Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, Young Adult

#468 Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

Half Way Home by Hugh HoweyHalf Way Home by Hugh Howey

Now, that say five times fast. You know what, it just ends up being gibberish, like most say-this-five-times-fast challenges, so don’t say it.

You guys know I like Hugh Howey. I tore through the Silo series in nothing flat and I really, really want it to be a television series, because I think it would be awesome as a television series, but I’m not in charge of who makes television series, so I can’t make that decision.

This book is another book by Hugh. It’s a science-fiction book, of course. This book is about a group of teenagers. They’re teenagers in one sense, but not in others. These teenagers were grown in tubes and educated by a very expansive artificial intelligence called Colony. The purpose of Colony is to incubate and educate around five-hundred people with different skill sets to set up colonies on other planets. Everything is already provided to these people and ideally they would be educated for twice as long as the unfortunates of this story are.

Porter, our main character, stumbles into awareness amidst fire and rain. Colony has stopped part-way through an abort measure. There are about fifty people alive out of over the four-hundred that the colony had started with. They all count each other. They determine who is ranked highest. They try to act like adults. They talk like adults. They’re educated like adults, but they’re still teenagers in body and somewhat in personality. Porter is the group’s psychologist, or he would have been had he completed his entire training. He knows he’s missing a lot, everybody is. Colony isn’t giving any answers as to why the abort measure was started and then stopped part-way through. The inhabitants of this strange planet find sleep where they can and begin the work Colony prescribes.

They’re building a rocket. People are getting antsy. It’s a miserable existence. One among them is killed only a few days after all of them awoke. Some suspect murder. Some suspect a slip. Nobody knows the real reason. The death shocks the group. They have a funeral. It isn’t long before things start going downhill. Porter suggest a boost in morale to Colony, but Colony doesn’t say what it intends to do. Porter and his friends, Tarsi and Kelvin, create a small group. They sleep together, actual sleep, work together, and eat together. They eat something they call bombfruit. It seems to rain out of nowhere and explodes on impact, but it’s edible.

A couple leaves the camp one day. Porter, Tarsi, and Kelvin want to leave as well. All the while Porter deals with conflicting emotions about his two friends Kelvin and Tarsi. The trio makes their break for it one night. They must cut a new hole in the wall surrounding their colony, but they make it and so do a small amount of other people. An entire group escapes, numbering about ten. They make their way to what looks like a very large tree, in fact, that’s what it turns out to be, but it’s the largest tree any of them could have ever imagined. It towers over a thousand feet in the air. They want to find the other couple who left. They find an arrow when they get to the tree. It points up. There is an up. The group follows it and finds something they never expected to find.

As more comes to light, the group realizes something strange about the force that raised them and educated them. It may not be the nurturing entity they thought it was.

What I liked

I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not usually into books set on other planets. I will read a science fiction book set on Earth in the distant future all day long, but start saying it’s on another planet and you’ve probably lost me. Hugh’s book is not bad as far as interplanetary living goes. He makes it believable. He gives a reason for these people to be on this strange planet and a plausible explanation as to how they got there.

Hugh always seems to have some sort of statement backing his novels. There is a statement in this novel. It’s a statement about valuing profit and money over life. Would someone really send five-hundred people to a far-off planet to murder them if the planet’s resources didn’t pay out? Do you even have to ask that question? There are definitely business moguls who would totally send you somewhere to die as long as they made a profit. They might not come out and admit, but they don’t care about you.

Hugh really seems to catch this idea and trend of worshiping the almighty profit over anything else. I also kind of sense that there may be a bit of a pro-life sentiment in the book, but it’s not something that was jumping out at me and screaming in my face.

