In SHIFT, author Hugh Howey introduces the Silo’s chief architect, Donald, the designer of the containers intended to preserve a limited sample of the human population post an extension level event. His wife Helen, mentor, and work partners all play pivotal roles in crafting the world as depicted in WOOL (though Helen’s more-so from a character building perspective for Donald as opposed to directly influencing the disastrous chain of events that led to the habitation of these 100plus level silos). These characters are what drive SHIFT and provide a deeper context to the events of WOOL, notably the books final sequences.
The short synopsis for SHIFT is essentially just that. This prequel of sorts is told in shifts as members of Silo #1 come in and out of ‘deep freeze’ spanning hundreds of years to take up their respective shift(s) in order to keep the illusion of singularity and governance over the other silos going.
While a prequel, there are events, particularly towards the later stages that are all the better for having read WOOL. Howey manages to merge this distinct tale within his Wool universe seamlessly into the books predecessor whilst keeping the ideas fresh. SHIFT could’ve easily fallen into the ‘same-same’ yet is a different beast altogether.
I really enjoyed reading about the silo’s origins and how the world came to be in such a ruined state. The revelations will shock yet come across as plausible and within character of those few villainous decision makers.
SHIFT is a must read for those who have read WOOL and want to delve deeper into the questions surrounding this post-apocalyptic landscape.