Alright, bookworms, let’s dip our toes into a dystopian universe that’s as brilliantly conceived as it is woefully bleak. Enter the subterranean world of Hugh Howey’s “Silo” series, a science fiction saga that’s just as much about human nature as it is about life after apocalypse. Buckle up, because this ride is as thrilling as it is thought-provoking.
The Silo Series consists of three main novels: Wool, Shift, and Dust.
“Wool” (2011) immerses us into the life within a giant silo, buried underground to protect inhabitants from the toxic world outside. The system, strictly hierarchical and compartmentalised, seemingly works until the sheriff’s suicide sparks a series of events that pull apart the fabric of the society.
“Shift” (2013) is a prequel that paints the chilling picture of the world before and during the creation of the silos. It focuses on the character of Donald, a U.S. congressman, who discovers he’s part of a horrifying plan to salvage humanity.
“Dust” (2013), the finale of the series, unites the plotlines from the first two books. Juliette, a mechanic from Silo 18 turned reluctant leader, engineers a daring plan that could either save her people or lead them all to their deaths.
- “We have been dealt a cruel hand, but we are in this together, all of us. Human, mechanical, every living thing.” – Dust
- “The world can flicker in an instant, it turns out, and what you’re left with is a scramble to find something steady in the chaos.” – Wool
- “The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do.” – Wool
- “Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It’s a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience.” – Shift
- “They lived their lives in an unmarked future, under the closed book of the past.” – Dust
- “Life clung to the inside of the world and died on the outside. Birthed in the world, buried in the world.” – Shift
- “History is written by the winners, but it’s victims who write the memoirs.” – Wool
- “In a time of destruction, create something.” – Shift
- “But what’s done cannot be undone. That’s the hard part. All the things you can’t unsay and unsee.” – Dust
- “The only way to win was to lose somewhere along the way.” – Shift
Howey’s Silo series is a bleak, claustrophobic, and relentlessly grim ride through a post-apocalyptic world that often feels a bit too close to reality for comfort. It’s the kind of series that makes you question your optimism, test your faith in humanity, and consider the practicalities of a DIY bunker.
Yet, it’s precisely this harsh and uncompromising world that Howey has created that makes the Silo series such a compelling read. His exploration of human nature—our capacity for hope and despair, love and hatred, survival and sacrifice—is as profound as it is distressing.
With a knack for robust world-building and an uncanny ability to inspire empathy for his flawed characters, Howey succeeds in constructing a narrative that’s as intricate as the silo itself. He weaves in enough mystery and suspense to keep you turning pages far past your bedtime, all while making poignant commentary about the sociopolitical constructs of our own world.
There’s a certain perverse delight in immersing oneself in this grim tale of survival. As you navigate the series, you might find yourself chuckling at the absurdity of it all. It’s like being stuck on the most terrifying roller coaster, but refusing to get off.
4.5 out of 5
TV Adaptation: Apple TV’s ‘Wool’
The Silo Series, particularly the book ‘Wool,’ has been picked up by Apple TV+ for a TV series adaptation. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the remainder of humanity lives in an underground silo due to the uninhabitable nature of the outside world.
Here’s a rundown of some key members of the cast and crew:
- Rebecca Ferguson as Juliette: Known for her roles in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ and ‘Doctor Sleep,’ Ferguson will star as the lead character, Juliette, a strong-willed and independent mechanic.
- Tim Robbins as Bernard: Tim Robbins, who you might remember from ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ will play Bernard, the head of IT for the Silo.
- Rashida Jones as Anna: Known for her role in ‘Parks and Recreation,’ Rashida Jones will play the character of Anna, a key figure in Silo’s IT department.
- David Oyelowo as Holston: British actor David Oyelowo, known for ‘Selma’ and ‘Les Misérables,’ is set to portray Sheriff Holston.
The series is being developed for Apple TV+ by Graham Yost, known for ‘Justified’ and ‘Band of Brothers,’ and director Morten Tyldum, who is acclaimed for ‘The Imitation Game.’ ‘Wool’ promises to translate Hugh Howey’s post-apocalyptic world to the small screen, capturing the intense drama, high-stakes emotion, and stark realities of life in the Silo.
Hugh Howey is an American author known for his popular science fiction series, the Silo Saga. He first began the series in 2011, publishing it independently through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system. He has also written the Molly Fyde/Bern Saga series and other standalone novels.
Unlike many other authors, Hugh Howey got famous quick in the early days of KDP, and moved from working in a book store to a charmed life that’s enviable – but he still comes across as a cool, approachable guy. Here’s a recent blog post about his year in review, where he mentions getting married on a whim (to his perfect match) and being married by Jamie Lee Curtis (mind blown!)
FAQ or “study or book club questions”
- How does Howey explore the concept of hope within the bleak confines of the silo?
- In what ways does the series reflect or comment on the sociopolitical aspects of our own society?
- How do the characters evolve in response to the harsh conditions and rigid hierarchy of the silo?
- Is the resolution of the series satisfying? What alternative endings can you envision?
- How does Howey’s background in manual labor and yachting inform his depiction of life in the silo?
Where to Buy
You can purchase the Silo Series by Hugh Howey on Amazon.