What I didn’t like

I never really have too many complaints about Hugh’s books. The only thing I will say is that it’s on another planet, and as I mentioned before, I don’t really do other planets. I love Doctor Who to death, but put other planets in my life in any other context and I lose a lot of interest. My problem with other planets is that we don’t know about them. We can imagine life on other planets all day long, but on Earth, we have evolution, genetic inheritance, and world history. There is a certain way in which things develop. We don’t have trees that are two-thousand feet tall, the closest thing would be Redwoods, which get pretty darn close to being a thousand feet tall. We don’t have giant caterpillars. In fact, I watched this entire documentary all about how animals with exoskeletons could only get so big because of their body type and limitations breathing and so forth. The point in all of this is that some of these things simply aren’t possible through what we know of science, at least here on Earth, maybe on another planet creatures with exoskeletons could be gigantic.

Speaking of caterpillars, they’re only one stage in an insects life cycle. Are these giant caterpillars more like centipedes, which keep their shape, or are they more like true caterpillars, which eventually transform into flying insects? Are there giant-freaking butterflies and moths on this planet somewhere?

The entire time I was reading this book I was waiting for them to discover that they were just really tiny and were living in the grass with the bugs. Admit it, it’s a possibility.


I liked it, even if it was on another planet.

alien planet, caterpillars, colonists, colony, half way home, Half Way Home by Hugh Howey, hugh howey, kelvin, other planets, porter
Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, Young Adult

Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#410 A Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate by Hugh Howey

A Rap Upon Heaven's Gate by Hugh HoweyA Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate by Hugh Howey

At this point I want to know if Hugh has written any more books in the Sand series. Let me go check…no, apparently there is not, but as far as good news goes, Hugh has apparently done some updates to his website. It looks more Sci-Fi now.

This is the last installment of the Sand series. So what happens? Well, our family manages to meet up again. Palmer is weak and can barely move. His sister rescued him from almost certain death out in the sand. They get to Springston just a minute too late. The sand pirates have blown up the wall that holds the sand back from the city. Destruction reigns.

Vic goes straight for her mother’s brothel, The Honey Hole, to check on her family. The brothel is under sand, but Vic uses all her might and her dive suit, to move the honey hole out of the worst of the sand. Her family is inside, even the new sister. They’re all there, alive, some just barely, but they’re alive. Vic doesn’t have time to stay with them. There are people trapped under the sand. She gives Marco’s dive suit to her little brother Conner and they set to their grim task of trying to rescue people from underneath the sand. They manage to rescue about a hundred people, but that’s it. Out of an entire town, they find about a hundred people.

Palmer has already told Vic about the plans to destroy Low Pub as well, so Vic has to go there. Who they meet is an old friend, but he’s turned to the dark side. What the renegades pulled out of Danvar was not some piddly little weapon, it was an atomic bomb. They plan to detonate it in Low Pub. With some quick thinking from Conner, the men don’t get their chance. Conner and Vic have to decide what to do with the bomb. After finally reading the letter from her father, Vic has an idea.

Vic takes her sarfer and goes towards No Man’s Land; she takes the bomb with her. Her family has been instructed to go west as her father said in the letter. They’re not supposed to wait on her, but they do. In a few days they see a large mushroom cloud in the distance and they know Vic has pulled off her plan. They eagerly await her return.

What I liked

I had a chance to read a bit about what Hugh thought his book was about while on his website. Hugh said he was trying to write a book about people who need help, but don’t get it. We’re not talking psychological help, although that could be included in this overall “help;” we’re talking about help(food, clothing, political aid, monetary aid). Too many times we watch the news and see this impoverished area of the world. Sure, they’re impoverished, but the government has a blockade against them or whatever. Often, political or financial institutions can get in the way of helping a person. The bad people in this book series know about Low Pub and Springston. They know there are people living on the sand. They don’t care. They are busy with their profitable mining operation and they just flat-out don’t care. Sure their mining operation is making life miserable for these people, but again, they don’t care. Money talks and in this case money says, “Screw those guys! You’re making money.”

