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SFF Corner: Wool by Hugh Howey

Originally a self-published series of novels Hugh Howey’s Wool saw hardcover release from Simon Schuster last month. In this post-apocalyptic novel readers are introduced to a society of humans living in what seems to be a silo transformed into an underground habitation. One hundred levels deep the people of this silo are focused on living their lives and surviving below ground. In those instances when dissatisfaction, or even optimism about the outside world, occurs the people are given what they want: the chance to go outside; a chance that invariably leads to death.

From the very start of the novel he silo takes on a vivid life. From its physical presence right down to the social classes its vertical orientation have produced the silo itself is as much a character in the novel as the people who inhabit it. The winding staircase down the silo, the various jobs assigned to each section of levels, and the character and attitude of the people met along the path from top to bottom bring the environment to the forefront. As more of the silo is unveiled readers begins to uncover the layers of secrets that lay at its core.

Each section of the omnibus, each short novel, adds new levels of complication the story moving from intimate character portraits and gaining momentum to action and suspense from there. Howey paces the story exceedingly well by constantly offering new tidbits of information regarding the destroyed world outside and the silo itself. The focus of Wool deals with dangers of an extreme focus on survival where the rote act of living supersedes the need and desire for progress and change. Wool tells an interesting and exciting story but its message about the dangers of the manipulation information and communication is an enlightening and timely one given current movements to enforce stricter regulations on the web. Wool is an accomplished and exciting series well worth attention of science fiction and thriller fans.

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