For anyone that has had the delight of reading the Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey, you are in for a real treat here.
Sand is based in the future, where, God only knows what’s happened to the World but it’s covered in sand and the remaining people are struggling to survive on short supplies of water and scavenged resources from the previous civilisation.
Howey quickly invents an alternative future after what we can only assume was some sort of post-apocalyptic disaster (maybe it’s 50 years following the Wool Trilogy) although we never find out what happened. But, that’s probably a good thing, rather than looking to the past Howey has forged ahead with creating a new society with new customs and cultural norms. It’s a really easy read and one of the most page-turning books I’ve read in a while. I’d forgotten how much I liked Howey’s style and I’m going to go back and read the Wool trilogy again (and write a review of it).
Sand follows the story of a family, most of whom are sand divers scavenging the remnants of past civilisations, the mother of the family owns and runs the local bar (of ill repute) and the father ran off for greener pastures. This is intertwined with the desperate battle of never-ending winds blowing sand that buries everything, neighbour settlements attacking each other and a nuclear wielding despot bent on destroying everyone.
Whilst the story is based in and around Colorado I cannot help thinking there is some level of comparison to war/military action that has been going on in the Middle East for years (which, in my opinion is all about mad men fighting over oil & religion). I also like the way place names have changed but still remain similar – – Howey renames Pueblo, CO to Low-Pub, Colorado Springs, CO to Springston & Denver, CO to Danver another great trick that Howey uses to mark the passing of time and changes in society. He did the same thing in the Wool series.
The story eludes to destructive acts of mining that may be causing the eternal winds and burying of Low-Pub & Springston in Sand. For me, this is Howey commenting on the destructive nature of humans and how we are destroying the planet. For me, Howey has definitely taken inspiration from Alas Babylon (1959 by Pat Frank) one of the first ever post-apocalyptic books of the nuclear age and deals with the effects of a nuclear war on the fictional small town of Fort Repose, Florida.
On a side note, this is an awesome read and for anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories this should definitely be on your to-read-list this year. (I’ll write a review later). You can see direct comparison with both – society as we know it being destroyed and how people survive.
In conclusion Sand is a great read, a story of a family coming together in an attempt to survive in a dying World that has no future other than pain, horror and eventually dying of thirst. In the burgeoning World of Zombie-Vampire-‘Poclypse this is a brilliant book. I would have liked a little bit of information about how the weather has so drastically changed so for this reason I am giving Sand by Hugh Howey a 9 out of 10 planets.
John The Captain Ryan