Families can get annoying. I’ve got one, I know. My family is one of those families that have developed a communication system faster than the speed of light. So if you do something embarrassing, the entire family is sure to know in about .00000001 seconds. I’m not actually going to look up the speed of light and figure out how to calculate something that is faster than the speed of light, so if that is incorrect, you’ll just have to deal with it. Just pretend. Vic’s family is annoying. She’s ashamed of them for various reasons, one of them being her mom is a prostitute. You really don’t get much lower than being the kid of a prostitute. Vic rebels against the idea of her mother and her profession, but when it comes down to it, Vic loves her family. She risks her life to save them from being buried under tons of sand. She does something that seems impossible, adrenaline rush and all of that. She realizes that her family is important and she would do anything for them despite all of their annoyingness.

What I didn’t like

Let’s talk about mining. For those of you from the mountainous regions of the world, you might know a little about mining. For the rest of you, you’re probably not so familiar with any of the processes. I come from an area where there are gold mines and copper mines. There are also a few gravel quarries. There are different types of mining. I don’t have the technical names for all of them. There are some types of mining that are less invasive and environmentally dangerous than others, for instance, traditional mining where you literally dig a shaft into the side of a mountain and go in there with a pick axe like you’re one of the seven dwarfs. There are other types of mining that are environmentally disastrous, strip mining and fracking. Fracking is mining for natural gas and not mineral. Some of these mining practices may not be dangerous to humans, excepting their usage of certain chemicals. Take gold mining for example. It’s usually not dangerous to people unless you count freak accidents, but sometimes people mining gold use mercury to aid in their mining processes. Mercury is bad for you. If you live near a stream where gold miners used a lot of mercury, there could very well be detrimental effects to your health.

Why do I mention all of this? I mention all of this to make a point, as usual. Mining can be very dangerous to people and to the environment. We need to mine things… coal, natural gas, minerals, and so forth, but we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t know if Hugh intended to make this political statement about the safety of various mining procedures when he wrote this series, but ultimately, that’s what he ended up doing. We’ve got this great book series all about how dangerous mining practices can not only screw up the environment, but screw up people as well.


I really enjoyed the Sand series and I hope Hugh writes more about these people who survive on the sand.

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Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#408 Thunder Due East by Hugh Howey

Thunder Due East by Hugh HoweyThunder Due East by Hugh Howey

My theories as far as Danvar have been confirmed, but I still won’t give it away, just in case you want to find out for yourself.

In this installment of the Sand series, we find our characters coming into seemingly chance meetings. Vic has run away from a terrible brawl that left her boyfriend dead. She’s obviously upset, but knows there are people trying to kill her. There are also people after her brother Palmer and she has to find him. She takes her sarfer out into the desert, it’s kind of a sand surfing vehicle, and looks for her brother. When she finds an emaciated frame, she knows it’s her brother. He looks terrible and he desperately needs water and food.

Meanwhile, back in the city, Rose is at her brothel, then all of a sudden, her two youngest children walk in with a little girl. The girl is about the age of her son Rob, but she’s sick and injured. She’s dehydrated. The boys tell their mother that she referred to their father as her father. Rose is suspicious of this, but accepts it quite readily, it seems just like the thing her no-good husband would do. He just up and left the family almost twelve years before then had another kid. The girl is in bad shape, her name is Violet.

When Palmer is rejuvenated just a bit, he tells his sister what he found. He tells her that Hap is dead. He tells her about Danvar and what is down there. He brought a map back up. The map is a blue print to a treasure-trove of scavengable goodies. Palmer also tells her something terrible. The men who went down to Danvar brought something back up that would destroy the two nearby cities. Vic knows they have to warn the people of the towns before this terrible thing happens even if people are after both she and Palmer.

Rose doctors Violet up enough and Violet is able to relay her tale. She traveled many days to reach the city. The raggedy clothes she was wearing was a homemade dive suit. Her father had sent her. The little girl explained what went on in the place she came from. There was water, but you couldn’t drink it. They were made slaves. They had to mine things out of the earth. All the sand came from the mining process. That was why the people in the desert towns suffered, but it was worse there. Everyone was skinny and sick. Before Rose really has a chance to do anything, sand comes from nowhere.

