Wool

( 539 )

Overview

“Wool is frightening, fascinating, and addictive. In one word, terrific.” — Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan and Tory Brennan series

In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to...

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Overview

“Wool is frightening, fascinating, and addictive. In one word, terrific.” — Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan and Tory Brennan series

In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Keith Donohue
…a good and compelling story, and well told…The characters are well drawn, with a rousing protagonist and antagonist, and the plot races forward without resorting to melodrama. Most of all, the mood is rightly claustrophobic and, at times, genuinely terrifying…Wool is the kind of sci-fi novel you can give to those who love the genre and those who never read the stuff.
Publishers Weekly
Former bookseller Howey examines the lives of a group that inhabits a massive underground silo that shelters them from the toxic wasteland outside in this interesting but poorly executed debut novel. Sheriff Holston makes sure that law and order are kept in the silo, especially if anyone breaks the most dreaded taboo: expressing a desire to go outside. Anyone who does is immediately condemned to a ritual called "cleaning", wherein they are sent to clean the cameras that project images from outside on the walls of the silo's upper floors. After Holston breaks the taboo, he is replaced by Juliette, an intelligent and hard-headed mechanic from the bowels of the silo with little interest in being sheriff. Juliette discovers information on Holston's hard drive that explains why he broke the taboo and leads her to believe that everyone has been lied to about the outside as well as the nature and purpose of the silo, starting a chain reaction that may bring the silo's tenuous grasp on existence to an end. Wool's success as a self-published e-book is not surprising given its one-two punch of post-apocalyptic wasteland and futuristic dystopia, but Howey's immaturity as a writer, especially the bland characters and conflict reminiscent of B-movies, overshadows his intriguing world. (Mar.)
The Wall Street Journal
“Sci-fi’s Underground Hit… appeal[s] to both men and women, and has attracted hard-core science fiction fans as well as general readers, much like ‘The Hunger Games.’”
Justin Cronin
"Howey's WOOL is an epic feat of imagination. You will live in this world."
Rick Riordan
“Secrets unfold with just the right pacing… If you're looking for a good post-apocalyptic read, you can't do much better than WOOL."
Ernest Cline
"With WOOL Hugh Howey has created a new science fiction classic."
S.J. Watson
"Exilharating, intense, addictive."
Jonathan Hayes
"In WOOL, Hugh Howey delivers the key elements of great science fiction: an authentic and detailed future-world; realistic, relatable characters to live in it; and a taut, thoughtful story. Howey’s supple, muscular writing is the icing on the cake."
Douglas Preston
"WOOL is incredible. This is the best science fiction series I've read in years. Not since A Canticle for Leibowitz have I been so utterly and completely enthralled."
From the Publisher
"Howey's WOOL is an epic feat of imagination. You will live in this world."

“Secrets unfold with just the right pacing… If you're looking for a good post-apocalyptic read, you can't do much better than WOOL."

"With WOOL Hugh Howey has created a new science fiction classic."

"Exilharating, intense, addictive."

"In WOOL, Hugh Howey delivers the key elements of great science fiction: an authentic and detailed future-world; realistic, relatable characters to live in it; and a taut, thoughtful story. Howey’s supple, muscular writing is the icing on the cake."

“Sci-fi’s Underground Hit… appeal[s] to both men and women, and has attracted hard-core science fiction fans as well as general readers, much like ‘The Hunger Games.’”

Library Journal
Folks in Howey’s postapocalyptic novel live underground in a massive bunker silo consisting of approximately 150 unelevatored levels: administration is on the top levels, medical at level 20, gardens on level 50, pigs on level 90, 106 is ladies lingerie, a big farm on 130, and mechanical starts on 140. Outside, the world is deathly toxic and unseen except through some manky old remote cameras. The most extreme form of punishment in this otherwise happy world is cleaning the remote cameras, and the exile that follows is between Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery crossed with Logan’s Run. After the dutiful sheriff Holston’s unlikely request to return to the outside is fulfilled, readers get a thumbnail sketch of the silo’s society as his replacement, Jules, is recruited. Howey’s hints at periodic revolts to upset the balance of power are surprises for the readers as is bright and beautiful Jules, an ex-mechanic with a frighteningly strong work ethic, who is determined to learn fast and do justice. Unfortunately, she and her mechanic friends have made powerful enemies in IT, a shadowy, devious group that hog most of the silo’s resources and give back little except secrecy. Soon after Jules meets Lukas, a quiet IT guy with a rebellious streak, she, too, is sentenced to clean the cameras; however, she makes it out of sight of the cameras! Makes it to…where? The uncertainty and pressure push the silo’s unstable situation into an uprising.
Verdict A plodding pace is relieved by Howey’s flipping between the present and anywhere from days to years prior and a wild variation among narrative focal characters. An impressive debut in a new series; readers will swoon over the character Jules and the unpredictable early plot.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491512647
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 838,437
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Howey wrote Wool while working as a bookseller, writing each morning and during every lunch break for nearly three years. Originally self-published in 2011, Wool has grown into a New York Times blockbuster. He now lives in Jupiter, Florida, with his wife, Amber, and their dog, Bella.

