Thursday, October 18, 2012
Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey
If you like: survival * conspiracies * knitting
Wool is a postapocalyptic series that takes place underground. The outside world is inhospitable and the future of the human race is entrenched in a subterranean silo where they watch the skies via camera and wonder if the animals and green grass of children’s books were ever real. Expressing any desire to go outside or change the status quo exiles one to cleaning -- using wool to clean the outdoor camera lenses in the few minutes before the atmosphere eats through the specialized protective suit. Insiders wonder what about outside makes even the most opposed take their last few minutes to improve the view for everyone else.
The five books of Wool were built with as much careful planning as the silo described within them. Howey provides enough information for the reader to understand the grave circumstances, but enough ambiguity for a world changing revelation at the end of each book. The flow from one character to another is also seamless. The progression follows the same chain of command as the silo, and is a perfect vehicle for generating understanding of the environment we find the human race in. Though it is hard to imagine living underground for generations, the organization of the silo makes it seem like a plausible contingency.
Human nature and psychology play an important role in Wool. Maintaining order in a closed environment is unfathomable without meticulous planning. Intricate resource allocation and cultural tradition provide harmony -- as long as no one asks too many questions. Uniforms, fables, and ritual in the silo function according to exact calculation. This raises many questions about human nature itself. Is it really that easy to keep the masses in line? Many would shun the idea that colored uniforms and working groups that function like families would be enough to maintain order. Sending someone to cleaning really doesn’t seem that different than capital punishment, though the humanity in disintegrating while the population watches is questionable. The complexity of Wool puts many other books to shame, and will keep readers on the edge of their seat as they wonder about the fate of the silo residents.
If you would do whatever it takes to survive, read Wool.
Howey, Hugh. Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5). Broad Reach Publishing, 2012. Kindle Edition.