What I liked

I get the feeling that maybe Hugh doesn’t like fracking. Hugh’s books seem to have this message in them. In the Wool series, we kind of get that Hugh thinks people shouldn’t be intentionally polluting the environment. We get this big warning against letting a select few have control over what goes into our air and water. That’s cool and all. Hugh also seems to have taken the same stance here. A portion of a certain state has been turned into a desert because of mining practices. I’m not going to reveal what state this is, but let me go ahead and tell you, it would be largely impossible to turn it into a desert except in extreme circumstances, which is what we have in this series. This is something of a cautionary tale.

There was a period in the history of United States when poor farming practices led to a very large swath of the country being turned into dust. We called it the Dust Bowl. People just up and left their farms because they couldn’t farm dust and sand. It was a very devastating time for many people. They had to leave their homes and search for new place to live and to work. Hugh is taking a page from history when he writes about areas of the country being turned into dust and sand.

What  I didn’t like

There isn’t much I didn’t like about this book. I do feel bad that there are seemingly these foreign overlords forcing people to mine for metals.


Good story, short, but good.

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Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#407 Return to Danvar by Hugh Howey

Return to Danvar by Hugh HoweyReturn to Danvar by Hugh Howey

I think I know where Danvar is, but I’m not going to say because I don’t want to ruin it for you.

In the beginning of this installment of the Sand series we meet Vic. Vic is the oldest of the four siblings we’ve been following around. She’s also a sand-diver, a very good sand-diver. The beginning of this book finds her diving to a depth of 600 meters, but she doesn’t tell anyone. She doesn’t let anyone know that she can dive so deep. If everyone knew, everyone would be doing it and that would ruin her edge on the salvaging business.

When she gets back into town with her diving partner and boyfriend, Marco, she hears rumors. Danvar has been found. The whole thing sounds fishy to her. She and Marco go to see her mother at her brothel. It turns out Vic’s mother actually owns the brothel. She hasn’t seen Palmer in several days. Vic begins to suspect that Palmer is the one who found Danvar. People show up who are looking for Palmer and they have guns. This is very bad.

Vic tries to trace Palmer’s whereabouts, but ends up meeting ruffians and guns at every turn. At one point a very bad tussle leaves her injured and Marco worse off. An old friend steps in to help out.

Meanwhile…Palmer is alive! He’s still down in one of the buildings of Danvar hundreds of meters below the sand. There is air enough, but he’s ran out of water and jerky. He gets curious at one point and finds the other two divers that supposedly went down before he and Hap. Palmer There is a fight with the remaining diver. It doesn’t end well. Palmer knows he has to get out. The other diver had some air while Palmer had some power. Palmer takes the air and manages to dive up through the sand. He thinks he might make it back to the surface.

The deep pit the sand pirates had dug is gone. Palmer is going to have go even further than he ever imagined with only one tank of air. He channels everything he remembers his father and sister telling him about sand diving. He sees a beacon in the sand. He goes for it. It’s Hap. It’s at this point that he realizes Hap did not meet a happy end.

He realizes now that there will be people out for his life. Upon overhearing some of the things the sand pirates are saying at their camp, he knows they are up to no good and a lot of it.

What I liked

The plot thickens again! Of course the sand pirates weren’t nice guys.

I like how the entire family is getting involved in this situation. They’ve all been wrapped into it and they can’t get out. They’re connected by various threads and ideas. Palmer becomes this key to preventing a lot of terrible things, but is he up to the task?

Vic is another tough woman, much like Julie from the Wool series, also by Hugh. Hugh apparently has a thing for some tough women. It makes me wonder if his wife drives big rigs or something. Honey, when are you going to be home? Oh, after I deliver this haul to Phoenix and beat the crap out of a band of Hell’s Angels. Darnit! I broke a nail! It all reminds me of a song by Weird Al, Driving a Truck with my High Heels On.

Again, this world of sand is quite interesting. I have known a few people who have been through sandstorms on their deployments to the middle east. Sand gets in everything. My mother also grew up in Arizona where the occasional sandstorm would role around. The sand would sting when it hit your bare skin and get through even the tiniest of cracks. Hugh seems to know about the nature of sand, but he hasn’t gotten to its destructive power yet. He lives in Florida by the way, that’s how he knows so much about sand.

