Everyone wants in on WOOL, and that includes me. It’s not that I’m a greedy bottom-feeder, but I have moments in which I imagine myself a potential remora to Hugh the shark. Granted, symbiosis can be more beneficial to one member of the “partnership,” and I’d say that if one of us were going to benefit from this partnership, it would be me. To state this more clearly: I’m an editor. I’ve edited some of Hugh’s works, and that process has led to the humbling realization that I am…an editor. Editor, plain ‘n’ simple. In other words: I’m not a writer.
Even so–knowing that I’m editor-not-writer–my most successful EVER attempt at writing a story from beginning to end is a fanfic set in the WOOL universe (no known characters; it takes place in some as-yet-remarked-upon silo). I have a good chunk written and the entire story from beginning to end mentally mapped out. I might even finish it someday.
And should it be finished, the glory should go to Hugh Howey.
All this useless blather about me is just a lead up to what I want to share with you, my fellow HH fans.
I spend some time on the Kindle Boards, where Hugh is a known and respected figure. I try to lay very low when it comes to threads and posts related to him, but a recent thread elicited such an unexpected bark of absolute delight that I asked the creator of said thread for permission to share it with you, and he consented.
Collapsing to the ground, curling up in pain from the slow death overtaking him, he held what remained of his wife and thought, with his last thought, what this death of his must look like to those who could see, this curling and dying in the black crack of a lifeless brown hill, a rotting city standing silent and forlorn over him.
“Give him the shot,” came a voice, soft and feminine but edged with authority.
The pain was overwhelming now; Holston felt his skin flake and melt away, eaten by the inhospitable world, digested by the unbreathable air, his lungs scalded as the acidic air dissolved their delicate tissues. Hands, bare, human hands, gripped him and rolled his body — a whisper away from death — onto his back and he sensed, rather than felt, a syringe press into his neck.
Abruptly the pain ceased. Holding up his half-melted hands, Holston watched in half-wonder, half-horror as the dissolved skin slowly dripped its way up, reattaching itself to his hands. The suit faded away, although it liquefied harmlessly and passed around his skin like water by a riverstone.
It was so surreal for a moment he was certain he was dead… but his vision remained crisp and clear and he was completely without pain. As pre-death hallucinations went this was fairly pleasant, overall.
Climbing naked to his feet he saw a half dozen people. People, living in this blasted barren wasteland as though there were absolutely nothing wrong with it at all.
“Who the hell are you…?”
“I’ll explain in a moment. Summer, give him some of the nanoweave clothes,” instructed a Chinese woman whom Holston presumed to be their leader, her hair done up in a bun and hidden underneath her military issue hat, “and make sure the suit is completely dissolved. We don’t want the next escapee to trip over it.”
“Aww… I was admiring the view,” complained a lanky redhead, whom Holston could see was eyeing his naked form with an entirely unhealthy amount of interest. She absently tossed a wrapped bundle in his face.
Dazed, Holston pulled on the string and the wrapping fell apart. Inside was a simple shirt and long pants, woven of some texture he did not recognise. Holston pulled them on as though a man sleepwalking.
When he was dressed again the Chinese woman stepped forward and extended her hand good-naturedly. “I’m Captain Melissa Liao. We’ve been waiting for you.”
Holston took the hand, finding her grip to be surprisingly firm. “Waiting for me…?”
She smiled a strange half-knowing, half-curious smile and released Holston’s arm. “Yes. You wanted to see the world outside the Silo,” she remarked, “and you will. But that can wait.”
He struggled to process this. “How… how did you know I was coming?”
Liao’s smile became coy. “Allison told us you’d be dropping by… sooner or later.” She gave a playful laugh. “… although you’re even more handsome than she lead us to believe.”
Read what the critics are saying!
* – “I hope Hugh sues David into the ground and then sues his corpse. Reading this was actually, physically painful … I felt real pain.”
* – “I’ve read some terrible fan-fiction in my time but daaaaaaaaaaamn.”
* – “Timecube guy? Is that you?”
* – “I’d say it’s so bad it’s good, but it’s actually just so much worse than that so the needle swings all the way back to horrible again.”
Book cover? You betcha. Alas, I’ve spent over an hour trying to upload David Adams’s awesome cover but have hit roadblock after roadblock. (Blame my new laptop.) If you have to see it RIGHT NOW, head on over to the Kindle Boards. In the meantime, I’ll try to figure out WTF the problem is.