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.
Okay, if you haven’t read the series called simply: Wool then arguably, perhaps you haven’t been living on this planet for the past 5 years. Book One of the Wool Omnibus appeared in June 2011. Author Hugh Howey appealed to readers to drive the subsequent parts to the story. The omnibus has over 12,000 Amazon reviews – in the US – and 1000s in other territories. Why?
Good question. It’s self-published. Why did it do so well?
I have followed Hugh Howey, the sea-faring, self-pub-lauding creator of Wool (and multiple other science fiction worlds) on his incredible website and other places. (Okay, not stalking, just following, promise. Although, I can’t be held accountable for actions taken to have an apéro with the guy and his wife if I ever cross paths in the Caribbean where he is currently sailing… currently? Okay I’m not sure where he is — GPS-wise right now — let’s say Caribbean. That way you don’t get to him first.)
What I would like to say about Wool is that I think it’s so good and so popular because it harks back to Shakespeare.
Yes, it’s Shakespearean in structure and form and theme. No other book in recent reading has made me think of Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth AND Richard III so frequently and with such nostalgia.
Because Shakespeare wrote about the human condition – as does Howey.
He may not be putting up a play on a national stage fraught with calamity and jeering public….. okay he is, that’s exactly what Amazon is, right? So, he is putting up a play… a narrative… a story to a fraught and fickle crowd whose attention span is as short as your pinkie fingernail and who could care less about their so-called leaders…. Yet his story of a post-apocalyptic world populated with toiling folk full of human needs, desires and aspirations SPEAKS to us as readers as an immediate – hypnotic yarn that we must unravel in due course until its end.
That’s his thing.
He has this thread… this tension running through his skein of yarn that spells STORY. And we humans do tend to just adore a story. Who doesn’t?
Seriously, wool jokes aside. Read this.
When Lizzie Harwood isn’t neck-deep in writing and motherhood, she is an editor and writing coach to amazing clients all around the world. Visit editordeluxe.com for more on writing, editing and creativity. See lizzieharwoodbooks.com for book news about her three published books. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your book to review.