Title & Author: Wool—Part One (Silo series Book 1) by Hugh Howey
Genre & Publication Date: Science-fiction/Fantasy/Dystopian, July 30, 2011
Book Description: Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.
Or you’ll get what you wish for.
First line: The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.
My take: This short story is well known and has been plenty talked about, but having recently read it, I can’t help but jump on the bandwagon. It was the first story I read on my Kindle when it was just out of the packaging, and it didn’t disappoint.
Wool is only around 12,000 words, but the author makes every one of them count. You just gotta love that first line. I mean, can anyone read that and stop? I couldn’t. It has been a while since I started a story with a first line that grabbed my attention. Not every author observes that rule of the craft, but as a reader, I appreciate it.
The story, as the description above states, is about a civilization living underground after some type of disaster made the outside world unlivable. Resources are scarce, procreation is strictly controlled, and everything has a worn down look and feel: steps that bow in the middle, pixels going out one by one on monitors. The decay of the surroundings dovetails brilliantly with the decay of our protagonist’s soul. Grief from a sudden loss that happened a few years past, coupled with the hopelessness of his world, has made his will to live as thin as the fabrics everyone uses. Through various flashbacks we get a sense of how he ended up like this.
While reading, I couldn’t help but feel like I was experiencing an “Outer Limits” or a “Twilight Zone” episode on the page. There are just enough details to form a picture of what’s happening but there’s a question that you simply must get the answer to. No spoilers on the ending, but I will say that I thought I knew how it would turn out and I was wrong. I love when that happens.
The Magical (highlights): The story grabbed me by the collar and didn’t let go.
The Mundane (lowlights): Left me wanting more!
Summary of thoughts: From the beginning, this one had my attention and kept it all the way to the end. I had a clear visual in my mind of the world and an empathy for the main character’s situation. Riveting and unique. It stayed with me for several days afterward.
This is the first entry in the Silo series and is available for free on the Kindle (always a great price!)
Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Wool-Part-One-Silo-Book-ebook/dp/B005FC52L0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1423670954&sr=8-2&keywords=wool#_