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Wool is a series of self-published post-apocalyptic novellas written by Hugh Howey. Originally a single short story, the surprisingly large popular reaction lead to its continuation.
Something has happened to the world. What, exactly, has been lost to the mists of time and the ravages of rebellion, but all one has to do is look at the screens, where images from the cameras outside are projected, and see the brown, dead, landscape covered by endless black clouds to know that going outside would be suicide. Instead, everyone lives in the silo. A massive, 146-floor building dug into the earth. For countless generations everyone has lived here, being born, growing up reading some of the rare children's books that survived the last uprising, applying for permission to take a lover, winning the lottery to have a child, and then dying, having one's remains turned into fertilizer for the essential crops.
In many ways the Silo is like a normal city: It has mechanics, a sheriff and deputies, a mayor, farmers, clerks, and even IT staff. The only thing it doesn't truly have is freedom. There are taboo topics, and so much as mentioning them is grounds to be sent to "cleaning", the fatal job of removing the grime and soot that coat the lenses of the external cameras, the silo's only link to the outside world.
But some people don't care about taboos, they want the truth, and their actions end up setting in motion events that could well destroy the entire city...
- After the End: A basic part of the setting. Finding out the cause of it all is a minor plot point throughout the story.
- Do Not Go Gentle: For some reason, every condemned criminal sent out to clean ends up actually doing so. Except for Jules, who decides to go off exploring with what little time she has left, as one last gesture against all the corruption.
- Downer Ending: Some of the novellas, though the story as a whole is closer to Earn Your Happy Ending.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Ultimately what the novellas become. Good people die, are seriously injured, and suffer mental breakdowns, but in the end things start looking up.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Arguably Bernard: He expresses extreme disgust, if not hatred, at what's been done to the world, but also sees everything he does as necessary for humanity's continued survival, even if that means adopting the tactics of those who destroyed it.
- Kirk Summation: Juliette's final words to Bernard. Ends up getting him lynched and her elected mayor.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Bernard would've quietly taken control of the Silo without any trouble if he hadn't murdered a mechanic who wanted to expand the Silo downwards a few floors, which lead to an investigation, which lead to Jules being pegged for Sheriff. Then he does it again when he sends her out to clean, giving her a chance to become a messiah figure
- Sanity Slippage: Most characters at some point, mostly due to the extreme stress they're placed under. More than one contemplate suicide.
- Smug Snake: Bernard. He clearly has a high opinion of himself and tries very hard to control what's going on, but is also remarkably ineffective at actually managing people.