“Wool” by Hugh Howey

If you’re into science fiction (and even if you’re not), and you haven’t heard of this book yet, you probably will soon. Before I review the book, I want to make a quick mention about the author. He is probably one of the best examples of what good things can happen for an author if you put time and effort into your book (both ability to write and marketing). He started off as a self-publisher on amazon.com with this book. It became so popular that traditional publishers started to take notice and show an interest in his book. Now he makes about as much money as any other well-known author, and he’s even had the movie rights to this book purchased by Ridley Scott (director of movies such as “Alien” and “Gladiator”). Anyway, on to the book review.

Many people might give it a glance at first but nothing further, considering it’s only about 68 pages long (it’s sequels are considerably longer). Those few pages, however, are filled with literary gold!

Imagine growing up in a world where the entirety of recorded history is only a few hundred years old, every past before that having been destroyed in a revolt, to protect you from the knowledge of your ancestor’s former actions. Trapped in a underground complex that extends several tens of stories deep, and unable to bring forth new life or even have a romantic relationship unless you win a lottery. The outside world is toxic and corrosive to such an extent that, fully exposed, you would last only a few seconds outside before being eaten away by the atmosphere. All of this desolation can be seen through a sensor array that sits on the surface and sends a video feed to a large monitor in the underground complex. Make a bad enough mistake or simply state you want to be free from your underground prison and you are sent outside to your death to clean those sensors with wool, so that everyone has a clear view of a world they should never have any desire to explore. And no matter how much people protest their fate or state they will not ever clean the sensors, they always do.

This is the world of Holston and his wife Allison, who are fortunate enough to win the lottery granting them a year to conceive a child. But during that year Allison uncovers truths about previous uprisings. She uncovers complex computer programs and secrets of previous generations which make her question her reality and her culture. She questions whether or not she wants to continue her existence in what very well may be a lie.

I am not overstating the fact when I say that if you like the genre and haven’t yet purchased this book, you are really missing out on something awesome. Better yet, you should buy the book even if you don’t like science fiction. This book could quite possibly get you interested in it. One word of advice… DON’T SKIP TO THE ENDING. I know some readers like to do that sometime. But really, the ending is so awesome that if you do that you will really hate yourself for ruining the story.

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