If you like: politicians * secrets * fugues
Shift is the second publication of the Silo Saga, a prequel of sorts to Wool. (See my review of Wool here.) The secrets behind the creation of the silos and the environmental destruction that led humanity underground are revealed. Additionally, the mechanics behind the operation of the silos are explained further. The story takes place over multiple eras: pre-silo, throughout the silo operation, and the years after the abandonment of Silo 17. The events of Wool are portrayed from the perspective of the administrators, and just how much panic these events generated.
Howey reveals the secrets of the silos masterfully, keeping the characters and the reader in a cloudy confusion that functions similarly to the confusion the survival of the silos depends on. What is perhaps most terrifying about this dystopia is just where unflinching willingness to follow orders can lead. The residents of Silo 1 are all too willing to forget just how they arrived in their situation, and complacently repeat the cycle of work and sleep over hundreds of years, losing sight of their end goal a little more each shift. In spite of the medications to make them forget, these men cannot help but lose a little faith in their purpose each time they awaken, and seeing the wear of centuries on the environment around them degrades their morale even further.
Shift pushes the limits of what individuals are willing to do to guarantee their own survival. Who gets to decide what the greater good is, and just how it should be achieved? History is written by the victors, and in Shift it is also edited. Taking the opportunity to wipe the earth clean prevents the fresh start from being marred by all of the evils of the past. And yet, if we must pay attention to history or be doomed to repeat it, what does this abridged chronology mean for the future? Every aspect of life for those in the silos has been calculated with precision, and runs in repeating cycles that are wiped from the memory of each subsequent generation. As the years go on, and each person in Silo 1 takes his next shift, the weight of this future they have rendered becomes increasingly unbearable. The same individuals who determined that they must survive at any cost now begin to wonder just what the final price will be for their longevity. Have they found salvation in their underground homes, or have they just buried themselves alive?
If you have been playing a game of chess in which everyone else is a pawn, read Shift.
Howey, Hugh. Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga). Broad Reach Publishing, 2013. Kindle Edition.