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Wool by Hugh Howey (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Reminded of "Leviathan Awakes". Both are science-fiction, both are long novels that evoke the styles of serials, both have multiple POV characters, both deal with dystopias and social stratification, both take place in far future worlds where business is happening, and you've got to figure out what the characters already know (and it's kinda fun). It held my interest moderately, in that I didn't really care what happened to the characters, but wanted to learn more about the mysteries of the silo (where they all live). While the characters don't have much personality, the author is masterful at keeping the tension between chapters high (also something it has in common with "The Expanse").

This is an idea story, not a character story. Which means it feels more like an engineering module (this event leads to this; the characters expected this, but this happened) watching characters get around obstacles. It lacks a personal touch, either through humor or passion or empathy or human emotions like disgust and despair. I guess it's difficult to do that when following "show, don't tell" (which this novel does quite well), but it means I don't think I'll be reading the sequels. I just didn't invest in the characters enough to want to spend more time with them. ( )
  theWallflower | Nov 29, 2016 |
An appealing post-apocalyptic set of self-published books (which usually put me right on edge ready to savage them). Not sure if any new ground was made, but the setting and story were good and the characters made you care. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
Fantastic book. Howey creates a vivid post-apocalyptic world in which a society lives entirely in one enclosed underground silo, since the world outside it toxic and uninhabitable. The "wool" refers to the material used by those who have been condemned to death by being sent outside to clean the cameras used to view the outside world before the toxins eat away at the condemned's suit and kills them.

The story begins with the "cleaning" (condemning) of the silo's sheriff, Ralston, and continues with the recruitment of a new sheriff amid political wranglings between the mayor and the head of IT. I won't spoil it further, but as the story unfolds we learn more about how the world became this way and the nature of this society.

Brilliant stuff. ( )
  DanTarlin | Nov 2, 2016 |
Very readable. A little confused by some important aspects of the story (why do the people of the Silo get so tired while going up/down stairs? How has the human body changed from an evolutionary/adaptation standpoint after 100s of years of people living below the surface of the earth? The means of producing food they discuss in the book would in no way feed the number of inhabitants. Spoiler: how can Juliette ascend and descend so rapidly on her dive.)
Also, I feel like a little more story, or exploration of the setting, could have been addressed instead of being a little weighed down in some of the plot points, but that is my feeling, I'm sure, because I rarely read sequels to books, no matter how much I enjoy them, and I want to know more about this world. ( )
  rdwhitenack | Nov 1, 2016 |
“Wool” is another example of a successful novel that started its life as a self-published work. Like Andy Weir’s “The Martian”, it well deserves its success. “Wool” is also science fiction, a gut-wrenching, edge of seat, tale of a dystopian future that takes us on a riveting ride from crushing defeat and seemingly futile death to a place where hope at least has a toehold. As I understand it, this book grew from a short story, which probably explains why the character who becomes the main protagonist doesn’t appear until well into the story. Prior to that we watch two other apparent protagonists die. The story is relentlessly grim at the outset. The system is rigged against the good people, and the “wrong” people are winning. So when it looked as if the third protagonist was also going to die, I confess that I checked the end of the book before deciding I wanted to continue reading. I’m glad that I did.

Howey has invented a very convincing world. A self-contained and rigidly regimented human society living in a “silo”, a vertical underground structure with 144 floors connected by a single spiral staircase. The truth about how this came to be is one of the story’s shocking revelations. Howey is a first class storyteller who creates an array of fully-realized and emotionally authentic characters. I really cared what happened to these people, even as I came to accept that for them to realistically make progress against the obstacles they faced required some of them to die.

Other than the rather odd structure of the story with respect to its protagonists, the main issue that I had was with Howey's tendency to take leaps in his story line at times, leaving the reader to fill in some of the important intervening details. There were some scenes I would have loved to see that just weren't there. All together, “Wool” is a powerful work. In many places it's not an easy read, but it is well worth sticking with it to the end. ( )
  Carol_W | Oct 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
The novel has been compared with the post-apocalyptic fiction of Cormac McCarthy and Justin Cronin, and is more character-driven than conventional sci-fi.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Howey, Hughprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aaltonen, EinariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This collected work is dedicated to anyone who dares dream of a better place.
To those who dare to hope.
First words
The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.
He’d only ever seen a gun once, a smaller one on the hip of that old deputy, a gun he’d always figured was more for show. He stuffed a fistful of deadly rounds in his pocket, thinking how each one could end an individual life, and understanding why such things were forbidden. Killing a man should be harder than waving a length of pipe in their direction. It should take long enough for one’s conscience to get in the way.
He sounded flustered. Juliette watched him busy about the stove, his movements jerky and manic, and realized she was the one cloistered away and ignorant, not him. He had all these books, decades of reading history, the company of ancestors she could only imagine. What did she have as her experience? A life in a dark hole with thousands of fellow, ignorant savages? She tried to remember this as she watched him dig a finger in his ear and then inspect his fingernail
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This edition (often just titled "Wool") contains five short stories:
1) Holston
2) Proper Gauge
3) Casting Off
4) The Unraveling
5) The Stranded

Please do not combine it with the standalone short story titled "Wool".
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Book description
This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.
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In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. In a society full of regulations meant to protect the community, Sheriff Holston, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: he asks to go outside. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken....… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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