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Read an Excerpt

One

The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do. While they thundered about frantically above, Holston took his time, each step methodical and ponderous, as he wound his way around and around the spiral staircase, old boots ringing out on metal treads.

The treads, like his father’s boots, showed signs of wear. Paint clung to them in feeble chips, mostly in the corners and undersides, where they were safe. Traffic elsewhere on the staircase sent dust shivering off in small clouds. Holston could feel the vibrations in the railing, which was worn down to the gleaming metal. That always amazed him: how centuries of bare palms and shuffling feet could wear down solid steel. One molecule at a time, he supposed. Each life might wear away a single layer, even as the silo wore away that life.

Each step was slightly bowed from generations of traffic, the edge rounded down like a pouting lip. In the center, there was almost no trace of the small diamonds that once gave the treads their grip. Their absence could only be inferred from the pattern to either side, the small pyramidal bumps rising from the flat steel with their crisp edges and flecks of paint.

Holston lifted an old boot to an old step, pressed down, and did it again. He lost himself in what the untold years had done, the ablation of molecules and lives, layers and layers ground to fine dust. And he thought, not for the first time, that neither life nor staircase had been meant for such an existence. The tight confines of that long spiral, threading through the buried silo like a straw in a glass, had not been built for such abuse. Like much of their cylindrical home, it seemed to have been made for other purposes, for functions long since forgotten. What was now used as a thoroughfare for thousands of people, moving up and down in repetitious daily cycles, seemed more apt in Holston’s view to be used only in emergencies and perhaps by mere dozens.

Another floor went by—-a pie-shaped division of dormitories. As Holston ascended the last few levels, this last climb he would ever take, the sounds of childlike delight rained down even louder from above. This was the laughter of youth, of souls who had not yet come to grips with where they lived, who did not yet feel the press of the earth on all sides, who in their minds were not buried at all, but alive. Alive and unworn, dripping happy sounds down the stairwell, trills that were incongruous with Holston’s actions, his decision and determination to go outside.

As he neared the upper level, one young voice rang out above the others, and Holston remembered being a child in the silo—-all the schooling and the games. Back then, the stuffy concrete cylinder had felt, with its floors and floors of apartments and workshops and hydroponic gardens and purification rooms with their tangles of pipes, like a vast universe, a wide expanse one could never fully explore, a labyrinth he and his friends could get lost in forever.

But those days were more than thirty years distant. Holston’s childhood now felt like something two or three lifetimes ago, something someone else had enjoyed. Not him. He had an entire lifetime as sheriff weighing heavy, blocking off that past. And more recently, there was this third stage of his life—-a secret life beyond childhood and being sheriff. It was the last layers of himself ground to dust; three years spent silently waiting for what would never come, each day longer than any month from his happier lifetimes.

At the top of the spiral stairway, Holston’s hand ran out of railing. The curvy bar of worn steel ended as the stairwell emptied into the widest rooms of the entire silo complex: the cafeteria and the adjoining lounge. The playful squeals were level with him now. Darting bright shapes zagged between scattered chairs, playing chase. A handful of adults tried to contain the chaos. Holston saw Emma picking up scattered chalk and crayon from the stained tiles. Her husband, Clarke, sat behind a table arranged with cups of juice and bowls of cornflour cookies. He waved at Holston from across the room.

Holston didn’t think to wave back, didn’t have the energy or the desire. He looked past the adults and playing children to the blurry view beyond, projected on the cafeteria wall. It was the largest uninterrupted vista of their inhospitable world. A morning scene. Dawn’s dim light coated lifeless hills that had hardly changed since Holston was a boy. They sat, just as they always had, while he had gone from playing chase among the cafeteria tables to whatever empty thing he was now. And beyond the stately rolling crests of these hills, the top of a familiar and rotting skyline caught the morning rays in feeble glints. Ancient glass and steel stood distantly where people, it was suspected, had once lived aboveground.

A child, ejected from the group like a comet, bumped into Holston’s knees. He looked down and moved to touch the kid—-Susan’s boy—-but just like a comet the child was gone again, pulled back into the orbit of the others.

Holston thought suddenly of the lottery he and Allison had won the year of her death. He still had the ticket; he carried it everywhere. One of these kids—-maybe he or she would be two by now and tottering after the older children—-could’ve been theirs. They had dreamed, like all parents do, of the double fortune of twins. They had tried, of course. After her implant was removed, they had spent night after glorious night trying to redeem that ticket, other parents wishing them luck, other lottery hopefuls silently praying for an empty year to pass.

