Back when I was a renter I avoided even looking at basement apartments even though they are usually much cheaper to rent. Oh, I tried once when I lived in Costa Rica. My place was not a basement apartment per say, but it was a 2 level apartment with the kitchen and living room on the ground floor and the bedroom and bathroom below ground level. I thought in a warm tropical climate like Central America it would not be an issue — it was. Despite how warm it was, the minute I descended into the depths at bedtime I could feel a chill with each step I took down to my basement bedroom. Not only did I feel the chill, but it was dark even when it was still light outside. I hated the feeling of being underground, there is probably something primal about that.
Therefore, I can understand the people in Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy who volunteer to clean, the desire to get above ground and go outside in the natural light.
Dust is the final story in the trilogy and it reveals the wider world beyond Silo 18. Juliette’s determination to dig through to her friends in Silo 17 creates unrest in her silo, but she doesn’t care as she doesn’t have any plans to be a career politician, she never wanted to be Mayor anyway. However, after so many of her friends and colleagues died in the recent uprising, Juliette isn’t really showing enough empathy to others, and in fact her actions will have deadly consequences.
After all, Juliette and Lukas haven’t shared with their silo what they know about the other silos and that they have enemies. Is Donald from Silo 1 one of those enemies or an ally? It was really jarring to read about Silo 1 and read references to the Iraq war. Most apocalyptic books occur in the immediate aftermath of some disaster or far into the future, by introducing Silo 1 it blends the origins of the silos and our current reality with that of the rest of the silos, the future societies created by choices made today, and I thought that was a good hybrid and a technique not deployed much.
After all, when we envision the future we tend to envision the society of the future getting progressively advanced beyond the previous generations, but it’s the opposite in Dust. The people in Silo 18 live like an earlier era, the few computers in the Tech department notwithstanding. Yet there are elements such as the War Games feel of the servers assigning each silo a number, only one silo will ‘win the game.’ Then there is Silo 1 where the inhabitants take ‘naps’ that are basically putting people in a cryogenic freeze, very futuristic sci fi contrasted with the Blue Lagoon type story line of Hannah and Rickson and the cult like elements of Father Remmy and his flock. There was a lot going on in this last story, maybe a bit too much as these other elements were not completely explored, rather only briefly glimpsed.
I did think that rather than ending the series that there could be additional stories about the other silos and how each society may have evolved to be very different. That would be very interesting in my opinion, it’s like those studies about twins separated at birth and the old nature vs. nuture argument It would be very interesting that even with the same origin/birth, each silo may have evolved completely differently in terms of their form of governance and society.
I particularly would have liked to have heard the story of Silo 40. Silo 40 had a silent revolution and had hacked both the camera feeds and ‘sorted the gas lines’ as well as communicating with their neighboring silos. The collapse codes were hacked by the silo. Supposedly, Anna hacked the detonators to bring the silo down, but we learn that instead she was sabotaging her father’s plans, so what really happened to Silo 40? Usually I don’t like spinoffs on TV, but as book series I think there’s more to tell about this world. Particularly if the inhabitants from the other silos ever get a chance to meet face to face on the outside…are you listening Mr. Howey?