Colin's Reviews > Wool

Wool by Hugh Howey
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Feb 29, 2012

it was amazing
Recommended for: Post-apocalyptic fans. Anywho likes Fallout.
Read on February 29, 2012

One of the most interesting short stories (or novellas?) that I've ever read. Mankind has somehow managed to destroy the Earth, or at least part of it, forcing what is left of the human race into massive underground silos. Their only knowledge of the outside world coming from a handful of cameras positioned above ground that look upon the bleak, scorched landscape.

Howey manages to communicate such a vast amount of detail about his characters and the world they live in across such a small number of pages that one can't help but be impressed. The prose is quite beautiful and is extremely evocative, especially when describing the setting.

With just a few passages, Howey is able to create a strong atmosphere of the confined, mechanical, and highly structured life in the silo, as well as the harsh and desolate unknown world above ground. He's also able to serve up some irresistible mysteries that I can only hope are examined throughout the next four Wool stories that Mr. Howey has released. What happened to the Earth? Why? Who built the silo? When? Could there be others? Really fascinating stuff. Even the history of previous inhabitants of the silo is somewhat shrouded in mystery.

An interesting thing to note is how strongly this reminded me of the Fallout series of video games. I'd be curious to know if Mr. Howey was influenced by them at all. In that universe, the world is destroyed by a terrible nuclear conflict between America and China in the year 2077. Most of of the people who are able to survive do so because of massive underground vaults built by the government before the war. Very similar to the silo idea here. It's part of the reason I was drawn to read this. Well, that and I'm a total sucker for almost anything that can be called post-apocalyptic.

Luckily, this didn't disappoint. And after buying the omnibus containing all five Wool stories I can't wait to read the rest.
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