Category: Hugh C. Howey

Review: Wool by Hugh C. Howey; Ex-Gay Author: Surrogacy is like Slave Trading

Review: Wool by Hugh C. Howey

I’ve been curious about Howey’s work for a while, so I finally decided to read Wool, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopian story and a genre with which I’m not too familiar. In fact, the main reason, in full disclosure, I decided to read Wool is because I’ve read about Howey in a few online articles and I was just plain curious. So he had a lot to live up to because I’d already formed a few preconceived notions (which I hate doing) and I don’t like being disappointed.

As it turned out, I actually liked this book and Howey’s interesting writing style far more than I thought I would. There’s a certain descriptive pattern throughout the story that kept it not only believable for me but also kept me imagining each situation, glum as some of them may be at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between characters, and I felt as if Holston was a strong, but nurturing, character. I now see why there are so many good reviews. I think it’s because the writing style alone resonates with readers and helps pull them into a story with likable characters that could have been bleak and depressing but instead turns out to be more emotional…with depth of emotion. And that’s not easy to describe in a review. Frankly, I still don’t think I nailed it as well as I should have.

I also like the way Howey breaks a few of the “traditional” rules with this story. Coming from a publishing-editing-writer’s background the way I do I often pick up on things most readers might not. In this case, one of the things I spotted first with the writing were the similes. For twenty long years I’ve been told by pedantic editors who drove me crazy I shouldn’t use similes and they never offered a solid reason why I shouldn’t. So I had no choice in the matter. I was under contract; I didn’t use similes and I let the know-it-alls have their way. But after reading Howey’s story and enjoying the way he does use similes in some places (they aren’t everywhere) I now wish I could go back and make a few changes in a few things I’ve had published. In this sense, I think Wool is ground-breaking, without even trying to be that. Writing, as with language, should always be evolving.

Although this isn’t my genre as stated above, I should mention my favorite style of fiction is the short story, with the novella being second. Once again, Howey had a lot to live up to with me this time. As an author who has written (and had published in anthologies and alone) more short stories in the past twenty years than I can even count at this point I know how difficult it is to pull “it” all together, so to speak, with a limited amount of words. But Howey, to my surprise, managed to do this so well I think Wool trumps many of the short stories I’ve read in the past. I also like that he clearly marked all time frames and I didn’t have to wonder where I was…or where the characters were. With stories like this I don’t want to think too hard. I want to be entertained. And I will not apologize to anyone for that.

Another thing about the novel that I loved was the balance between dialogue and narrative. It’s not uncommon nowadays to see entire stories…or novels…written almost completely in dialogue (with horrible dialogue tags) which is always a turn off for me because I know it’s either a short cut or the writer just doesn’t know any better. In most cases it’s the latter. In this case, however, Hugh Howey balances well executed dialogue with descriptive narrative in a way that keeps the pace moving and the reader interested, and even concerned about what’s next.

This is just one small example of what I mean:

Holston dreamed of such things while he scrubbed dutifully on the third lens, wiped, applied, sprayed, then   moved to the last. His pulse was audible in his ears; his chest pounded in that constricting suit. Soon,   soon, he told himself. He used the second wool pad and polished the grime off the final lens. He wiped and applied and sprayed   a final time, then put everything back in its place, back in the numbered pouches, not wanting to bespoil the gorgeous and healthy ground   beneath his feet.
Howey, Hugh (2011-07-30). Wool – Part One (pp. 43-44). Broad Reach. Kindle Edition.

From the events following earth’s devastation to the underground silos of human retreat, a social web of creative existence that has become a way of life will take almost any reader to the point of hypnosis within the first few pages. And I don’t use the word creative loosely. I now see why this story has resonated with so many. I also think that for readers just getting into this genre…or even just getting into e-books…this would be an excellent place to start. Even if you find a few things you don’t like, the overall story/concept won’t leave you disappointed.

If anyone has any questions I didn’t cover, e-mail me in private.

You can find Wool here on Amazon.

Ex-Gay Author: Surrogacy is Like Salve Trading

Speaking of similes, this one’s a real gem.

But it’s the “ex-gay” part of this post that caught my attention at first. Robert Oscar Lopez is an author and a professor at California State University. He says he was once gay and had relationships with men, but after some kind of religious transformation he found women hot, I guess became suddenly attracted to vagina,  married a woman, and he’s been with her for 12 years. I don’t know how else to put that other than as bluntly and as ridiculous as it sounds when he says it.

And now, Lopez is speaking out and saying that surrogacy can be compared to slave trading. But more, he’s directed this comparison to gay couples who use surrogates.

‘In both Ohio and the United Kingdom, there has been a push, mostly by gay men, to issue birth certificates that indicate neither the egg donor nor the surrogate mother’s name’ Lopez wrote.

 ‘This would transform a birth certificate from a document recording where a child came from into a bill of sale and contract for ownership of human chattel … We’ve seen this before – not only in the United States, but going all the way back to Rome.

 ‘Yes, I know the word “slavery” is incendiary. But we have to take surrogacy seriously, because this could escalate into what we saw between the 1400s and 1800s. Human beings have blind spots. Systems that begin on a small scale have a habit of growing rapidly, turning far more monstrous than people would have predicted, and then becoming world-historical atrocities solvable only by traumas like the American Civil War.

First, I actually do know a little about this topic. Tony and I have niece who actually is a surrogate as I write this post today. And she’s not doing this for a gay couple. She’s doing it for a straight couple. Her only motivation in doing this is to help a couple have a child of their own. It’s an effort of love and emotion. And trust me, the last thing on her mind is slave trading.

This guy needs to go back to men.

You can read more here.

