Cass’s review of Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) > Likes and Comments

Comments Showing 1-50 of 708 (708 new)    post a comment »

message 1: by Kaila (new)

Kaila The title will make sense eventually, I promise. It stands for something, we just don't get to know what it is for a while.

message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy If you've read the omnibus you should know why it's called Wool.

message 3: by Kaila (last edited May 12, 2012 05:36PM) (new)

Kaila I don't think it's really explained in the omnibus, besides what the "cleaners" use. But it's more than that, I just don't want to spoil anything :D

message 4: by Cass (new)

Cass Are you talking about the book names being related to the stage in the plot that the overall story is taking?

I think that kind of fits with any story, I think I could find half a dozen books and call them wool.

I am just saying that I would put money that he would sell lots more books if he just sold the ominbus edition and gave it a better name.

message 5: by Fayley (new)

Fayley I thought wool was for the emphasis on the cleaners. If the writer makes an acronym later it's just something he thought of after publishing because the first installment/"novel" would have been released before he wrote about any acronym?

message 6: by Cass (new)

Cass I think an email enquiry to the author is in order.

message 7: by Dan (last edited Jun 05, 2012 10:28AM) (new)

Dan While the author may have deeper meanings later in the story, the title refers to the wool pads used to clean the lenses. Cleaning is a central part of the first installment and a constant undercurrent throughout all 5 parts. It's a simple and fairly obvious connection but like the story itself, things are only obvious after the fact.

message 8: by Sharon (new)

Sharon In one of the books, it refers to the possibility that The Wool is being pulled over their eyes!

message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Wool? Excellent work, 4.5 stars. Your review? I'll give it a 2. Maybe. Here's why: because you went on (and on) about things far removed from relevance to the book... and you skipped the fact that this author, this series, this book 'is' a game changer.

Unravel this: the author makes money - real money - for each book sold. That buys a lot of yarn. Or wool. Todate authors have, like musicians, lived at the feet of industry houses that pick and choose what will be in the running for market success - most of which don't even accept manuscripts anymore from unknowns. This seems a bit to much like our political system to point towards functionality. Which is why wool is such a staggering success. Not as a book, though it is, but as an idea. As an icon for potential - for you, for me, for anyone who may have been daunted by unknown rules and social constraints.

Seems to me like THAT is a bit more important than the title. Which, for what it's worth, I happen to like. Sure, we could call it silo. We could also call intel 'chips,' and google 'search' - because you know what? There's no arguing with success. And wool is a solid one of a kind success. Not silo. Wool. And here's my point on all this (I know, I do go on): you're critiquing the marketing choices of the author as inadequate, as weak, when the work in question is an unparalled market success of a kind never before seen.

Uhm. Sorry buddy, maybe you were just wool gathering? Because wool got it done - 'it' being breaching the wall between mass market and self publication. Best keep those thoughts to yourself and instead bow, humbly, and ask what inspiration guided him. Cause he's got something you, nor I, have. A victory like children day dream of having.

Which, by the by, is also why the book is serialized like it is. It was an experiment in self publication. Put forth one piece at a time. Which reeled in the readers a few cents at a go... until suddenly it had the steam it needed, topping out amazons most purchased list (several sections at a time) and to become what it is; something you can show up and critique as if it were just another book. Which is, I think, a remarkable achievement in itself.

Wool as a book? Brilliant. Glad to add this voice and these stories to my shelves. Wool as an undertaking? Unparalleled and resonant with meaning for the paths and the rewards our authors consider. Wool as a title? Couldn't be better - because Howey proved that it was sufficient to accomplish a market insurgency. That's potent stuff.

So, sorry to blather on, and apologies for such critique of your critique but it had to be said - your criticisms don't apply to some stock idea called 'book.' They apply to this book. And this book, in it's marketing, and it's divisions, and it's title - well - they aren't like other books are they? Not a bit. Which is why I felt I had to share; speaking to these subjects with criticism, without this information, is a farce. You'd be better served to consider a study of what the author did and why, seeking to understand what market insight he had that allowed him to do what was considered impossible.

But what do I know? :)

Regardless, that's my two bits.


message 10: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Its about what they use to clean with wool pads

message 11: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Wow, Daniel, you make me sound so smart. Which I know I'm not.

