- File Size: 583715 KB
- Print Length: 530 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing (January 25, 2012)
- Publication Date: January 25, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0071XO8RA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
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Wool Omnibus Edition [Kindle in Motion] (Silo series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Hugh Howey's "Wool: The Graphic Novel"
The world outside has grown unkind, and talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who dream, who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside. Learn more
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BoingBoing's Official Review:
"This story is terrific. I was completely immersed, watching Howey slowly paint a picture of a society gone wrong through the eyes and discovery of some truly compelling characters."
Wired.com's Geek Dad Review:
"The old assumptions about indie books no longer hold true, and readers need to be prepared to adjust their expectations accordingly. The Wool Omnibus is a great book and deserves recognition as a full fledged contribution to sci-fi."
From the Author
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- Poor dialogue for many characters... sometimes cringe worthy.
- I needed a strong suspension of disbelief. Here are a few examples...
- Its a totalitarian state, where the 'mayor' can send someone to their death when desired. However this 'mayor' doesn't know what is happening on many of the 144 floors, doesn't understand how the information technology or 'IT' people collect and use data on all the citizens, doesn't understand how the 'machines' way down in the mechanics area keeps everyone alive with the water and power and all that. Knowledge is power. And this 'mayor' did little more than sign birth certificates. Seemed like some token leader that didn't fit the vibe of the book at all.
- The sheriff is the law, and again in my mind just didn't fit. In this type of totalitarian state he would be integrated into IT, monitoring and controlling the thoughts of the inhabitants... with a well armed militia ready to stamp out dissent at a moments notice. Instead we get a guy and his aged deputy who know nothing about 'IT' or much of the rest of this silo... Just seemed incredibly hokey.
- They have an apprentice system for career fields, called 'shadows' that spend their youth learning their trade from the elders. Mechanics, porters, doctors... whatever. Then the sheriff needs to be replaced and they say they don't need a shadow. Eh.. just screw it and learn on the fly. Its only the law after all...
- They live in what is basically an underground sky scraper. They have foundries and machine shops and can fix whatever problems have arise... and have for many, many years. But they cannot install an elevator? They have one set of stairs going up and down... What happens when they have an earthquake? Or the stairs collapse due to heavy use? Where is the set of stairs for the porters to go up and down to deliver goods? Why not install a service elevator?? They have all these techno widgets and computers... but cannot install something that was invented in the 19th century? What??
All these things just kept echoing in my mind as I plodded through the book. I went from reading 30 pages at a time, to 15, to two... and ended up just skimming through the last third. Not very well thought out and nowhere near the quality of something like GRR Martin. I read that it was an indie book. I can see why. I am very surprised that it has done as well as it has.
Wool: Omnibus Edition is a collection of his first five novellas in the Wool series. The stories are set in a post-apocalyptic future in which the earth’s air has become toxic and the last survivors are forced to live underground in an immense silo with over 130 levels. How the world came to ruin is lost to history. But people know that talking about going outside is punished by being forced to go outside: troublemakers are sentenced to use wool pads to clean the lenses of the silo’s exterior cameras before succumbing to the noxious atmosphere.
There’s as much mystery as science fiction in the first few novellas. Aside from the big question—what caused the apocalypse?—Howey builds his world piece by piece in an investigative format that takes the reader along on a hunt for the truth. Why do people condemned to die still fulfill the ritual of cleaning the cameras? What caused the dimly remembered uprisings in the silo? Who’s keeping all these secrets? Are they right to do so? And why isn’t there a freaking elevator? There are murders to solve too, and while the action is slow-paced at first, Howey turns out to be as ruthless with his characters as George R. R. Martin.
All this—plus heaps of strong writing—would be enough to make me like Wool on its own. But the Omnibus Edition also features beautiful illustrations, many of which are animated. (Even the cover on Amazon has motion to it.) At first, I found the kinetic bits distracting, but I came to enjoy them as the stories developed.
None of this is to say Wool is perfect. I thought the third novella spent too much time rehashing a mystery that had already been solved in the first. And now and then Howey’s descriptions get a touch granular for my tastes. But I’ve never read a flawless “traditionally” published book either, and Wool is better than most.
Because good writing is good writing, no matter who puts it out.
Top international reviews
The world has gone to crap. The air is toxic. Wool opens in an underground silo, all 140 odd floors, self-sufficient, with the sheriff, asking the mayor to let him clean. Cleaning isn’t such a good thing for a man to ask to do. It involves going outside the silo in a crap suit to clean the many lens that offer the occupants of the silo a clear view of the crap going on in the outside world. The suit is fitted with woolen pads for the cleaning, but is deliberately faulty, like something you’d buy at Target or Primark, so it falls apart and the cleaner dies.
Now I found the beginning confusing, not quite understanding what Holsten’s - the sheriff looking to clean - problem was. It had been three years since he’s lost his wife to this cleaning bug, her dead decomposing body, visible in the screen on the wall by the cafeteria. And when he went out into the toxic world outside the silo, I expected the story to continue outside the silo. And when it didn’t I had to mourn Holsten, and learn to like another character, the mayor, but she also died. Murdered she was.
