Wool by Hugh Howey

I picked up this little gem after someone recommended it on Facebook.  I like short, unique stories and this seemed to fit the bill.

Here is the blurb:

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.

Hmm, sounds interesting … click, and I am reading it on my Kindle.  My only regret? I wish I would have bought he Wool omnibus edition, then I could have just read all five stories in one edition.

It is a minimalist but evocative post-apocalyptic novella that grabs your attention as you try to figure out what the heck is going on in this future world.  There is very little action but the tension and suspense really build up.  It really forces you to think and imagine as more of the world and its characters and history are revealed.

I had no idea that this was also something of a cultural phenomenon prior to reading it. This explanation from the author will give you a flavor:

Wool is the length of a novelette, or about 12,000 words (60 pages). Science fiction has a long history of celebrating the short form, and this is a highly polished and very entertaining tale. I priced it at the absolute minimum Amazon would allow.

In the summer of 2011, Wool was released as a standalone story with little thought that it would ever become so popular. It soon took on a life of its own, and reviewers clamored for more. The next four books were released to satisfy this demand, each one growing in size. Wool 5 is 250 pages long in print. All five books have now been collected in an Omnibus edition, but they were always meant to be read individually.

It should be noted that I, the author, make less money publishing these singly than I would if they were bundled together (due to variable royalty rates on the Kindle store). This is an exciting new method of publishing where you, the reader, get more cover art, less wait between stories, more points of view, and a wider variety of tones, all while paying not one penny more. I actually make half what I would if they were combined. This style of publishing is intended to benefit you rather than me. See my website (hughhowey.com) for more details.

I  have since picked up the omnibus edition and am busy devouring the series.  Once I have finished I will report back with more thoughts on the larger project.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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