Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Blog

Tomorrow is too Late

I used to take some chances with my bad guys. I’ve written my fair share of them. But if I wrote a scene where cops teargassed clergy off the stoop of their own church, so a president who has never believed in any god for a day in his life could get his photo taken with an upside-down Bible that he’s never read a word of, I’d have to delete it before my editor got a chance to berate me for being ridiculous. I’m also guilty — most writers are…

World Building

When we sit down to write a novel, we start with a blank page. The world we create can take any shape we like. It doesn’t need to have our rules. It doesn’t need to have our history. The only constraint is our lack of imagination. Oh, but what a constraint this is. Our imaginations aren’t very good at conjuring up worlds dissimilar to the ones we know. When we create new lifeforms, they tend to look and act pretty much like us. When we predict the future, we tend…

Sincerity and Song

Do you remember the first time you went outside in the blackness of night? The first time you walked away from all light and felt darkness surround you, wrapping itself across your shoulders like a blanket of shadow? I was seven or eight years old before I ventured into the deep black. It was different than the darkness of unlit rooms in our house at night, which gave me creeps enough. It was far more palpable than my closet and my under-the-bed, where I knew terrible things lived. This was…

Changing the World

Zoom out with your mind for a moment and picture planet Earth from a distance. Note the clusters of light at major cities on the night side. Picture the airplanes and container ships slowly creeping vast distances. Cars like ants along their sugar highways. Everyone jostling and bustling and hustling. When I do this, I see humanity mostly obsessed with pulling ores out of the ground and piling them up to make cities. If you were trying to make sense of an ant colony, you would see them doing the…

Following the Math

Before we talk about numbers, let’s talk about empathy. Death sucks. It’s probably the number one worst thing about living. Otherwise, living is mostly great. But death kinda mucks it up in the end. Over 4,000 people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s more than died in the US during the 9/11 attacks. It’s painful when large numbers of people die from something new and seemingly sudden. That’s happening right now. My heart hurts for every one of those who will pass away or suffer. Even if it was…