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shift-by-hugh-howeyName: Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga)

Author: Hugh Howey

Genre : Post-apocalyptic

Pages : 608

Publication Year: January 27, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)


You can find the review of ‘Wool’  – here.

Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga) is prequel to best-selling post-apocalyptic ‘Wool’ series by Hugh Howey. Before starting with the review for Shift (1-3), let me tell you, I liked all the ‘Wool’ books very much and gave them very high rating – Reason being ‘the whole Wool series was very innovative and story and settings were very unique and interesting’.

In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate.

In the same year, the CBS network re-aired a program about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event.

At almost the same moment in humanity’s broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall. And the ability to forget it ever happened.

Now coming to ‘Shift’ – the book is divided into three parts namely:
1. First Shift – The Legacy
2. Second Shift – The Order
3. Third Shift – The Pact

Each book tells a story which will eventually be linked to the events happened in ‘Wool’ series. The book one, i.e., First Shift is mainly focused on how and why the silo’s built and reason behind the man made apocalypse. Two stories run parallel in book one – first one in mid 21st century where it is focused on building of ‘silos’ and second one in ’22nd century inside silo one – where a guy named ‘Troy’ is taking controller of Silo 1 who is woken up from deep freeze after 50+ years and Silo 1 controls all the silos’.

Now coming to problems with story – I ask where is innovations? Didn’t Hugh Howey saw the movie ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’? If yes – he should have known that the concept of ‘Nano machines’ destroying the world and humans was already being told in this movie. Though the only difference between book and the movie is –  in movie the ‘Nano Machines’ where bought from aliens to earth and whereas in ‘First Shift’ – Israel built it first then Iranians copied it and made it more ‘DNA’ centric – means it will attack only on certain DNA types (like ‘Jews’ etc) and left them lose on Americans. Some guys in US government found out about this (like they found nano machines in almost everyone’s blood in US) and developed cure also but instead of curing the people – they built 50 Silo’s for each state of US and nuked whole world – where’s is the logic? If you have the cure then why nuke everyone?

And ‘Second Shift’ and ‘Third Shift’ – similarly deviled into two different story line: in both the story one story line is focused on ‘Silo 1’ and second story line revolves around ‘Silo 17’ and ‘Silo 18’. I found the story of ‘Solo’ in Silo 17 is totally unnecessary and pretty boring. By the end – we come to know that the world outside is green and habitable – when our main protagonist ‘Donald’ fires a drone to check world outside – and it is finally revealed that the ‘Nano Dust’ is surrounding the only limited area (i.e., the area surrounding fifty silos) behind that the world is green and habitable. I ask ‘What the hell – they were doing in Silo for almost three centuries?’, ‘Why didn’t they checked before – whether the world is habitable outside the surrounding area of Silo?’, ‘Are they so dumb?’.

All three books in Shift didn’t add much to the ‘Wool’ events – most of the things you already know from Wool. All three novels are pointless and you can avoid them – they are not going to add much to the ‘Wool’ series. The idea/plot of all three books doesn’t’ make any sense and the book itself is too big and boring. The story which is set in 2049, but it feels like 2000 because the technology, specially touch screen computers are non-existing and no one is using ‘Twitter or Facebook’ or any amazing replacement – the social media is dead in 2049 as per Hugh Howey. The only things which makes it 2049 is Nano machines.

Even the ‘technology/challenges’ faced in building Silos and the working Silos didn’t actually explained in all three novels? Where is the part which explains – how the oxygen supply is provided to 150 storey building? How electricity is generated underground? How water is being provided? And the logic explained for cleaning doesn’t’ make sense at all!

Overall – Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga) is pretty boring and repetitive narration of rebellion sequence of ‘Wool’ makes it even boring. No innovative story line even the Nano Machines part seems like taken from movie ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

So, My verdict is you can avoid it.


In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles – micro-robots – has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.
Every attempt to destroy it has failed.
And we are the prey.

As fresh as today’s headlines, Michael Crichton’s most compelling novel yet tells the story of a mechanical plague and the desperate efforts of a handful of scientists to stop it. Drawing on up-to-the-minute scientific fact, Prey takes us into the emerging realms of nanotechnology and artificial distributed intelligence in a story of breathtaking suspense. Prey is a novel you can’t put down.

Because time is running out

The novel is narrated by Jack Forman, who lost his job six month back. He is a Software Engineer was working at MediaTronics,heading a program division writing distributed processing software or agent based software, He is fired for attempting to expose an internal scandal in his company.
He became a househusband, while his wife Julia is a vice-president of Xymos, a company specializing in high technology research, takes control of house.
So far the relationship between Julia and Jack and Children were good, but suddenly Julia starts to behave weird, and her action becomes unpredictable, she starts to come very late, and even some time she doesn’t come to home. One day in a car accident Julia injures, she refuses to take MRI. Jack receives a call from his Ex-Employer, The program he wrote “PREDATOR-PREY” Agent Based Program, where multiple agents work together to accomplish a common goal, they sold it to Xymos is behaving weird, and they need his help to fix it.

He accept offer not only because he is unemployed but also he wanted to find what his wife doing there at Xymos, He travels to Nevada desert center and what he finds there is beyond the night mares, a worst fear, where the nanobots designed to take picture by forming themselves as an human eye, each nanobot is very very small, which not visible to human eye, these nanobots are programmed using Agent-Based Program. This experiment has gone horribly wrong A cloud of nano-particles – micro-robots – has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. Can Jack Succeed to stop them ?

Michael Crichton is known as the Father of Techno-Thriller Novels,this book has written very cleverly, with lots of references at the end, so that one can read further about the topic. Michael Crichton has done plenty of research for writing this on nanotechnology and biotechnology. In summary a must read.

I give it : 4.5/5.

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