Amazon Alternate Universe; The Fosters; LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Amazon Alternate Universe

I’m not clear on this, so I’m just posting facts. The article to which I’m linking talks about how Amazon is having success with alternate universe fiction…which is like fan fiction, but not absolute fan fiction. (I think)

Here’s an explanation that might put all this into perspective. I’m not going to attempt to define it in a short post.

Also, the article to which I’m linking mentions author, Hugh C. Howey. I’ve posted about him before, here, with regard to alleged (keep in mind alleged is the key word and nothing has been proven by any means) paid book reviews and aggressive author promotion that includes influencers. He’s one of the alleged amazon .99 millionaires and works with literary agent, Kristin Nelson, in Denver. The Nelson Agency was one of the first to start an e-publishing service for its clients/authors, working with clients in partnership to self-pub digital books. NLA’s Digital Liaison Platform was mentioned in a post here, by Nelson, that discusses how literary agents are changing with the times.

And then opened a creative door for him (Howey). The book-publishing unit at the online retail giant created an imprint devoted to fan fiction, Kindle Worlds, last May. Fan fiction is often dismissed as mediocre writing by wannabe authors.

If there is a bottom line to all this, I think it has to do with the fact that readers want these books and they don’t always care as much about originality as they do about storyline. Readers want to be entertained. I know a lot of writers who have a problem with it. I don’t. If readers want this I see no reason why they shouldn’t get it.

Amazon is betting its alternative universe will succeed because its business model is different. The company doesn’t need blockbusters to offset the duds in its library. That’s because the lion’s share of the books it publishes are read digitally. Amazon doesn’t have to worry about printing costs, distributing books to stores and buying back unsold books from those stores.

You can read more here. It will be interesting to see if this really does take off. I have a few alternate universe stories I’d like to execute but I’ve been fearful of the review police who might try to shoot me down. And they do that, especially if you aren’t a promotion aggressive author like me who is willing to do anything to get reviews. I also have to make a point of actually reading one of Hugh Howey’s books to see what everyone’s talking about. When I do, I’ll post a full review here on the blog.

The Fosters

Friends of mine turned me on to a new TV show called, The Fosters. It’s about a same-gender couple fostering kids and it’s breaking many gender boundaries, educating people, and getting into topics we normally don’t see anywhere.

There are two people in the picture above. Callie is on the left. She is a young, straight woman who was born female and identifies as such (also known as ‘cisgender’). She’s bounced from foster home to foster home with her little brother, always with a protective watch over him. She is currently living with the Fosters, a same-gender couple, and is “in love” with one of her foster brothers. Unless you watch the show, how could you know such personal details? Is it visible? Can you just “sense” it, whatever that means? No? Ok.

You can read more here, and check The Fosters out on the ABC Family Channel. It airs Monday nights, 9/8c.

LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Unless you read publications that are LGBTI oriented you are not going to get all the news about what’s happening in Russia during the Olympics. On Friday, more than a dozen LGBTI activists were arrested in Red Square and why they were arrested is sketchy at best.

Police arrested 10 activists near Moscow’s Red Square who held rainbow flags as they sung the Russian national anthem just before the games opened. Authorities have released the advocates, but reports indicate police beat and threatened to sexually assault them while they were in custody.

I’ve read various comments about them being arrested because they didn’t have permission to protest. But even if that is the case an arrest is something completely different from sexual assault and beatings.

Unfortunately, it might take months to find out what really happened. And that will be long after everyone has forgotten about how “exciting” and “heartwarming” the Olympic games actually are.

You can read more here.

Rimming Sparks Infection; Hugh C. Howey and Influencers; Ellen’s New Comedy

Rimming Sparks Infection

The title of this part of the post is meant to be serious. According to this article there’s been an outbreak of Shigella in the UK and they seem to be linking it back to rimming…oral/anal sex. Among the symptoms, this infection makes people feel as if they are dying. I have only one comment below.

Normally, Shigella is only contracted when travelling to foreign countries. But in gay and bisexual men, it is being spread through oral contact with feces or via unwashed hands.

In 2009, there were only 43 cases among men in the UK that did not have a link to travel. Just four years later, reports have surged to 224 cases with more cases expected.

You can read more here.

I guess they have studies, or something concrete that links back to this data because anal/oral sex is NOT exclusive to the gay community as far as I know. So I’m guessing hetero couples can’t get it? Or are somehow immune to getting it?


Hugh C. Howey and Influencers

I posted about a blog a while back called ZonAlert that was specifically designed to discuss authors, fake reviews, and other questionable things that allegedly happen these days with book promotion. I’m not going to comment on this one way or the other. I’m only posting the information for those who might be interested, and I’m linking back to the source.

The most recent post about Hugh C. Howey even mentions influencers.

The Hugh Howey influencer scam works like this. Hugh Howey provides incentives for friends, family, and associates to promote Hugh Howey. Cash mostly but also mentions in his blog, write ins for discussion groups, promises to recommend to his publisher and agent, and on and on. The job of the influencers is not to talk about Hugh Howey but to get other people talking about and mentioning Hugh Howey.

For those who don’t know what influencers are, you can read more here.

You can read about Hugh C. Howey here.

Ellen’s New Comedy

Ellen DeGeneres is producing a new sitcom and it will be interesting to see if it takes off. Most of TV has abandoned the sitcom, and I’ve always thought that was a shame because it’s not the sitcom that’s the problem it’s the people producing the sitcoms.

The comedy is about a lesbian and her straight male best friend who decide to have a baby together. But things get a bit complicated when during this process, one of them meets the love of their life.

I’m not too sure about that description. But then again, any trope works as long as it’s done well.

I think that if anyone can bring back the sitcom it’s going to be Ellen. It’s always been a TV staple, and an excellent genre if done well. Think Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, or even The Raymond Show. I find myself watching old reruns of these shows now over new shows on TV and I often wonder what’s wrong with that.

You can read more here.