Funny. My wife has the opposite superpower. She makes me feel like a complete idiot. Which I hope I'm not.

But thanks for all that kind of heady praise. You have a knack for writing that I envy. And I wish that WOOL's success has been the fulfillment of some kind of master plan, but I almost feel like a spectator in all this. The sucker just took off. Probably the one thing I can take credit for is that I fed the beast. When the first story began to do well, I hunkered down and finished the saga without delay.

A funny story: After completing the fourth book, I had an author from my writing group come through the bookstore. At this point, the first four WOOL books were in the top 10 of a few Amazon lists. Naturally, being equal parts shocked and proud, I pulled up the lists for my author friend. She shook her head, looked at me sadly, and said, "Horrible cover. Terrible title."

I pointed to the list of books around me, all of which had names that dripped science fiction-ness.

"It's different," I said. "It's just a word. People will wonder what the hell it means. They'll stop and gawk."

"Oh, they'll gawk," my friend said.

True exchange. I learned a lesson from my first series, with titles like: "Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue." They sound too much like what they aren't, which is inaccessible. I want to write speculative fiction for the people who love speculative fiction and for the people who do not *yet* understand that they love speculative fiction as well. When I tell young female readers that HUNGER GAMES is sci-fi, they look at me like I farted. I think the title conveys something not about the story, but about the type of people who might enjoy the story. When I hear that knitting groups are reading the book, that delights me.

The original meaning of the title was twofold: The literal meaning had to do with the cleaning pads, but this was a very thin veneer of meaning. Wool pads would scratch the hell out of a lens. I really felt like I was stretching it with the literal meaning. The true meaning is one of deceit. The wool pulled over one's eyes. That's the meaning I was after, and I tried to carry that theme throughout the works. I also added the acronym World Order Operation 50. I tend to over-think these things. There's also the sense of people being like sheep. And separately, the idea that we will tolerate being fleeced over and over by those who control us. All of these meanings are apropos, but many of them have been inserted over time. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Finally, I'd like to thank Cass for what I see as a fine review. Yeah, the title is a little wonkish. I think it helps the work stand out. To find such a fault with something front and center and still give such a positive endorsement is very awesome. Thanks for that.

And Daniel? What the hell, man? Why aren't you writing for the New York Book Review or some highbrow rag like that? You are like, wicked smart, and stuff.

message 12: by Cass (new)

Cass @Hugh Love it. I am glad you can see the humour in the review. I really did like your story, and the world you built. The book got right into my head and I love it when books do that.

Looking forward to reading more!

@Daniel. All that stuff is beyond me, I am just a simple reader writing reviews for my own amusement. Most of my books are from Amazon as all my reading is done in bed when I am settling children - this means that my book choices are 98% based on the cover art and the title. The only reason I download WOOL was because it kept appearing in my recommended list... It was recommended so many times that I gave in and read it, and I am glad that I did.

message 13: by Daniel (new)

Daniel @Cass - it sounds like you took me a bit seriously. No need. Infact, that can be a really bad idea. You see, while my points were somewhat 'seriousish' my tone wasn't. It was fun, playful, and probably a bit narcacistic. In otherwords, I was enjoying listening to myself talk. Write. Type. Whatever.

And then the author comes along and encourages me! How bad can it get?

Seriously though, I probably went a bit far. I approached your review as I would that of our imaginary friend 'the guy who writes for the new York times.' And in doing so I held you to a standard that wasn't at all fair.

Yet another victim of the same changes that brought us wool. You're gettng held to publication standards by people you don't know and Wool is able to break past the mass market barrier. Strange world isn't it? Anyways, here's two gifts from me to you to make up for it - two titles you'll probably not find otherwise (though I'd wish you could, they deserve it), two fully knock your socks off books:
1. Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory
2. City of Truth by James Morrow

Read em, you'll have no regrets. There. All better.

@Hugh - What sweet words. Now if only you had a job at the times to offer me... I'd go willingly to say the least. But without such I'm afraid I've not a clue how to start.

