SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

Casting Off (Wool, #3)
This topic is about Casting Off
Group Reads Discussions 2013 > "Wool Omnibus" Casting Off *Book 3 Spoilers Only*

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim | 1496 comments So we learn something finally and chaos starts to spread through the silo. Or should I say Silo 18? The suits were always designed to fail but the question now is why? The atmosphere does truly seem to be poisonous but why keep the existence of other silos secret? What will happen in the silo now that a Cleaner didn't clean? And more people know the truth about the suits. Perhaps it is time for an uprising. Maybe that is the cause of them. Still so many more questions.

message 2: by Darci (new)

Darci (luminique) | 32 comments I guess I should have expected it, but it was a shock to hear the call to Silo 1. How many are there out there? For that matter, where are they?

Poor Juliette, she was just not prepared. That's not the Mayor's fault - her decision was made with an expectation that she and Marnes would be able to mentor and guide Jules, and it probably would have worked out well. There wouldn't be much of a book, though.

I think the suits are designed to fail so that the bodies will lie there on the hill as a permanent reminder. No one can look at the big view screen without seeing them.

Lukas was not very interesting. He does make me wonder about how relationships are handled in the silo, though. Why bother putting any restrictions in place? Based on the lottery to have kids, they obviously have very effective methods of contraception. I just don't see a point.

warning: obsessing over technical details ahead, feel free to skip

OK, so population: We know that they have zero net migration and zero population growth, and it can be assumed that they have advanced medical care available. Currently, similar countries have death rates around 8-10/1000. Making the assumption that lifestyle diseases are much rarer and medicine has improved, I'll guess a death rate for the silo(s) as low as 5/1000.

If four deaths is considered a bad week, then what is average? Let's say two, or to make it simple, 100 a year. That gives a population of 20,000. Even if I take it down to 2/1000, we still can't get higher than 50,000.

If the levels are each 33 feet high, then residential levels likely have 3 tiers each. From Book 2, we now up top has at least two of these levels. So six tiers of apartments, times three for mids and deep. 1200-1700 per floor.

So starting with 144 levels, four are mechanical, minimum 12 home/school/medical, two water treatment. IT, garment manufacturing, and supply are also mentioned. For a population so small, each of those and other types of production should only need a single level. That means a good two-thirds of the volume of the silo is devoted to food production (also, why do they have livestock? wasteful). Works for me.

/end pedanting

message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim | 1496 comments The thing about relationships I think is just another form of control. Everything about how the silo works so far shows that control over the inhabitants was thought out from the beginning.

George (galgozzini) | 17 comments Ah! I'll have to wait until the book 5 spoilers thread as I can no longer keep straight in my head what is in what book past the first 2.

See you then!

message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 1496 comments You already started the book 5 spoiler thread.

George (galgozzini) | 17 comments Well I thought I had to leave it alone from your post. I'm trying to be a positive participant.

message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim | 1496 comments No. The thread is started no point not posting in it.

message 8: by Fionna (new)

Fionna | 1 comments I'm really impressed at how what I thought was a throwaway in book 2 (Bernard objecting to Juliette because she redirected supplies from IT) became so crucial now.

And I'm really wondering about the role of Supply in it all, surely somebody there must have noticed that the heat tape for the cleaning suits was much poorer design than for Maintenance. Or is it that the cleaning is usually so seldom that they don't make it often enough?

Evilynn | 332 comments This book felt like a shift towards more plot based story telling, it's not a bad thing exactly, but a little bit different from the previous two.

Considering there's more than one silo, and this is kept secret from the population, I assume they want the suits to fail before the cleaners can be seen from another silo, because that'd ruin the world view of the inhabitants.

I'm still amused by IT being the root of all evil (I'm in IT).

message 10: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) Well, Evilynn, other than your name, we hardly see you as the root of all evil. I was gratified to see that my theory about the visors being programmed was right! Also that IT is the bad guy. I hope somehow we haven't seen the last of Juliette.

Evilynn | 332 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Well, Evilynn, other than your name, we hardly see you as the root of all evil. "


message 12: by M.L. Roberts (new)

M.L. Roberts | 470 comments This is my favorite part so far - I love Bernard's reaction, callously waiting for Juliette to expire like the rest and freaking out when she keeps right on going!

message 13: by Adam (new)

Adam Bender (adambender) | 11 comments I enjoyed the first two, but Wool 3 has me hooked! It's starting to feel a bit like Lost, but hey, that's a great show. Can't wait to find out how far Jules made it.

