Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

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

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…

El Dorado and the Meaning of Life

What would happen if all the agnostics, skeptics, and atheists out there were open and vocal about their secular lives? Would would happen if the vast majority of people admitted that their sense of morality came from internal and communal reasoning rather than from a religious text? My best guess is that we’d recognize the United States as not very different from parts of the Middle East. A religious war would break out. We saw what people did to America’s #1 sport just because players wouldn’t kneel to a flag…

Happy New Year

I’m sitting here in Tasmania, on the other side of the world from the small farming town in which I grew up, reflecting on the wild adventure my life has become. This past year was one of the best of my life, even as it contained some of the most difficult things I’ve ever wrestled with. My father is bravely battling cancer. The country I love is taking what I feel to be massive steps backwards. I’ve spent many a dark hour thinking about what’s slowly slipping away. But I…

The Value of Reading

Five years ago, I made the novelette WOOL available for free. Permanently. This is the short story that launched my career as a writer, and I wanted to make it available to as many readers as possible. When I discount my books, or make them free, I think about conversations I’ve had with authors about how we value our works. What I think is just as important as the value we place on our art is the value we place on its enjoyment. Not everyone can afford to sate their…

The Devastating Consequences of Blind Worship

Living on a boat is a life of constant troubleshooting. There are always at least a dozen things not working on the boat, and often one broken thing leads to several cascading issues. One electrical short can create a nightmare of confounding variables. It reminds me of my years spent repairing computers at Tandy. When a computer system is a mess, what you hope to find is a single issue that clears up many of the problems in one fell swoop. When I’m overwhelmed with a number of things that…