Shift - Hugh Howey

Shift Omnibus Edition (Silo, #2, Wool, #6-8) - Hugh Howey

Shift is the sequel to the brilliant, self-published Wool, in which humanity finds itself confined to underground silos, the earth above a barren, toxic wasteland.


In Shift, we find out why.


Sort of.


**Spoilers for Wool ahead**


As it turns out, the reasons are a little far-fetched; mainly they appear to consist of, "hey, let's blow up the world, because it will solve all our problems". This is blamed on a few powerful madmen in America, and, actually, it's pretty well worked out. The answers to some of the questions raised in Wool, when they come, are satisfying enough; most of the psychological exposition makes some kind of sense.


But I just didn't enjoy Shift as much as I loved Wool. Partly because the narrative switches around a little too much for comfort, between the bureaucrats in Silo One (centering on a particularly annoying specimen known as Donald, who isn't a patch on the decisive, practical Juliette) and various uprisings in Silos Seventeen and Eighteen. This does mean we get some backstory for Jimmy/Solo (and a cat. Awww.) and some nice moments where the backstories of Jimmy and Donald cross with those of Lukas and Juliette, but you know something about the story of a guy who lives alone for twenty years? It's boring.


Actually, I think my main problem with Shift was its lack of structure. It definitely feels like a middle-of-trilogy book: it doesn't stand on its own sufficiently; it's not going anywhere; it's just setting up Stuff We Need To Know For The Next Book. There's no story, just info-dumping. Far-fetched info-dumping, at that.


I didn't hate Shift. But I didn't love it, either. Here's hoping Dust can improve on it.