What I didn’t like

Hugh is falling into this pattern, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of depicting his main female leads as tough tomboys. Tough tomboy women are awesome, we all agree right? What’s not to love about the Danica Patricks of our world? She’s a race car driver by the way. I kind of feel as if Hugh doesn’t really know how to write another kind of woman, but that’s not necessarily true. The majority of his women may be tough, but there have been a few that aren’t these tough tomboys, but all the leading ladies have been tough tomboys. Out of the Wool series, Julie was a female mechanic, there was another female mechanic(I forget her name), the mayor was pretty hardcore, Donald’s sister was a fighter pilot and so on. Most of the women were what you would consider “tough.” It seems like Hugh is missing out on the more feminine side of women. There are people who won’t mind Hugh’s tough women though.

It’s not that I don’t like Hugh’s tough women, I do, I just think he’s falling into a rut in some aspects. Not all of Hugh’s women are tough and profess manly professions, just look at Vic’s mother in this series. She’s still tough, but you wouldn’t exactly call prostitution a manly profession.


The series gets more interesting as it goes on, as any good series should.

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Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#406 A Visitor by Hugh Howey

 Howey_SAND_OMNIBUS_EbookEdition-600 A Visitor by Hugh Howey

This is the second installment of Hugh’s Sand series. We’ve left Palmer far underneath the dunes of sand and now we’re following his two younger brothers around. Their names are Conner and Rob.

To understand what it is that Conner and Rob are doing in this installment of the series, we must understand their family history. Twelve years prior, their father, a man considered a lord in the area, walked off and left them. He left their mother alone with four children, Victoria, Palmer, Conner and Rob. Rob is only eleven years old currently and most of his rearing is left to Conner, who isn’t even really old enough to do much for himself. Their mother was forced to live on a life of prostitution. There aren’t many jobs out in the sand.

Conner spends some time hauling buckets of sand away from the town well. If they don’t do this, the well will disappear and no one will have any water. Everyone will die. Conner was denied entry into the sand diver school and resents the fact that his father was a diver, his sister is a diver, and his older brother Palmer is a diver, but he was denied the opportunity. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t try every once in a while.

Every year Conner and his siblings go out to the edge of the territory. There they look out onto an area where no one goes. It’s a no-man’s-land. Sometimes people go there, but they never come back. Their father left, so they set up a tent each year to commemorate his exit out of their lives. This year Palmer has promised to come, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to show. Conner is angry, but he has other things to deal with. He comes home one evening to find his little brother experimenting with his father’s sand boots. Houses are built on top of each other. As the sand drifts in, houses on the bottom level become uninhabitable. The inhabitants are forced to move out as someone else builds a house on top of their own house. These houses go down layers upon layers into the sand. Conner knows it’s only an amount of time before he and his younger brother Rob lose their home.

When Conner reaches his home one evening, he finds Rob in one of the lower disused levels of the house. Rob has wired his father’s boots together in such a way that he doesn’t really need a suit. It’s quite clever and it sort of works, but Rob gets stuck. Conner has to help him out of the sand. It becomes clear that Palmer is not going to be joining them for their yearly ritual, so Conner and Rob go without him. There they find something strange. Conner’s plans have changed once he meets someone new.

What I liked

Ha! The plot thickens! Well, it’s really not as dramatic as all that.

Hugh is very good at interweaving relationships. You start to find out that this character knows this person, but this other character knows this person. All these characters end up being connected this way or that way. It’s like that game you play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Practically everyone knows Kevin Bacon somehow.

Hugh incorporates a bit of Sand mythology into this book. We start hearing about Colorado, Sand and a couple of other entities. Any people are going to have their mythology. It only makes sense that these sand dwellers would have their own origin stories.

There appears to be some type of war going on, but details are sparse.

Hugh has apparently thought up words for different types of sand. I’m assuming there is some kind of explanation of these words somewhere in the series, but I haven’t really looked into the back yet. I guess he went with that whole idea that Eskimos have about a million names for snow, so why shouldn’t people living in sand have a lot of names for it?

