Book Review: Short Stories by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read three of his series – The Silo Saga (Wool, Shift and Dust), Sand, and Beacon 23. There are other series he has written, but I’ve been having a hard time getting around to reading them. As a substitute while I clear some other books from my reading list, I decided to insert a few of Howey’s short stories to hold me over until I get around to another one of his long-form series. Here’s my quick take on Glitch, Promises of London, The Box, and The Plagiarist.

Before jumping into the reviews, a couple of notes:

  • I read these books in the order listed above. I’m going to review them starting with my favrorite. Having said that, I liked all of them, so this is a bit of a splitting hairs exercise.
  • These are truly short stories. As an Amazon Prime member, I was able to borrow them through the Kindle lending library for free. However, at $0.99 each, they won’t break the bank if you buy them. Just don’t expect them to take longer than about 20 minutes or so to read. They are truly short stories.
  • Since these are short stories, I’m not going to consider them for my Must Read category. While I might not consider these Must Reads, I would still strongly recommend you pick these up as light entertainment reading.

The Plagiarist

The Plagiarist by Hugh Howey
This is classic Hugh Howey. It’s a science fiction story centered around one person’s experience in the realm of virtual worlds. With just a few pages, Howey sucks you into the story, and then he hits you with the plot twist that leaves you hanging. Some may complain about the ending, but I see it as a classic short story where the ending is left to your imagination.


Promises of London

Promises of London by Hugh Howey
Unlike the Howey stories I’m familiar with that are rooted heavily in science fiction, Promises of London is a different animal. It’s more of a character study. However, like Howey’s other works, he does a great job of emotionally connecting you to the main character. In fact, I found the ending to be especially powerful, which surprised me for such a short story.


The Box

The Box by Hugh Howey
I like how Howey explores the relationship between the two main characters in this story. The back-and-forth dialog in the story is very compelling. There were also two themes that stood out to me. One was around the roles fear and desperation play in determining what we want out of life. The second was to be careful what we wish for.


Glitch

Glitch by Hugh Howey
Even though it’s at the bottom of the list, I still thoroughly enjoyed Glitch. It’s an entertaining read with a nice cliff hanger ending that will leave you wanting for more. As I mentioned above, it’s exactly what you would expect from a good short story.


Even in the short story format, Hugh Howey is an incredible story teller. If you aren’t familiar with his works, these are a great way to get exposed to his genius. They are fun, quick, short reads that you can easily polish off in one sitting. From there, you can dive into his longer works, including any I mentioned in the introduction, all of which I would highly recommend.

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