Hugh Howey’s WOOL. series is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is the fact that Howey has opened up the universe and actively encourages other authors to write stories in his world. Today I had the chance to sit down and read two of the newer Silo stories, and if you’re a fan of the series, I’m pretty sure you won’t want to pass these up.
The first is The Last Prayer by Lyndon Perry, which takes place in a nameless silo at an unspecified time in their history. It focuses on something that I was always hoping would come up in a silo story, the role of religion among the survivors and their new society, and how it can be used to comfort the population, or to control it. With it’s intrigue, shadow dealings, and heavy themes, the story elements of The Last Prayer could easily be expanded into a full-length novel. I do have to say though that events in the story would never have really played out the way they did, but you have to make allowances for a short story, and expect some compressing of the plot. But overall, it was very enjoyable, and an easy recommendation for anyone who’s a fan of the Wooliverse. The Last Prayer is available on Amazon for 99 cents, and a sequel, The Last Uprising, is due out in the coming months.
One interesting, and as far as I know, undetermined aspect of these non-Howey Silo stories is their relationship to canon, and whether or not they should be considered “official” stories. Often, these stories are written with Howey’s consent, but not with his vetting of the details included, so it’s very possible that they can contradict a present or future element of the Wooliverse. For example, The Runner, while a very good story, had a few key plot elements that didn’t easily jibe with facts stated in Howey’s books. So in my own mind, I think of the story as interesting, but not canon. But I don’t recall any specific prohibition of religion in the silos, or any other conflicts with known facts, so I do include the events of The Last Prayer in my understanding of the varied silo societies.
But the question of whether someone not named Hugh Howey can create official W.O.O.L. canon becomes very important when you look at Patrice Fitzgerald’s The Sky Used to be Blue. The story itself is great, and is again an easy recommendation, but as I was reading it, I kept thinking to myself “Wow, is this the way it really happened?”
Rather than setting her story in a nameless silo, Fitzgerald takes on core Wooliverse mythology, and creates what amounts to an origin story involving key characters. I really liked where the story went, but I’m sure Howey must have some thoughts about that same time period in the silos’ history, so I don’t know whether I should include The Sky Used to be Blue when I contemplate the hows and whys of the Silo universe or not.
The Sky Used to be Blue is also available for 99 cents, and will also receive a sequel shortly. I’m going to read it no matter what, but hopefully by then we’ll have a better idea of how much weight to give it, and how important it is to the overall universe of W.O.O.L.