What I didn’t like

There are pieces missing, of course. These pieces were serially released and comprise one whole series. The series itself is more like the complete book rather than a separate collection of books. It’s really however you want to look at it. On their own, the parts of this series don’t make a lot of sense. So right now, I’m feeling a bit out-of-the-loop. I know there is more information, but I just don’t have it.


It’s getting better as I move along.

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Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, what if

#405 The Belt of the Buried Gods by Hugh Howey

The Belt of the Buried Gods by Hugh HoweyThe Belt of the Buried Gods by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey is one of those authors I kind of have a writer’s crush on. He’s prolific and he seems to think up entire worlds and ideologies while he’s eating breakfast. I’m not really sure about the breakfast part though, his inspirational moments may come at nighttime or just whenever.

The Belt of the Buried Gods is the first part of a series called Sand, as you can see exhibit A to the left here. Hugh is known for writing another series called Wool, which I love so much and I wish it was a TV show, but Hugh has also written many other books.

This book takes place, well, we don’t really get when it takes place, but you start to get an idea as the story progresses. We meet two men, Palmer and Hap, they’re sand divers. What’s a sand diver you ask? Well, apparently the world Palmer and Hap know is covered in sand. There is sand, more sand, and oh, sand. Sandwiches are really SAND-wiches, if you know what I mean. I’m sorry that was stupid, but you get my point. Sand gets in everything. They live in tents. They move when they have to. Wells have to be maintained twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, otherwise, the well gets covered in sand and everybody dies of thirst. People have managed to live despite these challenges though. Palmer grew up and became a sand diver much like his older sister Vic. Vic is full of knowledge about the sand and how to stay alive in it. For you see, a sand diver, dives into sand.

You may think this is impossible, but Hugh has clearly thought this through and created a method for diving into the sand in his book. The sand divers wear special suits which enable them to vibrate the sand around them, making it more like a liquid rather than a solid. They use air, just as an underwater diver would do, so they must carry tanks on their backs. They use their suits to create pockets of liquified sand underneath the surface of the sand to move about, just as someone would do underwater. I know enough about sand to know that this might actually be plausible. Hugh could probably go to the patent office.

Palmer and Hap have been called out to the middle of nowhere to do a dive. They’re not aware of who they’re diving for and how deep they’re diving. The deeper one dives, the less likely it is that the person will return. The pressure of the sand eventually does make it too much for a human body to sustain. Hap is something of a friend to Palmer when he’s not constantly telling, “Your Mama” jokes.

Palmer soon finds out that they’re diving for a man who is like a pirate and that the dive is going to be very deep. The pirate is something of a treasure hunter. He’s looking for the famed lost city of Danvar. Palmer doesn’t really feel like diving into the sand possibly looking for nothing, but the man assures both Palmer and Hap that they know this is the place. They just need confirmation. They have already dug down 200-meters. This means Palmer and Hap will only have to dive 350 meters, which is still an almost unheard of dive depth. Palmer and Hap suit up anyway, what they find is something they never expected to see.

What I liked

Sand diving? How awesome is that? Leave it to Hugh to make up this completely new-fangled idea. Not that living in a silo underground was exactly new-fangled, people have been thinking about that since the Cold War, but the way in which Hugh arranged it was awesome. This book is no less awesome. Hugh explains all of this in a way that sounds totally plausible.

You have to think of sand as both a solid mass, but also individual parts. Each grain of sand is an entity of its own, but when you combine it with lots of other grains of sand it becomes a beach, or a sandbag, or just whatever. A beach and a sandbag both serve their purposes and are quite tough in many aspects. Sandbags can stop a flood from entering your home, that’s pretty strong stuff. When sand feels more solid, like the wet sand near the water on the beach, the particles of sand are packed very closely together. You can take a little shovel and dig into the sand there and more or less get a sold hunk of wet sand coming up with your shovel. Now, take your shovel and dig back where the beach is dry. Dig where the sand is all powdery and fine. Sure, you scoop some of it up with your shovel, but a lot of it runs off and blows away. The sand in this area of the beach seems more fine and more pliable. It’s the same sand, it’s just not as tightly packed because it doesn’t have that water mixed in with it. Now, on the extreme sand/water combination you have quicksand. It’s more like a strange soup. There is quite a bit of water and that water suspends particles of sand in itself. If this was regular old water you could swim out of it, but with quicksand you can’t really do that because it’s actually partially solid. You can’t really swim through a solid object.