Knowing they only had a year, he and Allison had invited superstition into their lives, looking to anything for help. Tricks, like hanging garlic over the bed, that supposedly increased fertility; two dimes under the mattress for twins; a pink ribbon in Allison’s hair; smudges of blue dye under Holston’s eyes—-all of it ridiculous and desperate and fun. The only thing crazier would have been to not try everything, to leave some silly séance or tale untested.

But it wasn’t to be. Before their year was even out, the lottery had passed to another couple. It hadn’t been for a lack of trying; it had been a lack of time. A sudden lack of wife.

Holston turned away from the games and the blurry view and walked toward his office, situated between the cafeteria and the silo’s airlock. As he covered that ground, his thoughts went to the struggle that once took place there, a struggle of ghosts he’d had to walk through every day for the last three years. And he knew, if he turned and hunted that expansive view on the wall, if he squinted past the ever-worsening blur of cloudy camera lenses and airborne grime, if he followed that dark crease up the hill, that wrinkle that worked its way over the muddy dune toward the city beyond, he could pick out her quiet form. There, on that hill, his wife could be seen. She lay like a sleeping boulder, the air and toxins wearing away at her, her arms curled under her head.

Maybe.

It was difficult to see, hard to make out clearly even back before the blurring had begun anew. And besides, there was little to trust in that sight. There was much, in fact, to doubt. So Holston simply chose not to look. He walked through that place of his wife’s ghostly struggle, where bad memories lay eternal, that scene of her sudden madness, and entered his office.

“Well, look who’s up early,” Marnes said, smiling.

Holston’s deputy closed a metal drawer on the filing cabinet, a lifeless cry singing from its ancient joints. He picked up a steaming mug, then noted Holston’s solemn demeanor. “You feeling okay, boss?”

Holston nodded. He pointed to the rack of keys behind the desk. “Holding cell,” he said.

The deputy’s smile drooped into a confused frown. He set down the mug and turned to retrieve the key. While his back was turned, Holston rubbed the sharp, cool steel in his palm one last time, then placed the star flat on the desk. Marnes turned and held out the key. Holston took it.

“You need me to grab the mop?” Deputy Marnes jabbed a thumb back toward the cafeteria. Unless someone was in cuffs, they only went into the cell to clean it.

“No,” Holston said. He jerked his head toward the holding cell, beckoning his deputy to follow.

He turned, the chair behind the desk squeaking as Marnes rose to join him, and Holston completed his march. The key slid in with ease. There was a sharp clack from the well-built and well-maintained inner organs of the door, the barest squeak from the hinges, a determined step, a shove and a clank, and the ordeal was over.

“Boss?”

Holston held the key between the bars. Marnes looked down at it, unsure, but his palm came up to accept.

“What’s going on, boss?”

“Get the mayor,” Holston said. He let out a sigh, that heavy breath he’d been holding for three years.

“Tell her I want to go outside.”

Two

The view from the holding cell wasn’t as blurry as it had been in the cafeteria, and Holston spent his final day in the silo puzzling over this. Could it be that the camera on that side was shielded against the toxic wind? Did each cleaner, condemned to death, put more care into preserving the view they’d enjoyed on their last day? Or was the extra effort a gift to the next cleaner, who would spend their final day in that same cell?

Holston preferred this last explanation. It made him think longingly of his wife. It reminded him why he was there, on the wrong side of those bars, and willingly.

As his thoughts drifted to Allison, he sat and stared out at the dead world some ancient peoples had left behind. It wasn’t the best view of the landscape around their buried bunker, but it wasn’t the worst, either. In the distance, low rolling hills stood, a pretty shade of brown, like coffee mash with just the right amount of pig’s milk in it. The sky above the hills was the same dull gray of his childhood and his father’s childhood and his grandfather’s childhood. The only moving feature on the landscape was the clouds. They hung full and dark over the hills. They roamed free like the herded beasts from the picture books.

The view of the dead world filled up the entire wall of his cell, just like all the walls on the silo’s upper level, each one full of a different slice of the blurry and ever-blurrier wasteland beyond. Holston’s little piece of that view reached from the corner by his cot, up to the ceiling, to the other wall, and down to the toilet. And despite the soft blur—-like oil rubbed on a lens—-it looked like a scene one could stroll out into, like a gaping and inviting hole oddly positioned across from forbidding prison bars.