Can you see my confusion? Don’t worry, as I’m sort of thick, and slow at picking up on stuff like plot. This story sorts itself out and the pace and the intrigue kick on.
Because in Juliet, the author offers a grand character we can cheer for. She is a mechanical genius living in the bowels of the silo, but due to her assistance with an earlier murder her talents are recognized and rewarded. Juliet is offered the Sheriff’s position, and unearths’ the clues Holsten’s wife had discovered, and slowly we all begin to learn through Juliet, the secret behind the silo and the world outside.
Through the eyes of several characters, we learn about life in the Silo, an underground bunker where people have lived for generations because the outside world is too toxic. In this closed system, there are rules that must be followed, the most important being to not question the way of things or wonder about the outside world. Order must be maintained for everything to function optimally. If you break this rule, you’re sentenced to Clean, meaning being suited up and sent outside to clean the cameras being used to monitor what’s happening up top. No one survives a Cleaning.
From the get-go, I was questioning the way things were. I have a tendency to question rules and authority, and I want to know the whys and hows behind everything; I would not have done well in the Silo, that’s for sure. What I loved was that I kept assuming what would happen next…only for Howey to subvert my expectations. There were a lot of “wait, what?” moments, particularly in the first half of the book.
Once I hit the midway point, the surprises stopped in some ways. By that point, I’d figured out the world, and the biggest surprise (for me) had been revealed. This was when the plot and tension really ramped up, and when I started to feel resentful towards anything that kept me from listening on. There were moments when I definitely thought all hope was lost, and I was amazed at how characters managed to find a way forward.
In some ways, this book made me think of The Martian. The suspense combined with technical and operational details kept me intellectually engaged, while the more human details had me emotionally invested in these characters. I love reading about human ingenuity and how people find a way to survive in the worst situations, and Juliet especially was a great character, both within her head and through the eyes of others.
Like any good dystopian story, Wool exposed social structures and political power dynamics that may have started with the best of intentions but then became warped over time. It showed how ideas and discontent can spread, and even explicitly called this a disease.
The ending was very satisfying, but it was definitely not the end of the road. A lot of questions were answered, so many more were introduced, and I’m looking forward to first going back in time with Shift before continuing where things left off with Dust.
Comparisons with The Hunger Games are apt, if a bit flat. This is as far from the underlying corpolence of that society as I can imagine.
Hugh Howley joins my list of greats, with: Banks, Robinson, Tchaikovsky, Herbert......
2. The writing style flowed well and there was an appropriate balance between description and dialogue. In general I thought the use of figurative language really helped to set the tone throughout, particularly at the beginning.
3. Although I didn't get annoyed by the characters, they were just “ok”. I liked Holston in the first part, and I started to admire Juliette's strength towards the end. But I didn't completely connect with any of them, which stopped me from caring for them in certain scenes. I felt like more character development at the start would have been useful, particularly because the focus keeps shifting between characters and I struggled to remember who was who because there was no initial in-depth establishment of them. I kind of feel like there were so many characters that it ended up being about quantity over quality...
4. Some elements of the world could have been more believable because I just didn't feel entirely convinced by it like I do with the worlds in most dystopia/sci-fi novels. I don’t really know what it was about it, but it felt unfinished and too many questions were left unanswered even by the very end.
Wool is most definitely a page-turner. I wanted to discover the secrets of the silo from the opening pages. Howey kept me reading at a voracious rate. The story telling aspect was top notch, the prose was uncluttered and it flowed superbly. However, I found the characters a tad undeveloped. Bernard was a convincing enough villain and we do discover his motivation ultimately but he's just a little two dimensional. A cartoon villain if you will. I felt much the same about Lukas. This strange dreamer was a character I could neither understand nor get to grips with. Overall a book worth reading but it didn't rock my world. A solid three stars.
A good take on a dystopian future which certainly kept me reading all the way through.
Compelling and suspenseful, Wool is an accomplished sci-fi thriller; but Howey's ambition elevates it above mere pulp. Holston and Juliette in particular are well-characterised, with the personal cost of the Silo's totalitarian regime clearly felt in their inner turmoil. The oppressive necessities of life in the Silo - from compulsory birth control and a command economy, to the class struggle between the greasemonkeys in Mechanical and the elites in IT - succeed both in adding depth to Howey's city in a bottle, and instilling in our protagonists a believable yearning for the world outside. However, Howey's inexperience as a writer is also apparent in places. HIs prose - particularly his dialogue - can be clunky, and his characterisation is spotty. Juliette's love interest, Lukas, is soppy and dull, whilst head of IT Bernard comes across more as a petty, spiteful bureaucrat than the Silo's secret powerbroker.
Nevertheless, Howey's debut is a compelling yarn; difficult to put down, but with satisfying depth. I raced through it in the course of a few days. The first of a trilogy; it stands alone as a rewarding novel, whilst leaving plenty of loose ends that leave the reader inpatient for its sequel Shift.