So why explain all of that? I explain all of that to present the validity of Hugh’s idea. Theoretically, I think Hugh’s idea could work. If a machine could vibrate particles of sand far enough apart from one another, then certainly you could move through sand as if you were moving through water. Now, as far as getting to any depth, I’m not so sure pockets of loose sand would hold up underneath tons of sand on top of you, but maybe I’m wrong.

What I didn’t like

Hap is not really an enjoyable character. This installment of the series was also short on explanations, but I get that this is because of the nature of the series. This was the first installment of the series. I did choose to do this installment as its own book because Hugh did release these separately.


I wonder if Danvar is going to turn out to be Atlanta. As you may or may not know, the ruins in the distance in the Wool series was Atlanta. I don’t think Hugh likes Atlanta, or maybe he likes it too much. I don’t know. This series seems promising though.

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Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, what if

Books Set in the South, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#330 Dust by Hugh Howey

Dust by Hugh HoweySummary

Dust by Hugh Howey is the final installment of the Wool series. I have read the entire series and I love it. I really freaking love it. Hugh is a genius. He’s done it again. This book is wonderful. I have been fascinated with this people trapped in an underground silo since I first came across the series. Thank goodness for random free books on Amazon from time to time. I don’t think I would have read this series otherwise.

This installment of the series is between three silos. If you have read any of the other books in the series, you will know that there were fifty silos. Some of them have been silenced forever. The silos are self-contained living spaces. They grow their own food and process everything on their own. It was only a few very powerful people who created the entire idea of the silos.

In silo1 we have Donald pretending to be Thurman. He has woken up his drone pilot sister, Charlotte, to help him determine if there is anything living out in the world. Meanwhile in silo18, Juliette is mayor and is working hard to dig to silo17 where her friend Solo and a few kids are living. She plans to expand the living space for the people of her silo. They lost a lot of lives in the most recent rebellion. Juliette does not find being mayor easy. She also has a fairly new relationship with Lucas, the new head of IT that she tries to upkeep. Not everyone is fond of her ideas as mayor. A lot of people do not believe the things she says. Some even accuse her of bringing back strange diseases from silo17.

Donald finds out more and more disturbing things. In the last installment, Donald tried to get rid of some people he decided to hate. Someone has found his actions. He knows it’s only a matter of time before he is found out. Donald only has a little while to live anyway. Coughing up blood is something Donald does multiple times a day.

Thurman was the object of Donald’s attempted murder and it turns out, he’s not dead. The medical team is able to patch him up enough to find Donald. Thurman doesn’t play around he knows who did this to him and where he is hiding. Charlotte must was helplessly as her brother is beaten severely by security guards and Thurman himself. Donald is taken into custody and otherwise imprisoned.

Juliette’s team in mechanical works tirelessly to get through to silo17. They finally do it. People are unsure of how things are going to work out. Meanwhile, Juliette has gone outside to take samples of the air, soil and the decomposing bodies that litter the area around the silo. Her plan to get back inside goes off fairly nicely. She isn’t burned like her last time reentering the silo. Things go rather well. The tests do not go so well. I turns out the samples taken right outside the silo door are much more toxic than the samples taken yards away. Suddenly, a light bulb goes off. The argon being pushed out when someone goes out of the silo to clean is not actually argon, it’s something much worse.

