Wool by Hugh Howey

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This review has been migrated from my old book site.



What if everything you thought you knew was a lie? What if it wasn’t? What if you weren’t sure? Would you need to know the truth? Would you be driven by curiosity, anger or desire to find out? These are the questions Sheriff Holston needs to answer in Hugh Howey’s short science fiction piece, Wool. Like dozens of generations before him, Holston is trapped in a self-contained underground silo, hiding out from the potentially deadly and ravaging atmosphere above. When he begins to question that reality, it sets off a series of events that pull the reader through an engaging and well-crafted story.

We are thrust immediately into the middle of the action, as Holston makes the most important and profound decision of his life. As we follow him through this decision, the world in which he lives unfolds in beautifully described layers. Like a fog slowly lifting, each chapter provides new clarity and understanding. By the end, he is a fully realized character whose decisions are understandable and, perhaps, inevitable.

The story is at times dark and painful, yet still tinged with hope. We will Holston to succeed, because, really, his story is every person’s story. His need to fully know his environment and be in control of his fate is a need that drives us all, sometimes to great effect and other times, well, not.

Wool is the first story in a collection of five, but it is fully self-contained and stands on its own. Anyone who enjoys strong character stories should read it.


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