In the future, the world has been struck by an unspecified ecological disaster and is uninhabitable. Most of the population has been killed off and the remaining people live in a giant underground silo, entirely reliant upon those they live with and a vast system of rules and regulations known as The Pact. Any rulebreakers are sent outside to clean the lenses of the sensor towers which provide views of the outside world, complete with a crumbling city and clouds of toxic gas, in an attempt to maintain order and sanity. While most inhabitants of the silo are content to live in their underground home, some question the entire regime. Deemed too dangerous to live, these are the people who are sent out to their deaths. But what if someone sent to cleaning didn’t die? What if they came back with stories of the outside world?
I chose to read Wool for several reasons. This was in part due to reviews I had heard of the plot but also, as a result of my publishing studies, an interest in the way it has been published. Both of these informed my reading of the text and have factored into this 5 star review.
Plot-wise, Wool is far from original. Recently there seems to have been an explosion in books exploring dystopian futures. While many of these are YA titles, such as the Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, some are are the sci-fi/fantasy genre. However, in a genre which risks over-saturation, Hugh Howey has managed to create a storyline which is refreshingly original.
The publishing history of Wool and the rest of the Silo trilogy is interesting. Howey initially self-published the stories on Amazon, where they proved to be a hit. Print rights to the series were picked up by Random House but Howey has managed to retain electronic rights to the series. In an age when many more authors are turning to self-publishing in an attempt to get past the barriers imposed by traditional publishing, Howey is definitive proof that this method works and may be the future of publishing.
Verdict: If you are interested in well thought through science fiction, this is definitely worth a read. While the plot is not entirely original, Howey has managed to set himself apart from other authors in this genre.