Alicia | 14 comments This part was great. I also can't wait to see how Juliette fares. But I worry she'll actually succumb to the asphyxiation that Holston thought he was suffering from. Would they put air filters in the suit and rely on the heat tape and other failures to do them in? I wonder about Bernard's reaction when he saw Juliette walking away too. He kept waiting for the failure to happen, any minute now. But if it fails at the exact time every time, surely Juliette's suit would last longer because she didn't waste time cleaning? And for that matter, you'd think someone would just die while cleaning, since Allison apparently took her time to do the job right. It seemed more as if something in the landscape triggered the failure instead. So is the air next to the silo safer?

I would imagine Evilynn's right about why they wouldn't want her to go wandering off. That would be funny to just have some random person walk up to your silo during lunch time. I rather hope Juliette comes back just so. I'd imagine the silos are spaced far enough apart she wouldn't reach one easily and we have no idea what she's able to see. Do the visors change what they see? Or is like virtual reality, where it's all just programmed in? If it's the latter, then it wouldn't make sense to program a lot of extra area in, when they aren't supposed to make it there? Holston also couldn't see the bodies on the hillside, but Bernard mentions Juliette pausing over two of them... This is all just killing me, I have to go read more now.

David Sven (Gorro) | 65 comments Alicia wrote: "Do the visors change what they see? Or is like virtual reality, where it's all just programmed in?"

Well, we learn at the end of the first book that you can't even see through the visors - they aren't transparent - the outside is actually silver. So not only do they have a virtual image when they put it on, but there must also be an image on the front of the visors to make it look like it's transparent/tinted or could be - before they put it on and for the benefit of those watching the cleaning from inside.

Fionna wrote: "And I'm really wondering about the role of Supply in it all, surely somebody there must have noticed that the heat tape for the cleaning suits was much poorer design than for Maintenance"

I think the segregation/pidgeon holing of duties on top of the discouragement of fast communication plus the distance between departments are all designed to discourage investigation. So people might notice something strange, but unless you have one person trying to connect all the dots from the various departments (like Juliette) there's really no reason to ask questions that could send you to cleaning.

message 16: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 664 comments Oh yes, the secret communication between other silos really got my attention. If it wasn't midnight I would have dived into the next book.

message 17: by Michael (last edited Feb 19, 2014 06:35AM) (new)

Michael | 1276 comments Silo 18! Holy criminy!

It's so hard to discuss all the things that went on in this section because of the ending! And hurray for Juliette! Someone finally gives a big F-U to the cleaning!

I don't know if she lives or dies, but I'm trying to prepare for her dying, which I find is much harder than the other deaths - we know her a lot better than Holston and his wife now, and although we knew Jahns and Marnes about as well, maybe better, they had long lives, and had completed their primary mandates, whereas hers seems new and full of potential for fixing so many of the "misalignments" in this world. A true rising hero.

One thing that seemed off in this section was the IT technology (like Evilynn, I'm also employed in Evil IT World):

1) there is no way IT is not monitoring every single communication that goes through that Silo. In fact, I thought that was what they were implying by the increased cost of the computer wires. They would know Scott told Juliette about the 8" x 2" screen, and Bernard would have been much more worried she had figured it out. (Also, why use initials when your wire/email account is going to tell them exactly who you are?!?)

2) If Porters are really so much cheaper than wires, then a postal system would have been developed, even if it was unofficial/grassroots, sending letters back and forth level by level since they were so much cheaper than typing something on a computer. They wouldn't be able to keep people from socializing/discussing, and in fact, sealed letters would be much more private than computer communication. So that was the main flaw I saw in the world-building in this section.

The other thing was the forgiveness holiday. After 80 pages of Jahns traveling through her Silo and being greeted by awed onlookers and well-wishers who reminded her that they voted for her, there is no way the entire Silo would say, oh, okay, no need to catch the killer of our mayor, I'm sure the killer won't let it happen again!

message 18: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 483 comments The tension of Juliette's fate became unbearable to me around this point in the story. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!! lol~~

#2. Well. I will just say the ideas you touch on are revisited, later. Well, in your unnumbered next point too. I'll be interested later, to find out, if you still see these as glitches, or features, in the storytelling skills of Howey.

message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael | 1276 comments "glitches" or "features", eh? Now I'm starting to think you work in IT, too...

message 20: by Michael (last edited Feb 19, 2014 07:15AM) (new)

Michael | 1276 comments Oh, and did anyone catch this line, from the second to last page of part 3: "Here was where (Bernard) oversaw the refilling of their data drives with all that had been deleted from the last uprising."