The illusion, however, convinced only from a distance. Leaning closer, Holston could see a handful of dead pixels on the massive display. They stood stark white against all the brown and gray hues. Shining with ferocious intensity, each pixel (Allison had called them “stuck” pixels) was like a square window to some brighter place, a hole the width of a human hair that seemed to beckon toward some better reality. There were dozens of them, now that he looked closer. Holston wondered if anyone in the silo knew how to fix them, or if they had the tools required for such a delicate job. Were they dead forever, like Allison? Would all of the pixels be dead eventually? Holston imagined a day when half of the pixels would be stark white, and then generations later when only a few gray and brown ones remained, then a mere dozen, the world having flipped to a new state, the people of the silo thinking the outside world was on fire, the only true pixels now mistaken for malfunctioning ones.

Or was that what Holston and his people were doing even now?

Someone cleared their throat behind him. Holston turned and saw Mayor Jahns standing on the other side of the bars, her hands resting in the belly of her overalls. She nodded gravely toward the cot.

“When the cell’s empty, at night when you and Deputy Marnes are off duty, I sometimes sit right there and enjoy that very view.”

Holston turned back to survey the muddy, lifeless landscape. It only looked depressing compared to scenes from the children’s books—-the only books to survive the uprising. Most people doubted those colors in the books, just as they doubted purple elephants and pink birds ever existed, but Holston felt that they were truer than the scene before him. He, like some others, felt something primal and deep when he looked at those worn pages splashed green and blue. Even so, when compared to the stifling silo, that muddy gray view outside looked like some kind of salvation, just the sort of open air men were born to breathe.

“Always seems a little clearer in here,” Jahns said. “The view, I mean.”

Holston remained silent. He watched a curling piece of cloud break off and move in a new direction, blacks and grays swirling together.

“You get your pick for dinner,” the mayor said. “It’s tradition—-”

“You don’t need to tell me how this works,” Holston said, cutting Jahns off. “It’s only been three years since I served Allison her last meal right here.” He reached to spin the copper ring on his finger out of habit, forgetting he had left it on his dresser hours ago.

“Can’t believe it’s been that long,” Jahns murmured to herself. Holston turned to see her squinting at the clouds displayed on the wall.

“Do you miss her?” Holston asked venomously. “Or do you just hate that the blur has had so much time to build?”

Jahns’s eyes flashed his way a moment, then dropped to the floor. “You know I don’t want this, not for any view. But rules are the rules—-”

“It’s not to be blamed,” Holston said, trying to let the anger go. “I know the rules better than most.” His hand moved, just a little, toward the missing badge, left behind like his ring. “Hell, I enforced those rules for most of my life, even after I realized they were bullshit.”

Jahns cleared her throat. “Well, I won’t ask why you chose this. I’ll just assume it’s because you’d be unhappier here.”

Holston met her gaze, saw the film on her eyes before she was able to blink it away. Jahns looked thinner than usual, comical in her gaping overalls. The lines in her neck and radiating from her eyes were deeper than he remembered. Darker. And he thought the crack in her voice was genuine regret, not just age or her ration of tobacco.

Suddenly, Holston saw himself through Jahns’s eyes, a broken man sitting on a worn bench, his skin gray from the pale glow of the dead world beyond, and the sight made him dizzy. His head spun as it groped for something reasonable to latch onto, something that made sense. It seemed a dream, the predicament his life had become. None of the last three years seemed true. Nothing seemed true anymore.

He turned back to the tan hills. In the corner of his eye, he thought he saw another pixel die, turning stark white. Another tiny window had opened, another clear view through an illusion he had grown to doubt.

Tomorrow will be my salvation, Holston thought savagely, even if I die out there.

“I’ve been mayor too long,” Jahns said.

Holston glanced back and saw that her wrinkled hands were wrapped around the cold steel bars.

“Our records don’t go back to the beginning, you know. They don’t go back before the uprising a century and a half ago, but since then no mayor has sent more people to cleaning than I have.”

“I’m sorry to burden you,” Holston said dryly.

“I take no pleasure in it. That’s all I’m saying. No pleasure at all.”

Holston swept his hand at the massive screen. “But you’ll be the first to watch a clear sunset tomorrow night, won’t you?” He hated the way he sounded. Holston wasn’t angry about his death, or life, or whatever came after tomorrow, but resentment over Allison’s fate still lingered. He continued to see inevitable events from the past as avoidable, long after they’d taken their course. “You’ll all love the view tomorrow,” he said, more to himself than the mayor.

“That’s not fair at all,” Jahns said. “The law is the law. You broke it. You knew you were breaking it.”

Holston looked at his feet. The two of them allowed a silence to form. Mayor Jahns was the one who eventually spoke.

“You haven’t threatened yet to not go through with it. Some of the others are nervous that you might not do the cleaning because you aren’t saying you won’t.”