No, no, no - don't point to yourself, that's irrelevant here. You have a product, a work of storytelling. Not me. I'm a bit more like a Gladwell (or so I would hope), a guy who can write, a guy with a few thoughts to share.

Theres little room for guys like me. Take a fer instance - fer instance, we all know who Gladwell is don't we? Why? Because his job description is that rare. And I'm not quite sure how to get there from here.

Seems I'd need a pulpit or perch, perhaps a specialty or a focus. Ooooh, I know, I need authority. But I don't have it. What I have is me. And thoughts. And what capacity with words as I've developed. So how to take that and evolve from being a designer to being a... pundit? Talking head? Nerd? What's the word?

To get from a to b is a path that is NOT clear for me. I've seen the blogosphere (it's green, smells like feet, has too many eyes) and am not confident in it. Kevin Costner anyone? Build it and they will come? Unlikely in the extreme. ESPECIALLY if I write about things I really care about, if I - god forbid - try to build a voice, to foster growth or change. And again, no, don't point to yourself.

It's just not relevant here. Aside from the fact that you have a product - a thing that starts like so, goes like so, and ends like so (several times! Good thinking!) - you also hit a market need. Intentionally or not.

The book is great. Go look at my bookshelf and see what else I gave fives. I think highly of the work. But to my mind, that is NOT why it succeeds. Good doesn't equall success. Not in the market. Good equals good and that's it.

So why success and why you? Because amazon, with it's self publishing endeavors, was ripe for a trend, a success. Because intentionally or not you sold the book like school yard pimps shove crack - a taste for next to nothing until one is hooked (and then $10 for #6???? You can't claim innocence of market aims when you position yourself like so, not for a 250pg book :). ) and then wham! Up goes the price.

That's not a critique btw, that's a compliment. So you had that. And you also had the fact that teen fiction is so unbearably hot right now, and, unbearably bad. For the most part. And, that we live in a day when the meme of a 'dystpoia' has become prevelant in all circles of fiction - which your story just happens to be. Which just happens to be one of the biggest teen sections as well - which your book is not, but, is still accessible to that group. Add to alllllll of that the fact that you are tenascious in requesting reviews, responding to them (hi mom! Who, me? Disneyland of course!), and - generally - in marketing your butt off (while playing sweet, accessible, and the victim of pure luck)... and guess what? You've got a winner.

That's called a perfect storm.

You were in the right place at the right time with the right idea and you played your hand really (really) well. The fact that you're actually a good story teller is just cream in my book. Koodos, seriously,

But enough about you. What about me? Come obi-wan, how do I transcend this ignominy of placenessless? This lack of venue, audience, and central focus? You know, subject?

Because if there's a way, I'm game. I love (love) to write. A lot. But I don't do fiction. And I don't do long. I do this. And things like this, but about faith. Or justice. Or socialization. Or ignorance. Or physics. Or whatever. Which is kind of the point (I lied. Though I love physics I don't think I've ever written about it. Think I was angling for more 'smart' points or something. Being insecure is really annoying isn't it?).

Questions I'd love to see you answer. And not in jest. I'm betting your experience has shown yo many a thing; many a path. Mayhap you have an idea for this narcacistic critic of life, society, and criticisms.

Cheers - D

message 14: by Cass (last edited Jan 04, 2015 12:53PM) (new)

Cass Ha.. yes my standard is definetly not of our imaginary friend 'the guy who writes for the new York times.' Try our imaginary friend 'the mum picking up toys while getting one child afternoon tea and putting the other one to sleep, all the while wondering when she began defining herself as a mother.'.

Is there time for any intelligent thought? I dare say my recent reads (a feast of YA crap, present author definetly excluded) prove not!

message 15: by Kaila (new)

Kaila Ok everyone, stop complimenting each other! You'd think we were nice or something!

message 16: by Cass (new)

Cass Oh look. 15 comments and 7 likes... my most popular review ever!

message 17: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey You've got the entire block talking! :D

message 18: by Anthea (new)

Anthea This is almost as much fun as reading the books.

message 19: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Daniel: You need a blog. With an RSS feed. That I can subscribe to.

