Sci Friday - Wool
Welcome back to Sci Friday!
This week I'm featuring a self-published adult novel, set in an eerie post-apocalyptic world. Originally published as 5 separate short novellas, the omnibus is the way to go. (Wool would also be an excellent read for teens!)
by Hugh Howey (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 539 pages
Published 2012 by CreateSpace
ISBN 1469984202 (ISBN13: 9781469984209)
(I read the ebook - Kindle Edition, 550 pages
Published January 25th 2012 by Broad Reach Publishing
This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.
Several of my friends independently recommended Wool to me. While I don't often read self-published novels, the synopsis caught my attention.The premise of a society cut off from the dangers of a post-apocalyptic world filled with danger isn't new, but the application of that premise felt fresh and unique.
The story begins with what was originally book 1 - and it is a bit confusing at first. The story jumps back and forth in time, slowly building a world where humanity lives sequestered away from a dangerously destroyed environment. I questioned, I wondered, but I was truly hooked after the first few chapters.
Giving my thoughts about the whole plot would involve lots of spoilers, and I don't want to ruin the experience for you. I loved the ideas of love, sacrifice, and leadership that were explored in the plot. The characters are fascinating. Juliette, who becomes the main protagonist partway into the book, is the kind of heroine I love. She's handy with tools, intelligent, and courageous. The antagonists were also fascinating, and seen in the light of making choices to do what they feel is right. The world building was strong, and completely believable.
The most refreshing part of reading a science fiction novel targeted toward adults instead of teens, though, was the way the love interests developed. There was more confidence in love, less pining away for the object of affection. Love is a powerful force in this world, but the characters seem more empowered to not make that love the center of their existence. I hadn't realized how much I missed that.
Young Adult, as a grouping, generally has main characters that are teenagers. Wool's protagonists are upper 30s and older. This makes Wool an adult science fiction book, though it would make an excellent choice for teenage readers as well. The intrigue and mystery of the setting, combined with the well developed characters, will appeal to those teens along with adults.
Wonders and What Ifs
What does it take to provoke a revolution?
What is the best way to train a workforce?
When is it necessary to keep secrets? Who should be the keeper of the secrets?
Closed system ecology