This is How I Picture It.

The Great Spiral Staircase, exposed.

30 responses to “This is How I Picture It.”

  1. Coo; where is that?

    Did you see it before you started WOOL, or run across it afterwards.

    1. It was posted on my Facebook wall today. I think it’s in China.

  2. Same here but I imagine it to be much wider. Still no Shift 3 on Amazon for the UK market ? It is coming as a standalone book right ?

    1. Yup. Later this month from what I understand.

      1. Thanks. Really can’t wait. I’m trying not to sound like I’m a nut. However, have a look at ‘3 feet of sky’ by Stephen Ayres. An awesome first book, different to the stuff you do but just as refreshing and unique. Any plans for an ‘outside the silo’ book ?

  3. Steve Bloomfield Avatar


  4. Rather than a spiral around a central core, I imagined the staircase mounted to the inner wall of the living levels, with a central void gapping down to the (near) bottomless depths.

    I’m now in shock that my reality isn’t real. I think that I may too depressed to clean. ; )

    1. I see the same as you.

    2. That’s how it will look in the film.

      1. Wait. So the film is a go?!?! I know you went to Hollywood and had meetings…

        If you know what it’s going to look like in the film, that means you’ve seen story boards right? I’m sooo excited.

      2. I don’t understand — how willl it look: like the spiral with a central pole or like mounted to the inner wall? BTW I also first imagined it like Jake here — with a central gap all the way to the Down Deep and was very surprised when you described it like this, on this picture!

  5. I’ve never really been sure just how to picture it. I hear descriptions like inner and outer rail, central post, but then *SPOILER* I hear about people falling through*/SPOILER*

  6. Cool. I was just scouring the internet yesterday to find a better description of the stairwell and found a post where you answered a reader’s questions and gave a good description there. I went back and re-read a key scene from the beginning of Shift 3 and it made a 100% difference in how I interpreted the scene. Seeing this picture would have likewise gave me a better understanding of the layout. Thanks!

  7. Pretty crazy. I actually made a facebook just so i could post a few pictures on the art contest. Not big into the social networking so im not planning on doing anything with it. Was a fun time killer drawing on my 5 year old hp tablet.

  8. Avatar

    I would imagine that a hollow core allows for more filming angles.. as well as possible dramatization of height and (downward looking) infinite emptiness.

  9. This is cool. I actually meant to go ask some type of structural question while the chat thing was happening on GoodReads and totally forgot – I have been re-reading the omnibus because I got lost when I tried to read 7 (so many silos! and we’ve still only seen, what, three?) to ask if perhaps we could one day get some sort of schematic of layout (these floors are gardens, these are Mechanical, etc.)… So, uh, will there be a sketch sometime?

  10. I always imagined the stairs with a hollow core connected to the levels by their outer edges. That’s why explosions and fights could only affect small parts of the stairs. The design in the picture is too susceptible to damage from below. Besides, how else would people have fallen through the void?

  11. Love the Wool books. However, I’ve noticed that I have trouble visualizing some locations of your world. Things are a bit fuzzy. Seeing this staircase and reading about others that have visualized things differently brought it up for me again. I kind of wish for more descriptions that might solidify things in the readers mind. Of course, this could work to your advantage in a movie and give you more wiggle room.

  12. Maybe I missed something, but I thought I saw a reference to a WOOL related story “Dust” – is it published?

    1. Not yet. That’s the final chapter. Should be out in July. There’s a progress meter on it over there to the left. :)

  13. The photo captures the stairwell exactly as I pictured it in my mind. I’m guessing where it connects to the walls would be where the landings are.

    As for people falling into the void, that’s possible if they get tossed over the top railing and fall straight down with no landing to catch them. In the case of the photo, that would be anywhere that wasn’t directly facing the wall.

    Good pic. :)

  14. That’s how I pictured it, though with a wider stair. The books mention a central post with the inner rail being 6 inches from it.

  15. Hugh,
    I asked you this in your blog after Wool 2 – what about the elevators? I know, the ‘man’ is trying to keep the population on the stairs, but so far after reading all of the books and even guessing at a total Silo population, attempting to dimension a typical Silo, etc, it became apparent that the elevator should be addressed. Silo 1 has an elevator. The people in Silos 2 – 50 are smart, inventive and intuitive. I get that the roles they were born into are sacrosanct, but at some time within a few centuries in the can some porter would eventually figure out that if they threw a rope over the edge of the stair and hauled gear up or down it would be easier than carrying it. That would lead to a dumbwaiter which would lead to an elevator. I’m sure you’ve thought about this a lot, but it is so conspicuous because of it’s absence! I assumed that at some point Donald (the silo architect) would have mentioned this. For what its worth, I imagined the stair to be as pictures above (except with a much wider tread), and not as imagined on the book cover (clinging to the outside wall of the core). The stair stands off the core wall by some distance (maybe a meter or two?) with access to the different levels via small bridges form the stair to the doorway. The landings also provide lateral stability for the stair and allows for people to look over the side or jump (a la Solo) down to a level below. I am an architect so I have probably fixated on this much more than I should have. I love the series and cannot wait for the final tome. Keep on writing!

    1. I think the “why no elevator?” issue is partially addressed in the books. In short, it is labor unions. ;-) Recall the riots that started when people tried to disintermediate the porters and move stuff with ropes. (and porters grew their own food)

      1. The real reason is more nefarious than that.

        1. I knew it. Probably something about how it will be easier to destroy a silo and it’s contents. The ‘why’ will come. Its the ‘how’ that still has me thinking. All of those generations not building an elevator is still the biggest mystery. I know the silo chief is tasked with making sure they don’t build one, but there were uprisings where the people didn’t do as they were told. The simple explanation of the unions doesn’t hold sway over common sense (unless there is a political connection)

  16. regarding previous comment, i now see in the forum that the silo is about 6000 feet deep, which would be 1.8 km. still seems a bit long to take three days for walking, but most likely depends on traffic and physical condition. so just ignore previous post, doesn’t have to be published :) cheers, magnus

    1. No problem. I loved your calculations in that other post, though! :)

  17. I am unable to see any images of the silo. Am I looking in the wrong place? I teach CADD and would LOVE to have the plans for show and tell!

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