Anthea: Ouch! ;)

message 20: by Steve (new)

Steve Cass, I think you missed that the cleaning is done by using wool and wool is also symbolic "pulling the wool" over people's eyes. The title works.

message 21: by Cass (new)

Cass Steve wrote: "Cass, I think you missed that the cleaning is done by using wool and wool is also symbolic "pulling the wool" over people's eyes. The title works."

I didn't miss any of the symbolism, my argument is that the symbolism wasn't good enough to use as a title... That a better titled would have appealed to the books target market. My argument is that there are plenty of books with that exact same 'pull the wool over the eyes' symbolism. This name is the author being fanciful and enjoying his own cleverness (Sorry, Hugh, it is hard having discussions knowing the author is reading and can disagree... must be equally hard for you watching a discussion about the name, not the book... BUT it is only because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, so we are left with discussing the name :P).

I do love that knitting circles are reading this book.. I knit and love the idea of a group of peopel reading a dystopian novel, something quite outside of their usual reading choices.

message 22: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Oh Hugh. I just read #6. Today. I pulled a 'one sitting.' Haven't done that but once or twice in the last few years (ready player one got me that way, though for rather different reasons).

Brutal. Just brutal. And brilliant.

The drift in that marriage... to have it realized, made real like it was. Wow. That's some impressive mojo you worked in there.

Not at all light or fluffy.

Which, of course, fits. And works. Screw wool, try burlap. Oy.

Perhaps you should write an antidote. A set of short stories, yarns that deal with the lighter side of silo life. Like the guy who reinvents the elevator. Or the guy who finds an ancient gay porn mag and tries to lead a new sexual revolution. Or something.

Because that was a doozy.

And a nice setup as well. Seems like we'll have all our friends in one place soon enough.

Hrm. You know, this probably doesn't make much sense to those who havent read number six. So here's a brief review:

"First Shift by Hugh Howey continues his Legacy series, though not as readers might have expected. Leaving off the stories of Silo 18 and the plots running within them, Howey dives into the past - our near future.

Though human and playful at times this book is of an altogether serious demeanor. It dives into hard questions of identity, marriage, and choice. Looking at the decisions which guide our lives, and the lives of our greater cultural selves, Howey spins a tale of why the world ends. Or perhaps, why it should end.

That difference is just one among the many challenges of this short sucker punch of a book. Delivered in an alternating sequence of timelines this story bridges a gap - from one world to the next, each a hauntingly familiar echo of the other.

At ten dollars for the paperback Howey has set his sights high, declaring this long novella to be worthy of the investment and the company it keeps on the shelf in this prestige format. It does not dissapoint. Not if you like good storytelling, hard questions, and deep running themes of consequence - wrapped in a speculative fiction shell, swimming in a dystopian murk.

Well done Howey, you earned your money for today. Just promise me you'll keep writing & I can rest easy for lucky number seven."

There. Done. Better. Cheers.


message 23: by Cass (new)

Cass Off to go read it.

message 24: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Thanks, Daniel. That's some amazing praise. I took a ton of risks with that book. Having just a few people enjoy it is more than I expected. Cheers.

message 25: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Well earned to say the least. Stepping from what is, though literate, adventure fiction into something altogether more serious, subtle, and dark... well, I don't think I'll be the only one to enjoy it. Indeed, I think it's the best of the bunch.

The charchters, for all that they are not so clearly archetypes, are just as relatable. You lose nothing in that regard. And the plot, the narrative tension... stronger than any to date. As to tone, I think it is closest to the initial offering, the first wool.

Point being I hooe you surprised yourself here. That you're realizing that you've a gift that might go a bit further than previously suspected. That's what this book suggests anyways, in it's jump from Wools established, and strong, standing among other stories of discovery, heroism and the like to the Ellisonesque land of imperfect heroes and impossible questions that this ofering lives in. That's great work. So please, by all means, follow it up. Bring this heady element of conflicted motive along with Troy back to the main storyline. I double dog dare you.

Who knows? You might be sitting down one day with Lem, Ellison, Dick, Gaiman, and the rest - though you'd have to be dead to do so wouldn't you? Point being, theres more than just a great book here. It points to potentials as yet unrealized. A statement that I hope you'll not take as at all condescending as it isn't meant that way. You did something special here, most notably in the questions of identity, and the story of that marriage. You bridged not just the timelines of the book, you also built a narrative bridge - which we see far too seldom - between spec-fic & literature; as the best do.

