RED Book 23: Wool – Hugh Howey

I don’t want to bore you with apologies about how long it’s been since the last RED update (or blog post of any kind), however I will say, to be fair to Wool, that the long delay has been to do with events in my personal life making me not feel like reading very much. I stalled in the middle of this book but not because of the book itself.

Wool is set in a post-apocalyptic world where what’s left of humanity lives in an underground silo and the worst crimes are punishable by being sent outside for ‘cleaning’ which involves spending your last few minutes, while the poisonous atmosphere eats through your suit, wiping down the cameras so that the silo-dwellers can temporarily get a clear view of the outside. But, as ever, all is not what it seems. Is the silo really all there is?, is the outside really a poisonous uninhabitable wasteland?

First thing to say about Wool is that it was originally published in 5 parts and it shows. The first part – the original short story – is complete in itself. However it gives away some information as part of its climax that I think you’d want to keep back if writing the novel from scratch. Parts 2-5 are more connected but suffer from having being written individually and so characters and plot elements that seem central in part 3 may not be by the end of 5. Particularly with the characters it was harder to care when you realised they may not be around that much longer.

That said it was an intriguing world. (I was going to say “well-built” but you could pick holes in it all day long if you’d a mind to. I don’t usually.) And he certainly knows how to create tension. I can see exactly why Ridley Scott bought the film rights. The best bits read like set pieces from a good SciFi thriller movie. That said there were bits that felt like padding.

He’s written a prequel which I hear good things about and which was at least written as a complete novel from the word go. I will probably check it out eventually but it’s not next on my list.

6/10 – good plot, interesting world, characters and coherence needs work.


About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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1 Response to RED Book 23: Wool – Hugh Howey

  1. Pingback: Reread #2 and TBR | Only Mostly Dead

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