This is the first "story" in the Wool Omnibus series that took the world by storm in 2011. At 49 pages long, the tale can be read in a single sitting, and more than likely you will do just that, because you will find yourself immediately getting sucked into this one from the first paragraph.
In this post apocalyptic world, a remnant of mankind lives in a giant circular silo. (It is never mentioned whether this is an old nuclear missile silo or not, but having spent too many hours watching the television show "Doomsday Preppers" that is how I envisioned this sanctuary.) No one is allowed outside. That is because outside lies quick death by toxic air.
Hidden in their small silo, the only view of the outside that these survivors are allowed is a large tv screen fed from several cameras outside. The only problem is that every so often the cameras need to be cleaned. But since no one can go outside and live, it presents somewhat of a dilemma until they come up with a novel solution: send condemned criminals outside to clean the cameras.
And Sheriff Holston never questioned this at all until . . . the day his precious wife Allison was sent outside. Ever since, he has wondered if she is really dead? Some part of him longing to believe the outside world is not devastated but habitable. The story of its toxicity just a falsehood to keep them entombed in their concrete and steel coffins. But the only way to be sure is to do the unthinkable: follow her outside!
This was one of those stories that lived up to its hype. Hugh Howey penned a clever, inventive story that took a standard post apocalyptic idea and turned it on its head. And I personally loved every minute of it and am looking forward to reading the omnibus soon to see how he can top this little jewel of a tale.