I thought it was unique and original, a dystopian book of a kind I've never read before. I thought the silo was fascinating, both as a structure and a society. The politics and machinations were so interesting and well described. You could understand the reasons for everything and Howey does a great job of drawing you in and describing the scene.
Juliette as a character is brilliant. She's resourceful, practical and determined, but there's also a softer side to her. She's very likeable. That's actually one of the best things about this book - Howey makes you emotionally invested in characters and then just brutally kills them off and the emotional twists and turns of their deaths are a rollercoaster to read.
I had to leave my disbelief at the door a little bit because I wasn't entirely certain that they'd have enough resources for "supply" as written and I still don't understand why the book is called Wool (anyone know?). But neither of those issues distracted from the story.
There's clearly a lot of research gone into the writing of this. The technology, the setting...it's mind boggling and mostly totally believable.
I loved how the mysteries unfold slowly throughout the book too. There's a lot of suspense and then you feel the dawning horror with the characters as you realise exactly what's going on. And the twist! Wow, I did not see that coming. Brilliant!
I was utterly absorbed by this book. It was very difficult to put down and I read it in about three sittings. All in all, I was gutted that I read this while I was on holiday because I didn't have internet access so I couldn't download the next one straight away!
The book centres around an underground silo populated by survivors of whatever disaster/conflict it was that rendered the outside world completely uninhabitable.
Greater than one hundred levels deep, the silo is completely self-sufficient, with each person having a well-defined role within society.
Great among the taboos is to express the desire to go outside, that it might be better than inside. The punishment for such a crime is to be sent outside, and thus to certain death, but first you must clean...
The whole book is, for me, excellent. The characterisations are first-class, the story well paced, the plot gradually revealed and the twists believable.
This is not hard sci-fi, the book is much more character focused than technology. There's nothing in the book that isn't available today in some form or another. In this respect, for me, it makes the whole thing more believable and engrossing.
There are similarities between this and other "post-apocalyptic survivors trying to hold together a society" type books/films but this never felt derivative or clichéd at all.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading some more of Mr. Howey's material.
If you like sci-fi and aren't exclusively after the hard-stuff, get it. I don't think you'll regret it.
A random visit to Amazons Sci-Fi section, I happened upon this title, raised my eyebrows and promptly downloaded it.... Seven hours later, oblivious to my own reality and relishing in the one created by Hugh's imagination, I downloaded Shift.. Utterly hooked....
Wool is a frightening but fantastically well written, 'none put down-able' read. Purely self indulgent it demands to be read from cover to cover without a break, no, not even to feed the children! For those in the know it is a terrifying prospect of a future probability at the hands of man men with delusional wishes of selfish, self preservation. Excellently written throughout, you cannot help but become immersed totally in all of the characters, so well written are these books. Their lives in the Silo should be a stark warning for Humanity not to become complacent. There are too many clues in this book to issues I have researched and addressed on my wall and Blog for there not to be a connection. Mr. Howey may well be unaware that he may just have written a blue-print very similar to the Elites. Regardless... I would highly recommend you treat yourself to the best bit of writing I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time....
Basically what i'm trying to say that if you want to read a book about what it must have been like to deal with the Vault experiment and the people surrounding it this is probably the best example I have ever encountered. And yes, without giving too much away, the builders of the silo are just as crooked as Vault-Tec.
My only minor complaint about the book is that Howey is not quite good enough to fully flesh out these characters and the world they interact with around them. They come off as rather two dimensional at times and I can't help thinking that a master of atmospheric writing like James Herbert (if he were still alive obviously) could have bumped this book up to a five star rating. Nevertheless a solid read and I will certainly be purchasing book 2.
Having read the first Wool, and thinking "this cannot get any better".... I moved on to volume 2, and found I was wrong - it did get better. And better!! I've just finished the fifth book (and couldn't wait til morning to review it, so here I am at 1.15am!!!).
I read an awful lot of books (never watch tv, just read my kindle books!)and I can honestly say that this ranks among the BEST of the best. Another reviewer mentioned that these books are similar to early Stephen King. NO WAY......... these are FAR BETTER than anything King ever wrote.
I love the way we can now get to discover wonderful new talents via the Kindle. What really annoys me is that the likes of Stephen King (and not just him) charge so bloody much for their books, which most of the time are rubbish! I fail to see why a Kindle version of a book has to cost mere pennies less than a printed version, when we KNOW that we can buy books such as WOOL so cheaply in comparison - and they are far, far better.
I don't know how this super-talented author can get his books to be 'up there' with the (so-called) top authors, but he should be ranked right up there... ABOVE them! I can't recommend them highly enough - I'm now off to purchase anything else by this author I can find.
I just hope that he will keep us 'wool-heads' happy by writing more in this series. I urge everyone to buy these books, they are perfect.... such a wonderful mix of intrigue, adventure, suspense - I can't wait for more.