Holston laughed. “They’d feel better if I said I wouldn’t clean the sensors?” He shook his head at the mad logic.

“Everyone who sits there says they aren’t gonna do it,” Jahns told him, “but then they do. It’s what we’ve all come to expect—-”

“Allison never threatened that she wouldn’t do it,” Holston reminded her, but he knew what Jahns meant. He himself had been sure Allison wouldn’t wipe the lenses. And now he thought he understood what she’d been going through as she sat on that very bench. There were larger things to consider than the act of cleaning. Most who were sent outside were caught at something, were surprised to find themselves in that cell, their fate mere hours away. Revenge was on their mind when they said they wouldn’t do it. But Allison and now Holston had bigger worries. Whether or not they’d clean was inconsequential; they had arrived here because they wanted, on some insane level, to be here. All that remained was the curiosity of it all. The wonder of the outside world beyond the projected veil of the wallscreens.

“So, are you planning on going through with it or not?” Jahns asked directly, her desperation evident.

“You said it yourself.” Holston shrugged. “Everyone does it. There must be some reason, right?”

He pretended not to care, to be disinterested in the why of the cleaning, but he had spent most of his life, the past three years especially, agonizing over the why. The question drove him nuts. And if his refusing to answer Jahns caused pain to those who had murdered his wife, he wouldn’t be upset.

Jahns rubbed her hands up and down the bars, anxious. “Can I tell them you’ll do it?” she asked.

“Or tell them I won’t. I don’t care. It sounds like either answer will mean the same to them.”

Jahns didn’t reply. Holston looked up at her, and the mayor nodded.

“If you change your mind about the meal, let Deputy Marnes know. He’ll be at the desk all night, as is tradition . . .”

She didn’t need to say. Tears came to Holston’s eyes as he remembered that part of his former duties. He had manned that desk twelve years ago when Donna Parkins was put to cleaning, eight years ago when it was Jack Brent’s time. And he had spent a night clinging to the bars, lying on the floor, a complete wreck, three years ago when it was his wife’s turn.

Mayor Jahns turned to go.

“Sheriff,” Holston muttered before she got out of earshot.

“I’m sorry?” Jahns lingered on the other side of the bars, her gray, bushy brows hanging over her eyes.

“It’s Sheriff Marnes now,” Holston reminded her. “Not Deputy.”

Jahns rapped a steel bar with her knuckles. “Eat something,” she said. “And I won’t insult you by suggesting you get some sleep.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 539 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 539 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2012

    Words can't describe how incredible this book is! This is easily

    Words can't describe how incredible this book is! This is easily the best book I've read so far this year, and I average about two books per week. Although this was originally a series of short stories, the Omnibus reads like one seamless storyline.

    I loved the character development in these stories. The people lead whole and fulfilling lives, experience an honest range of emotions (both good and bad,) closely guard secrets in their hearts, and constantly struggle for existence, to make sense of things, to achieve...despite living in a world comprised of only 140 floors.

    The world that Hugh Howey has constructed is so vast and rich, it's hard to remember that it's mainly set into the curved walls of a silo. All the systems required to have a functioning society; food production, IT, education, systems maintenance, rules on reproduction, and waste disposal, have been carefully planned out and accounted for. More importantly, the things that flesh out a society; taboos, religion, fears and hopes, the sound of children laughing are also painstakingly crafted by his words.

    The silo itself becomes a character. I love how Howey incorporates the stairs into the story. They become a test of will, a graceful arc of hope, or potential for despair. Not only is it the tie that connects the levels together, but it's also the gravity that keeps them apart. A barrier and a link. The very DNA of the silo's civilization.

    Just when you think this lovely combination of world-building AND character development couldn't get better, there's the writing. I especially liked how the artist masterfully weaved the metaphor of his title throughout the story. It was the element that could be crafted into a sweater that warms, but just as easily unraveled- like a lie. It's the truth being uncovered when the wool is pulled from one's eyes.

    Overall, I can't speak highly enough of this collection of short stories. At the end of the Kindle Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool #1-5) there is an interview with the author. He mentions that there will be more stories told in this world; I'm looking forward to reading all of them!

    48 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2012

    All the negative things you might find in a self-published book?

    All the negative things you might find in a self-published book? You won't find them here. The book was extremely well-written (and I'm that person that misspellings or grammatical errors will jump off the page and smack in the face), the story meticulously plotted, and the characters completely engaging and three-dimensional. If I didn't know ahead of time that this was self-published, I would have never believed it. The quality is just that good.

    On to the review of the story itself. It's impossible to review each book in this omnibus separately because they did not feel like separate books. Rather, they were sequential chapters in the same story that just happened to be published at different times. I honestly didn't realize that the breaks between were actually where one book ended and another began. I'm really glad that I did buy the omnibus rather than just the first volume because I would have gnawed off my arm to find out what happened next. Okay, maybe not my arm - I need that. Maybe just a toe or two.

