‘Wool’, a series of sci-fi zines by Hugh Howey

Since its inception, science fiction has been under attack. Considered mere “genre fiction” by your favorite antagonistic English professors, it can contain some of the finest phonies in literature. It’s tough to find a serious writing program out there that will let the students engage in “genre fiction” as it may distract from the fundamentals of storytelling, such as character development, metaphor and setting. But somehow there is acceptance of Shelley, Wells and Jules Verne (who are rarely taught) while Herbert and Heinlein are taboo. As Harry Potter and Twilight gently whisk fantasy into the mainstream, there appears to be some small chance (outside of the movies Star Wars/Trek and Phillip K. Dick) that the genre will be taken seriously. Maybe science fiction’s biggest enemy is science itself. On a day by day basis we learn about teleportation, phasers, and new planets, all science fiction staples that are now reality. So outside of the pulp world, where are the new science fiction writers who can bring the writing into mainstream acceptance?

Few people on this planet know who Hugh Howey is. His novels are mostly self published, available in a digital format. But something has caught on here and I got the bug as well. The Wool series has generated a fast-growing cult in the self-publishing and sci-fi communities. All of a sudden you are climbing the steps to a world where…

Each step was slightly bowed from generations of traffic, the edge rounded down like a pouting lip. in the center, there was almost no trace of the small diamonds that once gave the treads their grip. Their absence could only be inferred by the pattern to either side, the small pyramidal bumps rising from flat steel with their crisp edges and flecks of paint.

And soon you are in the silo that is Wool. One part Fallout and a dash of the Allegory of the Cave, the story is a cracker. Howey’s DIY attitude and aesthetic to writing goes to show you don’t need a publisher to build a following. Wool accelerates chapter by chapter and Hugh Howey’s emergence as a writer might be one of the best stories of 2012.

You can grab Wool for your Kindle here. If you don’t have a Kindle simply download the Kindle app to your cell phone and proceed to make your bus/subway/train trip that much better.

February 22, 2012 / By