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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Wool Omnibus (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey Oddly engaging, even though I can't say I really loved any of the characters.

Post-pocky-clypse-ical fiction is all the rage now. (Along with zombies.) Destroy the world, throw in some shambling undead and ta-dah, you've got a hit.

Wool manages to be entertaining without highly mobile corpses (not a zombie in sight). The story is centered on a silo where people, not grain, are kept. At some point in the distant past, the powers that be decided that Something Really Bad was going to happen and constructed a huge, self-contained life pod, shaped like a silo, where humanity's last hope would survive.

The silo is arranged in different levels, with administration, law enforcement and IT getting the upper levels and the grunts, manufacturing and mechanical, relegated to the depths. By and large, everyone is happy with the set up. People can move around and change vocations, so it's not like you are born down under, you must die there, blah-blah-blah.

For the most part everyone plays well together. The society is held together by the notion that the silo is All There Is. But why are we in the silo? Shush. But is there anything outside? Shush! Curiosity regarding the why's and what's of the matter is rewarded with a permanent vacation outside the silo. For the price of your trip (death), you also get to clean the silo's windows to the outside world. Neato-cheatos.

Inexplicably, the condemned usually cheerfully comply with this last task, scrubbing the windows with wool, then shuffling off into the barren landscape to die.

The story begins in the point of view of one of the condemned, who is/was also the silo's sheriff. Once he meets his end, it shifts to another character, who also dies. As does this character's main sidekick. Wool was originally released in chunks, which I guess accounts for the weird narrative structure. I.e., giving over much of the beginning to characters who will never be seen again.

Eventually, we meet Juliette who is essentially the protagonist. Juliette is a grease monkey recruited to serve as Sheriff. Except the new powers that be, i.e., IT*, are moving against her. Against this backdrop, there is a her unlikely love story (foreshadowed by her name, one assumes) with an IT tech named...not Romeo, thank dog, but Lucas. It's not the greatest love story, evah, but it kept me reading.

Despite my flippant tone, I liked this. Didn't love it, but was never distracted. Didn't wander off to read something else--as I do often nowadays.

As I write this, the movie rights for this have been optioned. My guess is that the cinematic version, if there is one, will focus more tightly on Juliette and Lucas. I hope the love story is better developed.

*Side note: I find it amusing that IT is cast as the villains in the story. Maybe the author had one too many run-ins with snotty IT support techs. Speaking as a former member of the breed, it's not that we don't want to help. It's that the people we help are so...moronic. Did I say that? I meant...yeah...moronic. (Ducks and runs.)