    There is a society in a post-apocalyptic future who lives understand in an enormous silo. The outside world is completely taboo, and even mentioning it can get one sent the "cleaning" - a euphemism for essentially exile outside the silo to the toxic, lifeless environment above ground. And these cleaners come by their name because their last act is to clean the sensors outside the silo entrance so the inhabitants have an unmarred view of the wasteland. Kind of a weird premise, and I admit I wasn't completely sold on it at first but it works, and as you read on, you find out just how by golly it works.

    Turns out that this isn't just a post-apocalyptic story but a dystopian story as well, and as the story progresses, it starts becoming apparent that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. And that the conspiracy in the silo is much, much bigger than anyone, including the the reader, imagines.

    This is dystopian fiction at it's finest. I already have the prequel bought and loaded onto my Sony Reader.

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    5 Stars, Hands Down

    I've had moments as a book reviewer where I was unsure how to rate a book. Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey is my easiest 5 star rating since A Game of Thrones. This book was five star, without a doubt. There is so much to like about it, but I think my favorite aspect is the philosophical gems that Hugh interjects through each character's voice. This unique aspect of Hugh's style allowed me to see them as more than just real people, but a representation of humanity. This aspect of his style fits perfectly with Wool's theme of survival. Some characters believed segregation, hidden truths, and murder were the key to survival, while others believed the exact opposite. Part of what makes this story feel so real is the diversity of perspectives on what is absolutely necessary to survive in such a life or death scenario. Seeing what humanity would be like on the brink of extinction helped make me question what I'm doing to help those around me survive, or if I'm only interested in my own.

    Hugh's unbiased narration keeps the reader on their toes because either side could reasonably succeed. Hugh adeptly portrayed each character's struggle to survive in a way that made me root for them, put myself in their shoes, and experience their emotions as they fought to survive. Even his antagonist is sympathetic. No spoilers here, but Hugh makes a strong case for this character's motivation. Hugh does a great job of raising the stakes, interlacing conflict, and surprising the reader at every turn. Hugh's writing is as rare a gem as his characters, and is diverse enough to appeal to anyone who wants to know what it feels like to hope in the midst of overwhelming doubt.

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    This story is due to become one of the greatest science fiction

    This story is due to become one of the greatest science fiction stories ever told, the likes of Ender's Game and Dune. Yes, it's that solid. Get in while Howdy is still relatively unknown and claim bragging rights as one if earliest fans.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    I read this book in one marathon sitting, and have since read ev

    I read this book in one marathon sitting, and have since read every work by Hugh Howey. In a word, this book is a gem. Howey seamlessly creates a post-apocalyptic world based in an underground silo, and the true genius of his work is in his character development. He brings out every aspect of the technological, social, and political systems of this world through his characters, all of whom are believable, likable people. I have been a science fiction fan for 40 years, and this is one of the best books I have read. Howey is amazing, and his rapidly-growing fan base is a testament to both his skill as a writer and his dedication to his fans. Give him a try. You will NOT be disappointed.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    If you are a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories, then you

    If you are a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories, then you absolutely owe it to yourself to pick up Wool - Hugh Howey has created a simply magnificent world with characters that you truly feel for. As previous reviewers have said, this omnibus edition is actually 5 volumes collected into 1 seamless story.

    To explain the plot and setting in too much detail quickly leads into spoiler territory, but I will give this brief overview: At some point in the future, mankind has retreated underground into massive silo complexes to flee a calamity that occurred years ago on the surface. Within these massive silos, all aspects of society have been reproduced: Engineering, Farming, Law Enforcement, Information Technology, Manufacturing, etc. Every person has a role to play, and every person is critical to the viability of the silo. Speaking your desires to go "outside", or even openly questioning what may be out there is strictly forbidden; punishable by death via a process known as "Cleaning". Once you pick up this book, be prepared for a long read into the night; if you're even capable of putting it down at that point! I highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoyed novels such as 'The Hunger Games', 'The Maze Runner' or any other "end of the world" type scenarios.

    Once you finish this Omnibus collection, be sure to check out 'First Shift: Legacy" - an incredible prequel to the 'Wool' series that will blow you away!

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    You'll lose yourself in this book.