Now, was that perfect? No, of course not.

But it was a first departure. A chance. As you said, "risks.".

My point being - let go of any fear of those risks. You've got what gift is needed to stand in that company. You've just got to be fearless and tell us more tales. The details, the rest of it all, will work out from there.

So says I - a speculative fiction maven if ever there was one.

message 26: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Well, thanks for the confidence boost! And I hope Cass doesn't mind us having this discussion all over her review!

(Right, Cass?) ;)

message 27: by Cass (new)

Cass I closed my eyes to avoid spoilers :P

message 28: by Anthea (new)

Anthea Chiming in to say that while I use Goodreads primarily to catalogue my e-books, I'm just in awe of all of you who are so articulate in your stories (Hugh) and your writings about stories (Daniel, Cass). Thank you all :)

message 29: by Cass (new)

Cass I use it somewhat similiarly.

I don't read any reviews until I have read the book.... Then I write my review so I can remember the book. Finally I enjoy reading and commenting on all the other reviews. I like the ones that are well written, even if they give a completely opposite rating to mine.

message 30: by Matt (new)

Matt Oh my gosh, what did I get into when I opened this comment!

message 31: by Cass (new)

Cass Matt wrote: "Oh my gosh, what did I get into when I opened this comment!"

lol.. It does kind of ramble around a bit!!

message 32: by Craig (new)

Craig Fulton Wool to clean the screen, knitting with wool. Pulling the wool over ones eyes. Get it. It is a much better name than Silo.

message 33: by Cass (new)

Cass Craig wrote: "Wool to clean the screen, knitting with wool. Pulling the wool over ones eyes. Get it. It is a much better name than Silo."

Well the knitting was done with cotton, not wool. "Pulling the wool over ones eyes" is a fabulous cliche that could be applied to a billion other novels? Which leaves the cleaning material... I say again, I don't think it was a good enough thing to name the book after.

message 34: by Lee (new)

Lee Well, here is a first. A review discussion that makes be click the 'to read' button.
Which is interesting and shows the benefits about readers discussing a review. I liked Cass's review, I was not 'planning' on adding the book to my list. But then the discussions began.
I think Daniel had some long interesting points and I enjoyed his prose. I am also always pleased to see an author commenting in these threads. I can image it is quite difficult to read some reviews and comments and remain objective, I think Hugh came across as one of us, a 'reader'. I liked that too.

See I liked a lot reading this today and now I have another book in my TBR list that I am looking forward to.

message 35: by Cass (new)

Cass Do read it, it is a good read (and that is what this website is all about!!)

message 36: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Lee wrote: "Well, here is a first. A review discussion that makes be click the 'to read' button.
Which is interesting and shows the benefits about readers discussing a review. I liked Cass's review, I was not ..."

Very cool feedback. And yeah, I'm a reader foremost. I've been doing it a lot longer! ;)

Hey, Cass, did you see the book trailer Random House UK just came out with? I'd love to hear what you think of it.

Maybe there's an argument that WOOL is a horrible title and yet aesthetically pleasing? The Os look like eyes peering out at the world? It's fun to say? No? :D

message 37: by Tyler (new)

Tyler Tkachuk Just started reading it and wool is what the people use to clean the camera lenses. I've been reading some of these comments and apparently it has a deeper meaning later on in the book, too.

message 38: by Lee (new)

Lee Moved this into the top 3 tbr.

message 39: by Cass (new)

Cass @Hugh It is much more sci-fi than I imagined, much cleaner (I am laughing as I write that!), much whiter. Like a space station, which makes sense as it needs to be airtight.

Wait I just got confused. A book trailer.. is an ad for a book not a movie. I think I saw another book with one as well.

message 40: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey Yeah, I imagined it with more rust and all. Still, I was impressed when I saw it. I had no input. It really came out of the blue.

What's crazy is that Gizmodo put it on their front page, which shot WOOL to the top of SF for a few days and to #19 in the entire Kindle store! That was a wild ride. My ears were popping and I got a slight nose bleed. I think we're coming back down to earth right now.