Donald has been secretly talking to the people of silo18 for a few months, but Thurman finds out. He plans to shut down the silo. As luck would have it, Juliette’s dig has gotten through to silo17 just in time to save some people. She can’t save the five-thousand people or a little less who live in her silo, but she is able to save some. They go silo17, Juliette loses several people important to her in the process. One of the ways silos are brought down is  by pumping deadly gas filled with tiny body-destroying nanos into the silo through a secret gas line. All those that are left behind die. Juliette must think of a new way for people to live the little food in silo17 will not last forever.

Meanwhile, a sympathizer has both found out Charlotte and Donald. They tell him everything. He begins to remember who he is. He helps Donald and Charlotte out. Donald plans a plan to end all plans. All the planning of the silos and all the terrible people who made those plans will pay.

Do Juliette and her people find a way out? Is there something on the outside? Why is all of this taking place in Georgia? Well, you’ll have to read the book. I can’t promise the answers to all of those questions though.

What I liked

I love this series. I love how it ends! You have to read it! Read it! It’s freaking awesome. I just really love how these people fought against others who were trying to micromanage their lives. I love how they got free in various ways. I love how they resisted. I love how they opened their eyes and learned to think for themselves.

I must admit, I have a certain affinity for dystopian novels. I don’t know why. I guess it is often because the protagonists in those novels wake up and learn to think for themselves. They learn to adapt to their new world. They live and they learn. I just love it. I love how, even out of disaster and apocalypses, people are able to think anew. They’re able to survive. There may be great loses of life, but people always survive. Life moves on.

Thurman so gets what is coming to him and I love it. I love it.

I still really want this series to be a television show. I would watch it, every single episode. Trust me, if I can watch all the episodes of Doctor Who, I could definitely watch all the episodes of Wool. That’s what they would have to call the show. Look, TV people, decide to make this show, then hire me as a consultant. I’ve read the entire series, I think I could be really useful in your production.

I still don’t know why Hugh chose Georgia for all this craziness. Georgia is usually the last place you think of when you think apocalypse. All of that has changed with the advent of The Walking Dead though. I lived in Georgia for many years. I love and hate the idea of this sinister production happening there. I can totally see it happening purely due to the corruption levels in the state of Georgia. Recently, I read an article about how Georgia is number one as far as corruption in the state government. I can see how this would happen.

Donald turns out to be an amazing character. He’s noble. He’s conflicted. He’s caring. He’s dying. He’s confused. He’s troubled. He’s a murderer. All those things make for a very, very interesting character. He saved a person, he saved lots of people I think. He risked everything to save his sister, talk about your sibling devotion, I wish I had me some of that.

Hugh has inspired me in a lot of ways. Hugh is self-published. He started this series not thinking that it would ever get this big. He published it digitally on Amazon, and now it’s this sensation. I know in the beginning he did not have a ton of faith in his writing. I’m glad he decided to publish the first story. He inspires me to work harder on getting my material published. Thanks Hugh, seriously. You’re a role model. By the way, I’ve been to your site, you can totally come visit mine.

I love the idea of how all these people are self-contained. Everything they need is in their silo. It’s all going to run out at one point, of course. That’s why things have to change. It reminds me very much of the book by Eoin Colfer, The City of Ember. It’s a great book and it was made into a movie, shame on the movie people for not making the entire series into movies. I have not actually read the rest of the series, but I would really like to. The people of Ember also live underground, but they’re at the very end of the shelf life for their society. Things are running out. Power flickers and the last of the food is dangerously dwindling. I do wonder if Hugh ever read that book. It’s really for children. Why are some of the best dystopian novels for children? Look at The Giver by Lois Lowry, it’s technically a children’s book.

Just read this entire series. Do it. Don’t argue. It’s worth any money you spend on it.

What I didn’t like

Why are the IT people the bad guys? Seriously Hugh? I have to wonder if Hugh has worked in IT. He probably has and is purely poking fun at himself. He seems like an IT sort of guy. I’m an IT person, I don’t want to be pinned as the bad guy/gal.


Just read it. Ten stars, five stars, a million points, eight cows, whatever rating system you like, choose it and this series has top ratings.

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Books Set in the South, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if