Tag Archives: Hugh Howey

The World of Silos – Hugh Howey’s WOOL saga

First, let me start off by saying that these books by Hugh Howey have been a great influence on me.  Not only do they tell a captivating story about a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been exterminated except for a relative handful of people selected to be saved in “silos”, vertical cities dug into the ground somewhere in Georgia, but the story of the publication and Howey’s subsequent success grabbed me like not too many other stories recently.

Nitpickers can find all the problems with the writing and the story that they’d like to, but I read a story about a strong female character who fights to learn the truth that is withheld from the descendents of those original Silo inhabitants.  And I was inspired by the tale to read more independent fiction in the subgenre that WOOL and SHIFT and DUST reside in.

But even more, I was inspired to self publish by Howey’s story of success – something he wrote became popular simply because it was a story that grabbed others as it grabbed me, and he became a self-publishing success story.  What does it matter that he’s made millions from the product of his imagination?  That’s just a difference in degree from what other self-publishers, including myself, are doing.

And then, Mr. Howey opened his world to others, who could write fan fiction (basically) and publish it and perhaps make some money off of it.

So I thought I might try something.  It isn’t really coming together like I wanted it to.  My story doesn’t really want to play nice with the facts as they’re already established by the stories that exist.  Facts that I asked Mr. Howey about, and received a prompt reply with plenty of helpful information (hence, my post a few weeks back about Howey being a really nice guy).

Here are those facts.  The nanobots that are used to exterminate the human race – they aren’t sprayed or released on the day of the Convention, when everyone is hustled into the Silos (in the book SHIFT).  They are already in everyone, and everyone who goes into the silos has to be immunized against them.  They become active when they do because they are tiny computers and they have a “clock” in them.  There is no time frame for how long they remain viable in the environment.  Howey envisions many years, I think.  Maybe a hundred.  But he says that it isn’t specifically spelled out in any of the stories he wrote, nor is it spelled out in any of the stories that others wrote that he is aware of.  He said I could make it whatever time frame I wanted.

It didn’t work for my story, anyway.  I wanted to write about people who were living with the aftereffects of the nanobots’ activation and the death that it entails.  Trouble was, there was no way to have survivors.  Well, there is, actually, a way to have survivors, but those people weren’t the story I wanted to tell.

I may still tell the story I wanted to tell, if I can figure out how to make it work without the backdrop of Hugh Howey’s WOOL saga.  But for now, it won’t be a “Silo” story.


Hugh Howey is a Nice Guy!

Hugh Howey, author of the WOOL series (WOOL, SHIFT and DUST) has always been reputed to be a really nice guy and very generous with his time and help.

Well, now I can attest to that very fact.

It wasn’t much, really.  I know that others have written stories in the Silo Universe that Mr. Howey created, and I know that he has allowed this work to be published with his blessing.  That in itself should speak to the kind of person he is.  But somewhere, I wondered:  Is this just another experiment?  After all, if someone is interested in Patrice Fitzgerald’s stories about other silos not featured in Howey’s work, would it not follow that they might then want to read the source material?  Might this not lead to increased sales for the WOOL saga?  Is it a clever, new marketing ploy?

I’ve always been interested in the moment when the “world ends”; I read a fair amount of post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world fiction.  My interest in Howey’s world focused on what happened to the people who WEREN’T in the silos.  I had an idea to follow some young smart people who might learn about the coming genocide and try to figure out a way to ride it out.  So I started writing the story of Paul, who meets up with Rebecca, a beautiful rich girl whose father is connected in the Beltway and who gets some vague information about what is coming their way.  Rebecca enlists Paul’s help to somehow try to isolate themselves from the coming disaster.

Then I got thinking.  I needed some information, to make it consistent with Howey’s universe.  How was the infection spread, and how long would it last?  I had the idea from reading SHIFT that the agent for genocide was spread by drones on the day of the Convention (you’ll have to read SHIFT if you want to know what I’m referring to).  I wanted to know how long it would be around.  How long would my main characters need to isolate themselves for?

So I wrote to Hugh Howey, via email.  I asked my questions, and even though he was out of the country, he answered promptly.  Twice!  (My follow-up email asked a couple more questions for clarification.)  His answers made my story doomed for failure, at least as a Silo Universe story.  But that’s beside the point.  Can you imagine writing to Stephen King these days (or even in the past) and getting a personal response within 24 hours?  I can’t.

Mr. Howey deserves props for the way he treats his fans, even when (especially when) those fans are writers themselves.  I just wanted to give him some.  Thank you, Hugh Howey, for your great stories but also for being so generous with your time and attention!


Hugh Howey on Huffington Post

I’ve loved Hugh Howey’s WOOL series, and I loved THE PLAGIARIST almost as much, and I love HIS story as well.

You have to like it when he comes out with something like WHY YOU SHOULD SELF PUBLISH in the Huffington Post.

The fact is that you should write because you love to write, and if you want to share your stuff, you can either submit it to tons of various editors and agents and magazine publishers and whoever else has decided that they are smart enough and perfect enough to sort out the good from the bad, or you can self-publish. I’ve chosen to self-publish and I’m not going to look back.

Whatever happens, happens.