Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Wool

Wool by Hugh Howey is series of Science Fiction novellas bound in a single volume.  It tells the story of the Silo, an underground structure in which humanity has been forced to live, due to the poisoning of the environment on Earth.

The society in the Silo, while first appearing to be ideal, is eventually revealed to be politically corrupt.  The people who know the actual reason for the existence of the Silo are not the Mayor or the Sheriff, who are only titularly in charge.  There are others that know the real truth about the Silo, and are manipulating what goes on inside for their own ends, and the presumed good of the people.

Punishment for serious crimes in the Silo results in cleaning.  Cleaners are expected to clean the sensors and screens on the outside of the Silo, so those who remain inside can see what remains of the world outside.  The only problem is, the scientists inside the Silo have yet to develop a suit that can survive the rigors of the outside for very long.  Eventually the suits break down and the real sentence is carried out; death.

Wool starts out slowly, but once you understand the rules of the world, the stories grab on and don't let go.  You find yourself pulling for the protagonists to learn the truth, and rooting against the shadow authority that would have them fail.  The world Howey creates is one of social strata denoted by your role in the Silo, which is also signified by the color of your clothing, and on which floor you live.  Everything is controlled, from how many children you can have to whether you are allowed to own a pet.  But that does not stop the citizens from harboring a desperate hope that some day, a generation of humans will again live in the outside world.

Wool is very well done, and definitely worth your time.  It will appeal to those who read science fiction as a chosen genre, and those who don't really prefer it, as at its heart it is a story about people living their lives the best way they can.  It is available new in paperback for $13.99 + tax.

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