Review: The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey


For a while now, I’ve been intending to write something about a fab author who pens science fiction called Hugh Howey who wrote the Wool Trilogy.

So, you haven’t heard of the Wool Trilogy? Oh boy. Where have you been?

Hugh Howey, appeared Deus Ex Machina in 2011 and rewrote science fiction and if that wasn’t enough he also rewrote the book on self-publishing. Sure, others have emerged out of the silo of solitary writing too…but today I’m talking Hugh Howey stuff. And yes, he isn’t self-published any more as he bagged a mainstream contract in publishing and that story is one which he tells very well himself on his web site, but I’ll leave you to peruse through his blogs and find your own nuggets.

I could sift, particle by particle through each of the books which comprise the Wool Trilogy, namely: Wool, Shift and Dust and discuss the weakness and strength of each, where he KOs you and where the story strays a little…but you know, I’d rather focus on the one thing that I think sets Howey apart from many who dare wade into the shores of self-publishing-dom and drown.

He’s the most courageous author I’ve encountered in a very long time.

Courageous? Yes. That’s the word. He conjures up a world and breathes each characters full of ticks and flaws and each with a deep and abiding passion – that ache, that all good characters need – and then he flings them into a maelstrom and tests their mettle. And well, many of them don’t make it. There’s something so real about the way in which he writes that it actually hurts to experience each loss.

Sure, Howey has a way of putting his stylistic signature on the writing, so you know it’s his, but is that a bad thing when we live in a world of samey blah blah blah? No, I would argue that it’s a great thing.

And more so…there’s something about the topic he’s picked that mirrors our zeitgeist – it just fits with what’s happening in the world right now and there’s a part of you that wonders, just a little bit, if somebody somewhere isn’t planning to build silos and force the remnants of humanity to live down there.

And perhaps it has already happened.

In the meantime, I’d suggest a torch, a blanket and reading in the dark when nobody’s about to give you the unnerving feeling of living deep in the bowels of the earth and knowing you could be sent out cleaning at any moment…

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