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Previewing Summer 2013 Pajiba Book Club Selection: Shift by Hugh Howey

By lgesin | Book Reviews | July 9, 2013 | Comments ()


shiftcover.jpg

Pajiba and Cannonball Read V bring you the Summer 2013 Book Club. You don’t have to post a review, be signed up for Cannonball Read, or even know what a Cannonball Read is. Just read Shift by Hugh Howey and come back to Pajiba on Wednesday, August 7 to join in on the fun. Our moderator, lgesin, gives you a preview of the novel below. —mswas
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I’m obsessed with what happens after the world ends and suspect that computers will play a large part in the world’s destruction. The fact that I spend a significant amount of every day working on a computer is partially to blame, along with growing up in the chill of the Cold War. If it’s not computers that get us, there’s always science. Nothing good ever comes of messing with Mother Nature.

When not worrying about the pending apocalypse (or this year’s hurricane), I’m a high school teacher. I recently taught a course on eBook creation and publishing. While researching authors who found success publishing on platforms like the Kindle, I stumbled across Hugh Howey and the world of the silo. Howey’s book Wool, reviewed earlier this year for Cannonball Read V, began as a number of eBook novellas then was published this past March in a paperback “omnibus” format.

Soon after grabbing a copy at the local Barnes & Nobel, I discovered Howey continued his story with a “prequel” entitled Shift, also initially released in multiple eBook volumes. I ordered my copy through CreateSpace as much to test that service as to give as much of my hard earned cash to the author. I wanted to continue to experience the world of the silo so much, I actually tracked my copy online and waited at the door for my UPS guy to deliver the book.

I finished all 600 pages by Sunday night. I didn’t touch my computer all weekend.

I don’t believe you need to read Wool before you pick up Shift; think of this prequel like the second Star Wars trilogy. (Is that really a selling point? —mswas) If you’re my age, you saw the originals first, then got the back story, but my kids watched those movies in chronological order and enjoyed all 6 movies just as much as I did. A good story can be enjoyed in just about any order of telling.

Shift begins about 40 years into the future when nanotechnology makes 60 the new 20 and a nifty new drug called propranolol makes Prozac feel like baby aspirin. The US is still waging war using sophisticated drones, and Iran still lusts after nuclear warheads. Anyone who’s watched Terminator 2 knows where this is headed; but what if we go proactive? What if we destroy ourselves before our enemies and technology get a chance to destroy us?

Shift follows one man through a number of incarnations, first in Washington D.C. and Georgia in the near future then through a series of “shifts” or work details in Silo #1. Through Donald’s story we learn how the silos came to be, what happened to Silo #17, how a boy named Jimmy became a man named Solo, and just why everyone’s so upset that Juliette walked over that hill at the end of Wool.

The release date for Dust, the third and final installment in the Silo Saga, is August 17th, so an online book discussion of Shift (and I’m sure by association Wool) in early August sounds perfect to me. What about you? Care to dive into the world of the silos this summer, see what’s possible in a post-apocalyptic world, and discover where technology and science may lead us in the future?

I’ll leave you to ponder this proposition with a promise made by the most famous fictional machine, the T-101: “I’ll be back” … on Wednesday, August 7th to read what you think of Hugh Howey’s Shift.

Reviews and writings from our moderator, lgesin, can be found on her blog, voxpopnj.com.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate linksin this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • XxPerksxX

    Sounds fantastic. I can't wait to check it out!

  • jennp421

    I'm so excited about this!

  • Kipiture

    I'm a pharmacist, and the fact that propranolol is a drug that exists right now, is not at all new, and as far as I know doesn't make people feel much different (unless dizzy counts), I am officially intrigued enough to read this.

  • Melissa Doucette

    I really liked this book - as much as I liked Wool, I'd have to say. I'd agree with you, you really don't need to read them in order. I'm also intrigued by Howey's agreeability to letting others write in his world. Like he said, there are many other silos, each with their own story.

  • Eva

    Yay! I loved Wool and just ordered Shift two seconds ago thanks to this. Woohoo!!

  • Puddin

    Yay!!!! I'm on medical leave and cant do ANYTHING. Except read this book and be the obnoxious chatty Cathy at book club. Bring your A-game, bitches!

  • Carrie/Teabelly

    I loved Wool but haven't read this one yet. I think I'll have to soon.

  • Jerce

    You have definitely piqued my interest.

  • Oh hot damn, I am reading this.

  • LurkeyTurkey

    Yes! I loved Wool and I will be reading this as well. Hooray for pre and post-apocalyptic literature and the role computers play in them. (Says the IT consultant. Eff.)

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