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.