    My favorite kind of books are the ones where I am lost in the story, and when I put the book down, it takes me a moment to realize where I am. This is one of those books.
    I would rate this story among the top books I've read in my life and I am a voracious reader.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    Expertly written, engaging plot and characters, and engages the

    Expertly written, engaging plot and characters, and engages the reader intellectually and philosophically. Sci-fi with interesting characters that explores interesting social issues ftw. In my opinion, now that we have the Wool Omnibus, a six-star rating option would be more appropriate.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    WOW! ----- Everyone lives in an old silo. Some apocalyptic eve

    WOW!
    -----

    Everyone lives in an old silo. Some apocalyptic event has made the outside unlivable. But there are rules. One rule is you are not allowed to want to go outside. While thoughts cannot be monitored, statements can, and if you state you want to go outside, you will get your wish. Unfortunately, it comes with a death sentence because the outside world cannot sustain life. Or can it? Has everything been a lie?
    -----

    First, I love that it was titled Wool. I am the type of person who likes when pictures are off center, or the person in the picture is not looking at the camera. I also like when books have a title that is not obvious or the significance is not something obvious. I propose that there is a very good reason this short story is titled Wool- one obvious and one not so obvious but will seem obvious when it is pointed out to you, that is if you don't figure it out on your own.
    -----

    The writing and character development is phenomenal. The tension, frustration and fear seeps from the pages, or screen. And this is all in 50 pages. That's amazing. Just remember, this is my opinion. Even the most successful novel has bad reviews. However the most you have to lose is less than an hour of your time and at most, 99 cents.
    -----

    Finally, I would like to make one last observation about Wool. As I was reading this story, I couldn't help but think how much it reminded me of the twisted short stories by Philip K. Dick. I am a huge fan of PKD and that is the highest compliment I could possibly give a SciFi book or story.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    unfinished

    I started reading this after reading a nice review. It was interesting at first, but just didn't hold my interest and was abandoned. The story itself seems interesting, and well thought but I guess it just didn't suit me. After not reading it for a couple days, I had no desire to pick it back up again. Maybe, I will try again in the future.

    6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    This is not the omnibus edition for $0.99!  This is only the fir

    This is not the omnibus edition for $0.99!  This is only the first section - Wool 1.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stellar Read!

    I must admit to being very sad that I have finished WOOL. Hugh Howey's unique addition to the post-apocalyptic science fiction genre is an incredibly well written and very human story. Fans of science fiction will thoroughly enjoy it, and I believe it is a great stepping stone into the genre for the unfamiliar reader.

    Without giving too much away, the plot revolves around the lives of men and women who live in a giant silo underground in a world where going outside means certain death. People have managed to create a life for themselves -- subsisting off of the food they grow, working in one of the many professions available, and following the rules of their society. If children are desired, would-be parents can enter a lottery for their chance of winning "permission" to conceive. If a crime is committed, the ultimate punishment is death by "cleaning." To clean is to be sent outside the silo to clean the windows that are dirtied by the toxic and harsh environment of the world outside. No one who has ever been sent to cleaning has failed to clean the windows of the silo. The job is always done, and no one ever survives a cleaning.

    We meet the main character of Juliette after she has been made sheriff of the silo. She's intelligent and strong, which turns out to be a dangerous combination for her. She learns of some shadowy business involving cleaning which leads her to take action, and could possibly mean revolution for the men and women of the silo.

    Overall, this is an excellent story. I believe it was originally released in separate books: Wool 1, Wool 2...etc. Wool 1 and 2 read like intense short stories -- you'll be finished before you know it. Wool 3 -5 get successively longer, and contain the bulk of the action.
    This Omnibus Edition contains all 5 parts, which is a relief (the wait between stories would have been too much for me). The parts lead right into one another, allowing the author to weave the reader through different characters and parts of the silo seamlessly.

    The characters are easily identified with: their heartbreak, resilience, fears, and love are all deeply personal human experiences that we all share. The action sequences are quick and intense, and you may find yourself having to take a break for a few seconds to reconvene your senses before moving on. I couldn't help wondering what I would do in certain situations, and it's been a while since a book has made me ask those questions. I cannot wait for Part 6!

    I'd recommend this book for all readers. This story will endear itself to both fans and newcomers to the genre. It's capable of pleasing all -- from fans of Phillip K. Dick to Zombie Apocalypse survival lovers. Even the new Hunger Games crowd of younger readers could enjoy it. This ability to appeal to multiple generations and interests could be Hugh Howey's most surprising achievement with this story.

    As for me, I'm officially a fan! This book and author will be two of my recommendations for a long time. In the meantime, I'll be diving into Hugh Howey's Molly Fyde series while I wait for Wool 6.