Isn't he talking about the data that everyone thinks is lost? Doesn't this imply that key people in these Silos share information and know the entire history, not just the history since the last uprising? Again, something to discover later...

message 21: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 483 comments Heh .... And, you are good at noticing the bits of threads that want pulling, Michael!

message 22: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (psramsey) | 347 comments For me, this is when the book/series got interesting. I hadn't joined the discussions of the earlier sections, because I really didn't have anything to add. And frankly, it was a bit of a slog. I can't point specifically to why it didn't work for me; though maybe it might be the way the author used flashbacks. We knew going in that both Holston and Jules were being sent out to "clean." I remember sighing audibly when we got the first bit with Jules in the cell. "Welp, no point in getting attached to this one either," I told myself. Then I spend the rest of the section watching her get railroad.

Fortunately, things turned around quickly with the reveal of the other silos, and from this point onward, I was an eager reader. I'm just thinking that there had to be a way to get here in less than 200 pages.

message 23: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 483 comments I just finished the third book late last night. I really enjoyed it – I think it was my favorite so far.

I was suspicious from the start about whether Marnes really killed himself. If anything, it seems like he would have been determined to stay alive long enough to bring Jahns’ killer to justice. When Scottie supposedly killed himself, after it had been so obvious that he was afraid for his life and thus not likely suicidal, then Marnes’ suicide seemed even more suspicious. I think maybe Bernard killed Marnes to prevent him from proving his role in Jahns’ death.

Putting aside for a moment the question of whether anybody in this story actually committed suicide, I have to wonder how often people commit suicide in their society and kill themselves inside the silo. It almost seems like, if a person had decided they didn’t want to live anymore, they would say they wanted to go outside. If life inside the silo had become unbearable, and if the cleaning was such an important aspect of their society, it seems like you might as well die while performing one last service for society and also give yourself the chance to experience the outside world just once before you die. Especially if there hadn’t been a cleaning recently and suicide-by-cleaning might stave off the witch hunt for another cleaner and potentially save the life of somebody else who would unwillingly be forced to clean due to a minor gaffe. But maybe I’m putting too much practical and altruistic thought into what would be a more emotional and self-centered decision.

It was also interesting to learn that Bernard apparently killed Juliette’s secret boyfriend in mechanical. At least, that’s what I believe was being implied in the final chapter that came from Bernard’s point of view. It was mentioned that the only time he’d ever seen the machines in Mechanical had been to kill a man. I hope we find out the story behind that.

I liked Juliette and, while her death seems likely, I still hope she manages to get somewhere safe before her improved suit inevitably gives out. Either way, I hope we find out what happened to her for sure eventually. It seems unlikely that she’ll get somewhere habitable in time. Even if she made it to another silo, would they even let her in given the taboo against the outside? But, on the other hand, there has to be a reason that Bernard was told never to let any of his people out of sight. Maybe there is something close by that Juliette could stumble onto. I’m definitely curious about the other silos. I wonder if they all have somebody taking their orders from Silo 1 like Bernard appears to be doing, or if any of them have completely broken off.

I’m curious about whether Juliette will be stumbling around blind like Holston was after a certain point. In Book 1, it seems Holston’s visor cut out and stopped displaying images, leaving him blind until he got his helmet off and saw what was really around him. Juliette got further because she didn’t stop to clean, but I presume her visor will eventually cut out after the same period of time and then she’ll be stumbling around blind in a completely foreign environment. Unless they somehow replaced her fake image-projecting visor with a real visor. When she got the note saying the supplies were good, I figured that meant the tape and perhaps some of the other components used to assemble the suit. It would have been harder to sneak in a replacement visor that actually functioned as a real visor, especially since I assume IT does something to turn it on and surely runs some sort of test to make sure it’s functioning properly.

I hope Bernard isn’t going to be the point-of-view character in book 4. I’d rather not get stuck inside his slimy mind! :)

back to top

unread topics | mark unread