Hugh Howey

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

Questions from Jason Snyder

A few questions sent in by a reader. Maybe they’ll answer one of yours. Beware of spoilers!

1. How exactly are the stairs in the silo? (This is such a heated discussion in my house) Are the stairs wrapped around the central shaft similar to a spiral staircase, with the levels on the side (essentially creating one long stair case)… or are the stairs (spiral shape or not) broken up by each level, thus creating individual “sets” of stairs?

It’s one continuous spiral staircase! The central “pole” is much thicker than normal, however. A good six feet in diameter. The stairs wrap around this center pole and are wide enough for two people to walk abreast (or pass in opposite directions). Beyond the railing is a gap of ten or so feet to the concrete wall that forms the inner shaft. The landings span this gap and jut off at various angles.

2. What exactly is a “proof” copy? I see people winning these all the time, but am not sure actually what it is.

These are the early versions of books that publishers send around to get reviews, blurbs, and excitement from booksellers. They are usually not final versions (typos and imperfect layouts), and they are almost always paperback. When I reviewed books for a stint, I became swamped in free proof copies of upcoming works. They poured into the bookstore where I worked as well. They aren’t for resell (it’s not legal, actually).

3. After WOOL 6, do you find yourself leaning more toward being a conspiracy theorist (or do you consider yourself one already)?

Whatever the opposite of a conspiracy theorist is, that’s me. A believer in coincidence? A coincidencist? I think people are bad at getting away with shit and even worse at keeping secrets. If the most powerful man on the planet can’t get a blowjob and get away with it, I don’t see how any of the more fanciful schemes could work. Having said that, I write fiction. And the way I think the world works would make for boring stories. :)

4. Half way through the series I told my wife, that a part of me does not want a “happy ending” with Jules making it back to Lukas, did you ever consider going in the opposite direction with the end?

Oh, I consider every sort of ending. It’s like playing chess. You consider crazy moves, even if for only a moment. I toyed with killing Jules at the end, with the “bad guys” winning, with Lukas dying, all sorts of possibilities. Now, remember what you asked for because I’m not done telling the story. ;)

5. Do you think it would be better to not know the “truth”? (Another hot topic in the house)

This is a tough one. I always say I’d rather know the truth. Even if it hurts to know or is dangerous to know, you can’t make sound decisions without the best data at hand. This will be tested, of course, as we see how Juliette and Lukas attempt to manage their silo with the truth flooding the place. I’m not done exploring this question, not by a long shot!

28 replies to “Questions from Jason Snyder”

“I think people are bad at getting away with shit and even worse at keeping secrets. If the most powerful man on the planet can’t get a blowjob and get away with it, I don’t see how any of the more fanciful schemes could work.”

I’ve said almost this exact thing on several occasions. Have you been spying on me?

That contradicts the definition of a conpiracy. And just because a conspiracy is found out doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t successful. It doesn’t have to remain a secret forever to be a conspiracy.

I’ve always meant to ask, and have never read anywhere–what is the significance of the title, “Wool”? I remember the references to knitting (Wool 2?) but still wonder. The inhabitants are sheep?

I love these Q&As, Hugh! They really allow us fans to broaden our understanding of your fictional (is it really?) universe and enjoy the way your noggin’ works. Kinda reminds me of when I was a youngster, crawling into a private dark corner of protection with the latest comic and reading the inner cover notes of Stan Lee. So cool. You are the best!!

I saw that you added a summary to one of the Amazon reviews (in the comments section) for ‘The Walk Up Nameless Ridge’. Have you ever considered adding more of these summations to future stories? I liked being able to compare what I got out of the story with what you intended for the reader to get out of the story.

Hugh – While I certainly understand your economic need to focus on the Wool saga (not to mention death threats from The Shuffle if you dare stray too far from that path), do you have any feeling about when or (…shudder) if you’ll revisit Molly? And will she be an adult or will she be stuck as a teenaged space traveler forever?

Gotta be totally honest. I completely agree with you on the whole conspiracy thing. The more people you involve in a conspiracy the more chances their are for someone to get greedy or grow a conscience. Then you have the whole “messing” it up thing like Watergate. Or look at how it took only a single coach to expose both Spygate (Patriots taping signals) and Bountygate (Saints bounty program).

All it takes is 1 person to send a conspiracy into the crapper. Although, I will admit, it can take many idiots who really have no idea what their doing to mess things up and make it look like their was a conspiracy at hand when one wasn’t intended.

Jules with a blower. She reverses the direction of the engine and puts on a super-filter to go POLLUTION BUSTIN’!!!!!

I ain’t afraid of no smog!

I have no idea what I’m saying. :0

I am so looking forward to the next Wool! Everyone I’ve mentioned your writing to is now an avid fan. I was wondering…. plotting for the wool series is so complex and layered….but you started with a simple short story. Did you know the backstory to the silos when you were writing the first Wool, or have you been making it up as you go?

   [kuhn-spir-uh-see] Show IPA

noun, plural con·spir·a·cies.
the act of conspiring.

an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.

a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: He joined the conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Law . an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.

any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.

You and I will butt heads on this forever? Happens all the time dude.

Can’t wait till you get back to Second Shift. (I don’t like I, Zombie – sorry.)

I see that you have Second Shift (Wool 7) 60% done, and Wool 9 14% done. What happened/is happening to Wool 8?

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