continued throughout.


message 24: by DavidO (new)

DavidO (DrgnAngl) | 218 comments I meant no criticism of the author on that point, since if I microanalyzed everything, I'm sure there's no book that 100% makes sense. Just trying to create discussion on an interesting point.


George (galgozzini) | 17 comments David wrote: "I meant no criticism of the author on that point, since if I microanalyzed everything, I'm sure there's no book that 100% makes sense. Just trying to create discussion on an interesting point."

I think you succeeded and I am enjoying the conversation. This is my first group book and it won't be my lat. The group discussion has increased my enjoyment of the stories.


Alicia | 14 comments I also didn't really see how it being green would cause everyone to clean. Especially if I thought that what the cameras showed inside was fake anyway. I'd probably assume there was some program to make them think I'd cleaned and I didn't actually have to do anything. And that would explain why everyone had seemed to clean before too. I was puzzled as to why no one would try to take off the helmet when they realized the world was safe. Was it just stuck on too tight? That's an interesting concept that IT might not show the same vision for everyone though, to get them to clean.


message 27: by Kim, The Zinoviev (new)

Kim | 948 comments Mod
No, the helmet was clamped on. It wasn't made to be removed once in the suit.


message 28: by Flash Beagle (last edited Jan 05, 2013 03:40PM) (new)

Flash Beagle | 385 comments I don't think the author really made it clear as to why people would keep cleaning when they see 'green', but at the same time I think it is logical behavior for them to do so -
- the stress of sitting in a cell knowing your are going to die would mess up someone's mind considerably
- the walls already around not only physically (silo) but mentally don't just fall away (if a cage is opened the animal usually doesn't just run right out)
- shock is one aspect - everything you thought was so comes slamming back fragmented
- is the 'green' real - it's only been seen in pictures
- why the lies?
- to what other extremes would the 'fabricators' go to if they knew you knew?
- you went outside knowing you were going to die, but now there is a second chance - do you run away and send up a red flag or try to act 'normal'
It doesn't take long of course for severe physical reaction - and to realize his air supply is limited.

Good book!


message 29: by David P (last edited Jan 05, 2013 04:43PM) (new)

David P Forsyth (DaidPForsyth) | 10 comments Wool 1-5 was probably the best Kindle mini-series of 2012. I already reviewed the Omnibus here and on Amazon. I actually guessed the punch line in Wool 1, but that didn't detract from the story for me. Hugh does an excellent job of weaving unexpected surprises into each "book" of the series.

I'd also like to give Hugh Howey kudos for helping other apocalyptic authors (such as myself) with advice and encouragement. Some of the reviews of my first book even credit Hugh for bringing it to their attention with his Tweets. Hugh is an inspiration to all indie authors and Wool is fully deserving of the acclaim it has received. I can't wait for the movie!
David P. Forsyth


message 30: by Bob (new)

Bob Shacklock (Shack) | 45 comments I finished the first story and I can't stop feeling like I'm reading a story from the game series Fallout


message 31: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (JennyK89) | 136 comments When the Sheriff was cleaning the cameras, I thought he mentioned that he knew cleaning them wouldn't make everyone see the "real green" picture, but he did it anyways out of hope. That's what I took out of it but I could have misread.

I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading book 2! I hope that some of our questions get answered, too.


message 32: by Flash Beagle (last edited Jan 06, 2013 03:02PM) (new)

Flash Beagle | 385 comments One question I have after book 1 is where are they, what planet - (unless I missed it!) - and found myself hoping they are not on Earth and what fun speculation that is...

The Omnibus cover is great - just like looking through the lens, with those building in the background.


message 33: by David P (new)

David P Forsyth (DaidPForsyth) | 10 comments Flash Beagle wrote: "One question I have after book 1 is where are they, what planet - unless I missed it! - and found myself hoping it is not Ea"

@ Flash: It's Earth. Read First Shift - Legacy after you finish the first 5 books to see how it all began. This is a great series.


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) I found it quite haunting and well done. I figure the IT guys are the bad guys somehow, and found myself wondering if they had programmed the green into the helmets just to play dirty tricks or for some other nefarious reason. One thing is clear -- not all is as it seems. On to #2.


message 35: by Flash Beagle (last edited Jan 07, 2013 05:14PM) (new)

Flash Beagle | 385 comments David wrote: "Flash Beagle wrote: "One question I have after book 1 is where are they, what planet - unless I missed it! - and found myself hoping it is not Ea"

@ Flash: It's Earth. Read First Shift - Legacy af..."


I figured it would be Earth (after book 2) so now interested to see where all the water went since Jahns never saw enough to be immersed in but had nightmares of drowning!

First Shift is on my to read - as I understand, the 1st 2 are out there and the full version will be published in 2013 (?).


David Sven (Gorro) | 65 comments Fantastic bit of misdirection. I'm totally hooked. I went from nodding my head when we see green - knew it - to ooohhh. To "so the people watching the cleaning - what were they seeing when they see the guys face through the non transparent faceplate?" I'm intrigued.


message 37: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 615 comments I took away that the reason everyone cleaned was because now they weren't under a death sentence. They were going to live in an apparent paradise, and the condemned know just how important the cleaning is to everyone (to have the view, the celebrations and release shown in Book 2) and since you now have no cause to hate them, do this for all your friends and loved ones who are still inside.

I think I would have cleaned the lenses.


message 38: by Steven (new)

Steven In the time it takes to post here, you could just about finish book one, which is really a short story. I recommend sticking your toe in the greasy black water to see how it feels. I'm 75% done with the omnibus, and while there are some things I would change if I were the author, I'm enjoying it--can't put the thing down in fact.

