Wool is the first five books* of the post-apocalyptic science fiction Silo trilogy by Hugh Howey. They were self-published as e-books from 2011 to 2012, and the story continues in Shift and Dust. There's also a Graphic Novel version, and several short stories.

The plot is pretty well-laid out. At times it seems to drag on, but for the most part, it's a gripping tale wherein you discover the truth behind conspiracies and lost history. If you like this sort of tale, it's quite a good read. Most dystopian fiction I read these days is targeted towards young adults, and as much as I enjoy those, it can be nice to read a book that doesn't involve a teenage love triangle and associated drama. This is suspense and mystery and discovery without other elements taking up plot space.

A pretty much spoiler free synopsis

The story takes place inside The Silo, a self-contained, mostly-subterranean city in a desolate world. It's consists of 144 levels of mechanics, farming, administration, and whatever else a self-sufficient city needs. It's subdivided into three 48-level sections--the up top, containing more administrivia (mayor and sheriff, IT, medical), the mids (largely farming), and the deep down (supply, mechanical, including mining at the very bottom.)

This isolated city of people are all living in the Silo, and they don't go out. Every so often, someone commits a capital offense and is suited up and sent outside to clean the sensors, thus cleaning up the view from the screens up top (this being a fatal task).

Not only are they entirely contained in there, but they don't really know where this all started. It's mentioned that some priests say god made the Silo and isn't it nice. On the other hand, they have books full of a big livable outdoors with bizarre creatures--are those works of real history, or fiction? It's also mention how there was an uprising in the past, but no one really knows the details. There are various (legally-enforced) taboos about Don't Talk About Outside and the like. Just Don't Worry About It.

The lead character in the first part is Sheriff Holston, whose wife had, three years prior, discovered how to undelete old data from the servers and subsequently gone crazy and decided she wanted to go outside. Just saying such a thing qualifies you for that fatal duty, and out she went to clean the sensors and die promptly thereafter. (Almost always when people are being sent out, they insist they won't clean--clean the sensors for you jerks who just condemned me to death? Go to hell!--and then they always go through with the cleaning anyway. The why of this is a big mystery.) His investigation subsequently leads to us following some other characters in a quest for more answers, and soon, all of society is unravelling in the way post-apocalyptic stories often do when the truth is uncovered.

How to get it

The first book in the series is available for free for the Kindle on Amazon. Alas, the subsequent parts cost money, but are now available both in e-book and hardcopy format.

* The five books are "Holston", "Proper Gauge", "Casting Off', "The Unravelling", and "The Stranded". It's typically referred to as "Wool". Kind of how "The Fellowship of the Ring" is technically two books, and was originally intended to be published as such. No one talks about "The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I".

Wool (?), n. [OE. wolle, wulle, AS. wull; akin to D. wol, OHG. wolla, G. wolle, Icel. & Sw. ull, Dan. uld, Goth, wulla, Lith. vilna, Russ. volna, L. vellus, Skr. rn wool, to cover. , . Cf. Flannel, Velvet.]


The soft and curled, or crisped, species of hair which grows on sheep and some other animals, and which in fineness sometimes approaches to fur; -- chiefly applied to the fleecy coat of the sheep, which constitutes a most essential material of clothing in all cold and temperate climates.

Wool consists essentially of keratin.


Short, thick hair, especially when crisped or curled.

Wool of bat and tongue of dog. Shak.

3. Bot.

A sort of pubescence, or a clothing of dense, curling hairs on the surface of certain plants.

Dead pulled wool, wool pulled from a carcass. -- Mineral wool. See under Mineral. -- Philosopher's wool. Chem. See Zinc oxide, under Zinc. -- Pulled wool, wool pulled from a pelt, or undressed hide. -- Slag wool. Same as Mineral wool, under Mineral. -- Wool ball, a ball or mass of wool. -- Wool burler, one who removes little burs, knots, or extraneous matter, from wool, or the surface of woolen cloth. -- Wool comber. (a) One whose occupation is to comb wool. (b) A machine for combing wool. -- Wool grass Bot., a kind of bulrush (Scirpus Eriophorum) with numerous clustered woolly spikes. -- Wool scribbler. See Woolen scribbler, under Woolen, a. -- Wool sorter's disease Med., a disease, resembling malignant pustule, occurring among those who handle the wool of goats and sheep. -- Wool staple, a city or town where wool used to be brought to the king's staple for sale. [Eng.] -- Wool stapler. (a) One who deals in wool. (b) One who sorts wool according to its staple, or its adaptation to different manufacturing purposes. -- Wool winder, a person employed to wind, or make up, wool into bundles to be packed for sale.


© Webster 1913.

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