    Read this book, you won't regret it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    The Wool Omnibus is the first volume of the Silo series and enco

    The Wool Omnibus is the first volume of the Silo series and encompasses a collection of the first five books in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. 
    Wool is the first book in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. It introduces the post-apocalyptic world Howey has created where the remaining population exists in underground Silos dug in a desolate and bleak world. Life is highly regulated: the right to bear children is determined by lottery and intending to leave, to go outside is a crime. Sheriff Holston intentionally commits that crime three years after his wife Allison did so. Punishment involves going outside to do some cleaning, with usually fatal results. Howey manages to set the scene and develop his characters very effectively despite the brevity of the text. This short taster for the excellent Wool series ends with a brilliant twist and will have readers looking forward to the second book, Proper Gauge.
    Proper Gauge is the second book in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. With the loss of Sheriff Holston, Mayor Jahns and Deputy Marnes set out to convince their preferred candidate for the role, Juliette Nichols, to take on the job, which means travelling down the silo to the down deep levels where Mechanical is situated. But not everyone agrees with their choice: Bernard Holland, head of IT, prefers another candidate who will be more sympathetic to the protection of IT’s all-important servers, and Jules herself is reluctant to leave her useful position. This instalment expands on the world Howey has created. Howey’s characters have depth, his plot is absorbing and climaxes with a shock death. Readers will be sufficiently intrigued by now to head straight for the third book, Casting Off.   
    Casting Off is the third book in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. It opens with new Sheriff Juliette Nichols in the airlock, about to be sent outside the silo for cleaning, a situation that will immediately intrigue readers. The remainder of the books describes the events leading up to this. Howey continues to embellish the world he has created, dropping clues about the previous uprisings, the control IT has on this world and the existence of other silos. Howey’s characters are well developed, his plot is interesting and believable, and he ends this book with a cliff-hanger that will have readers eager for the fourth book, The Unravelling. 
    The Unravelling is the fourth book in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. Having somehow survived her banishment to the outside, Juliette Nichols heads away from the Silo to make a startling discovery, uncovering yet more of the lies told to the remaining population after the last Uprising. Meanwhile, her refusal to clean the sensors that monitor the outside has set in motion a revolution led by Knox, the head of Mechanical and McLain, head of Supply. The head of IT and acting Mayor, Holland suddenly feels the need for a shadow. With each instalment, Howey enhances the world he has created. This book ends, once again, with a cliff-hanger that will have readers keen to read the final instalment, The Stranded. 
    The Stranded is the fifth and final book in the Wool series by American author, Hugh Howey. It is divided into three narrative strands: in Silo 18, the latest Uprising proceeds with mixed results, while behind the scenes, Walker and Shirly make some startling discoveries once they get the radio working; Lukas, as Bernard Holland’s shadow, learns, to his horror, much about the Silos and the World Order; in Silo 17, Juliette and Solo implement some grand plans and make some surprising discoveries of their own. Howey wraps up his post-apocalyptic tale with an exciting climax, while leaving enough loose ends to draw the reader towards the prequel, Shift, and the sequel, Dust. Truly a page-turner!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Very good!

    I had the sample of this book for months and never read it, I think the title just kinda turned me off. Wool? What an oddball name. Eventually I gave in and read it and oh my goodness what a great choice! Great characters, unexpected twists and just really entertaining. If you are a fan of dystopian books this one is for you, not a happy sunshiney view of the future, instead a hard look at the lengths some will go to at the behest of ideals allegedly for the interests of "humanity". Read this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Must read

    I absolutely loved this book. I read Wool #1 and then immediately bought the combined Omnibus edition. It is hard to properly review without giving too much away about the story, but I will say that it is one of the better sci-fi books I have read in a long time primarily due to the characters. I felt invested in each of them and definitely could see what was motivating them (even the antagonists). I hope that Howey keeps writing books in this world for some time to come!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    In Love with Wool

    This is a breathtaking saga. Once you start reading it and become invested you will not want to stop. Originally I purchased Wool 1 by itself. I was so enamored with 1 that I did not think twice about buying 1-5. The stories are rivoting and the setting so unique. I am a former English teacher now retired and I read everything I can. I wish this series had been available when I was teaching as I think those teenagers would have loved it. I am looking forward to the movie series they will make from Wool. This series ranks along The Hunger Games and Divergent.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Great read!

    Great book! Did not want it to end. Would love to see it continue. Highly recommend this book instead of the individuals. You will buy them all once you start!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    I'd give this 6 stars if possible!

    One of the best books dystopian books I've read. There is no way of guessing what will happen next, and one chapter was almost too much (fear of what would happen) for me to read! Highly reccomend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Exciting Read, extremely original

    The telling of the story was brilliant.

    I loved the author's style and the narrow and constant little mysteries complimented by a great unknown. If there were characters I could relate more with this would have been a very solid 5.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    A really great read

    I was skeptical after reading the preview of the book. But, honestly, I loved it! In fact, i am sad that i am finished! I do agree with some of the other comments in that the ending seemed abrupt. I am so excited that we will get to read Solo's story! Keep writing, Hugh, and I will keep buying!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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