Also a cool mention in Poets & Writers yesterday. Still, nothing as awesome as this string of comments on your uber-popular review! :D

message 41: by Cass (new)

Cass My favourite comments are still the ones that explain to me that wool was used in the cleaning...

I am going to go watch it again. I am not sure I like this fad of trailers for books. #1 it confuses me because I get excited thinking it is a preview for a movie. and #2 I don't like the visuals messing with my own imagery. But all the second point is fine if I watch it afterwards not before. I won't even read reviews before I read a book... I like it all spoiler free.

message 42: by Lee (new)

Lee I intend to read it soon so i can come back here and say, wool is for cleaning.

message 43: by Colby (new)

Colby I agree on the spoiler-free reading! Surprisingly, this trailer was pretty close to the imagery I had in my head, except I didn't imagine there was that much open space. I pictured it a lot more close and cramped in my head.

Lee - It really is amazing writing. I read wool 1 because it was 99 cents for Kindle and I was just adding several things to my new Kindle that I got for Christmas. As soon as I finished it, I immediately bought the omnibus and plowed through it in a few days, and have since bought everything this cool cat named Hugh has written. It is uncommonly good stuff (all of it) and I am now among his biggest fans, eagerly awaiting the next work to consume. You just don't find writing like his much these days. It hearkens back to guys like Heinlein and Asimov to me. Guaranteed to be classic lit before long.

Besides all that, when do you ever find someone with that much talent that is so humble and down-to-Earth? And someone so willing to interact with us "crazy" fans? Thanks for letting us vicariously enjoy your wild ride, Hugh!

message 44: by Cass (last edited Jul 13, 2012 06:20PM) (new)

Cass Lee wrote: "I intend to read it soon so i can come back here and say, wool is for cleaning."

bahaha. I didn't pick up on that (eta: that was of course sarcasm). I should admit defeat and rewrite my review.

message 45: by Lee (new)

Lee Colby - wow! That is some big comparison there, Heinlein and Asimov, I am sure Hugh is getting all giddy with that kind of talk.

Now I have read much of Heinlein and Asimovs foundation series, so I look forward to the style of writing that Hugh has offered us.

Currently finishing some Peter F. Hamilton so that is going to be fresh in my mind as I get into wool. So IMO that alone is a tough ask to compete against.

Cass - lol what I like about your review was your open honestly. It's funny reading back, I wonder if you would have said "it's a stupid name" knowing that the author would end up a contributor to your thread.

message 46: by Lee (new)

Lee Purchased.

Hugh, you owe Cass a commission on that Amazon sale :)

message 47: by Cass (new)

Cass Woohoo. @Hugh you can PayPal my half a cent. ;)

@Lee. I think having authors read threads does add a huge level of accountability. Which is a great tactic from an author viewpoint, it allows him to channel the energy into good not bad. Hence we all endeavor to be on our best behaviour... Including preventing me from verbally bitch-slapping the next commenter who tells me "wool was used as a cleaning agent". Same again with the book promo video. My first thought was negative (I hate them blah blah) but that would be rude to say so I rethought what I meant. I still said what I meant, but I took the time to actually identify my legitimate issues while dismissing my silly ones (I hate book videos because they seem wankish... How do I justify that?). So I gained and I enjoyed something I would have dismissed. And Hugh gained because we were positive and it seemed perfectly natural for him to link it (rather than a crazy self-promoting author!).

message 48: by Cass (new)

Cass I just want to very cheekily add... I did not see any WOOL in the promo, but I did see a big-ass SILO. :P

message 49: by Cass (new)

Cass @Lee. I am really excited to hear what you think. Hurry and read it.

(I think I am spamming my own thread... I blame this on my two year old. She discovered she had arms and they impede her ability to sleep "my arms are in the road" after some frustration and a drink of water she then had the problem of a booger in her nose. More screaming and another glass of water solved that... Meanwhile I have only goodreads on my phone to entertain).

message 50: by Antonio (new)

Antonio Jaramillo I always assumed it was called Wool because they all have "wool" over their eyes. I always like a title that causes you to think. I do have to agree that Silo would have worked as well.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15
back to top