Carol wrote: "David wrote: "Most people like the series, isn't that a good enough reason? lol"

As someone whose tastes are not always in line with popularity, I'll offer my own reasons:

1. Several GR reviewers..."



message 39: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 117 comments I got a late start due to other responsibilities, but I just read the first story last night. I haven’t had a chance to start in on the second one yet, but hope to do so tonight! This first story really grabbed me. When I saw some people were going to do a group read of this book, and when I saw that I had it on my Kindle (not sure when/why I downloaded it – I just know it’s been there for a while), I decided that I would definitely give it a try.

When I know for sure I’m going to read a book, I like to avoid even reading so much as a synopsis about the book. So I went into this book completely blind, knowing absolutely nothing more about the story other than the fact that it was classified as science fiction. I still haven’t read the synopsis, so I don’t know how much is revealed in it, but I had a lot of fun slowly piecing together the setting of the book and figuring out what was going on. I like books that keep you guessing a little bit and don’t spell everything out for you.

I was surprised by the ending. Up until the very end, I was convinced we were going to find out that world was habitable and that the rest of the book would deal with and explain that discovery. After I got to the end, though, everything made perfect sense the way it turned out.

I was reading through the posts on this thread and I started to feel like I’d read a different version of the book or something. I was surprised at how many different opinions there are about why every cleaner cleaned the lenses after thinking they had discovered that the world was habitable.

My first impression was exactly what Kim posted in message #20, that they cleaned the lenses to help continue the deception. I think the words in the story support that. I don’t have page #’s, but here are some quotes from the book:

1. Around location 520, Holston is resisting the impulse to try to tear his helmet off because it would ruin the illusion if anybody was watching. From the book: But no, there were appearances to keep, illusions to maintain. He wasn’t sure why, but it was what his wife and done, what all the other cleaners before him had done. Holston was now a member of that club, a member of the out group.

2. A little bit past the previous passage, it says: He wasn’t sure why he was doing it, only that everybody before him had, and look at the secret they all shared. The secret was a powerful drug.

3. Finally, near the end of that chapter, it says Holston ... turned his back on those who had turned their backs on Allison and all the others before her. There was a reason nobody came back for the inside people, Holston thought, just as there was a reason everyone cleaned, even when they said they wouldn’t.

So there were probably a variety of motivations from various cleaners, but the end result was the same: they didn’t want to share the secret. Maybe they were mad because they had been sentenced to death for some negligible crime. Maybe they felt like, if the people inside were too stupid and mindless to question their situation, then they deserved to stay stuffed up inside. Maybe they just wanted to be part of the “in club” of people who knew a secret. Maybe they assumed the people before them had done it for a reason and thought they’d keep up the illusion for now, get the lay of the land, and maybe come back for the people in the silo.

If the cleaners wanted to be "nice", I don't think cleaning the lenses would have made any sense. If Holston, or anybody else, wanted to be nice, he wouldn’t have resisted taking the helmet off as I described in #1. The nicest thing he could have done, if the world was safe as he believed, was to show everybody that everything was ok. He would have found a rock sooner, used it to tear off the helmet, then stood around waving and smiling into the camera until people came back into the upper rooms and noticed that he was still alive and happy and breathing. If he believed the entire image being seen from inside the silo was fabricated, then he wouldn’t have bothered to clean at all, whether he was doing it to be nice or not, because it wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

Anyway, that’s how I see it. I had trouble not jumping right into part 2 after I finished part 1, but I was out of time for reading.


message 40: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (DarthVal) | 249 comments I really enjoyed the story. I was also expecting to find that there were other people in the world beyond and that they were living a lie in the silo.

It turned out that that they WERE living a lie, just not the one that I thought that it would be.

I have to agree that I am not sure what purpose was served in cleaning, even if the cleaners thought that they were seeing a better world.


message 41: by Brent (new)

Brent Winters | 6 comments I fail to understand why so many people love this Wool story. Yes, the writing pulls you into the world, but it all hinges on an ending that rings false. The reasons given by the author (and by some readers) make little to no logical sense to me. They seem forced in order to perpetuate the double plot twist.

For one, if the people on the inside can digitally erase animals, buildings, and all signs of life (a huge CGI change), then cleaning the lenses would make no difference and be unnecessary in the first place. They clearly have the technology to digitally create or change the entire display to the outside world. The cleaners (unless they are all completely mad) would have to sense this, and see the futility of cleaning those lenses.

Not only that, there is this huge carrot for them to run off into the green meadows, or to the city, or pull that helmet off and breath the fresh air for the first time. Those with loved ones inside (or anyone at all they cared about, such as friends, children, etc), would want to bang on the door or signal to others inside that the world is great outside.

Holston missed his wife for 3 years and finds out she should still be alive. Why would he not want to go running out there looking for his wife? Why bother cleaning a useless lense because other people cleaned it, when clearly it has no purpose? He also did not seem to despise all those inside, so if he didn’t run off into the green pastures, why not signal to the others? Or take off the helmet sooner, perhaps as a way to get their attention or just to breath the fresh air? Seems this desire would be strong for many people. At a minimum, Holston's behavior rings false to me.

QUESTION: I haven’t read the other Silo stories (and probably won’t unless this story makes sense), so maybe someone can tell me if this scenario is actually the case: The only thing that makes any possible sense to me is that the powers that be use the cleaning as a means of population control and discouraging crime and dissent. Maybe they digitally create the image of people cleaning whether they actually clean or not and show the cleaners the green world as a last act of compassion before they die. Everyone inside sees people die to discourage the general population from revolting and running outside. However, the way everyone apparently cleans the lenses no matter who they are or why they were sent outside, still makes no sense, unless the people inside digitally show them cleaning regardless of whether they actually do?
If the latter is the case, the author sure doesn’t make that scenario clear.


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