WOOL 1-5 by Hugh Howey
Broad Reach (July 30, 2011)
Review by Nila E. White
“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.”
The WOOL series of short stories began as a stand alone tale that soon grew to five, well-received short stories that weave a dyspotian tale of human perseverance. Set in the distant future, the world outside is toxic. People live and die beneath the earth in silos. Except for a few whom are tasked with cleaning the exterior monitors, no one goes outside. For to do so is a sure death sentence as nothing can resist the toxic winds that whip a scorched earth.
Everyone is not sure why, but when put out to clean, most folks do. Though they have no reason to, they all seem to take the time to clean the monitors, allowing those inside a glimpse of a world they once knew. After cleaning, they inevitably walk a small distance away to die. Their decaying bodies remind all inside what awaits them out there.
That is, of course, until one of the cleaners walks away.
Set in the near future, the WOOL series is an exploration of humanity and hope as we follow the rise and fall of the inevitable. The story revolves around a mechanical engineer with more sense than luck as she tries to do what is right, the IT head with more on his shoulders than we can imagine, and a whole host of characters than remind us of who we all are. To say more than that would give too much away. I can’t recommend this series enough. The writing is tight, the plot intriguing, and the story of these characters trapped in the underground silos will move you to tears.
Nila E White, February 2012