Wool – Hugh Howey


WoolHonestly, I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s history is interesting: Wool, by Hugh Howey. In his short article on Hugh Howey (a prelude to his appearance at Auckland (NZ)’s Takapuna Library this month), Stephen Jewell writes the following (quoting Howey):

“Instead of writing one book and planning to market that, I just put it out there and started writing the next one,” he says. “I actually didn’t market Wool at all, as I didn’t have any links on my webpage. I didn’t even tweet about it. But after a few years and seven or eight works, you increase your chances with every release.

Wool took off by word of mouth and it was all very organic. All the emails and reviews were asking for more, so I stopped what I was doing and started writing more.”

While it centres around a group of disparate survivors who live in underground silos on a devastated Earth, Wool‘s mass appeal could be attributed to the fact it’s much more grounded than many fantastical science fiction sagas. “I read a lot of non-fiction, like history, psychology and philosophy, and I’m fascinated with the human condition,” says Howey. “I was really writing about the things I was observing at the time, like the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which were both going on back then, so there was a real sense of uprising in the air. I saw it as the perfect chance to create a kind of microcosm, as the book is really about a society trying to manage itself with limited resources and space.”

According to Howey, the main protagonists’ motives shouldn’t necessarily be considered heroic. “The world is a lot dirtier and messier than that, as we’re now seeing in the Middle East with Egypt, which is having a hard time after its revolution,” he says. “England also saw that with Cromwell, and France experienced that with Napoleon. It’s easy to tear something down but not so easy to decide what to replace it with, because you still have human nature and it doesn’t always end up pretty.”

Conceived as a five-part series, Howey has just followed Wool with Shift, which takes place before the events of its predecessor. “The whole idea behind this was to always write what I wanted to write and not what was expected,” he explains. “The thing that is expected here is that the second book will pick up immediately after the first book left off. But as a reader, I don’t like that feeling of a story that never seems to end. So writing Shift allowed me to tell the other side of the story and more about how the world came to be like this, as it takes a whole new group of characters to the same point in time.”

Ref: Stephen Jewell ‘Apocalypse NowCanvas: Weekend Herald (New Zealand) April 20, 2013, p.29


Wool is described on Fishpond in the following way:

“The next Hunger Games”. (The Sunday Times). “Well written, tense, and immensely satisfying, Wool will be considered a classic for many years in the future”. (Wired). “Thrilling, thought-provoking and memorable …one of dystopian fiction’s masterpieces alongside the likes of 1984 and Brave New World”. (Daily Express). “Howey’s Wool is an epic feat of imagination. You will live in this world”. (Justin Cronin). “Wool is frightening, fascinating, and addictive. In one word, terrific”. (Kathy Reichs). In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.

About the Author

Hugh Howey spent eight years living on boats and working as a yacht captain for the rich and famous. It wasn’t until the love of his life carried him away from these vagabond ways that he began to pursue literary adventures, rather than literal ones. Hugh wrote and self-published his first young adult novel, Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue. The Molly Fyde series won rave reviews and praise from readers but it was the release of Wool that made his career take off. Hugh lives in Jupiter, Florida with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.” ~ Fishpond.


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