Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quote of the day

"The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary." - Ben Franklin, in handwritten note to his Constitutional Convention speech prayer proposal

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A word about Wool

Two months ago, while checking the Kindle Daily Deal, I came across the Wool Omnibus for the first time. Having not heard of the author, nor the five book series before, I was weary of spending two dollars on it, yet found myself intrigued by the description of this sci-fi series

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

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.
After a few minutes of internet browsing I learned that the author, Hugh Howey, self-published these books and that their sales were driven primarily by word-of-mouth. I was further impressed by the virtually universal rave reviews of the book from readers and that in less than a year the film rights were secured by 20th Century Fox, with Ridley Scott having expressed interest in making the film.

So I bought it and began reading. And I was hooked. Over the next two days I spent every free moment I had reading the omnibus.

The story begins with mankind living in an underground silo where the only punishment for those who wish to go outside is to be allowed to go outside. No one seems to know exactly why mankind is living in an underground silo. I won't say much more than that about the plot as I do not wish to spoil the experience in the slightest. But I believe that if you read to the end of the first short story, you will be compelled to read the rest of the series.

Speaking more generally about the writing, the sort of sci-fi world that Howey has created reminds me of the work of Asimov; and reading this self-published, serialized and word-of-mouth promoted work gave me the sort of pleasure that I imagine the early fans of pulp science fiction magazine derived from the sense discovering and being a part of the start of new careers and great works.

After finishing the omnibus I immediately purchased First Shift - Legacy, the first book in a trilogy of Wool prequels. I swallowed that in a few days and then eagerly awaited the publication of the second prequel, Second Shift - Order, which I got the day it became available. As you can probably guess, I am long since finished with that one and am now waiting in anticipation of the third book, which Howey expects to hopefully have out by the start of February. And then it will be onto Wool 9 (which is 14% done, according to Howey's website as of December 16).

I highly recommend giving these works a shot: and for those who do not wish to spend 6 dollars on a work from a little known author, then I would note that the original Wool 1 can be read for free.

 I dare you to try it and see if you can resist the urge to continue reading further.