The long awaited big, or medium screen adaptation of a favorite book arrives and as you cuddle into your couch, hugging your favorite pillow and press play your anxious energy swings between fear of what they changed and hoping it will be good. Just good. After decades of adaptations I think we have all come to terms that nine times out of ten, the book is always better than the movie, tv show or limited series. Yet, we still hold so much hope for each new adaptation because we love seeing our favorite stories, characters and plots come to life before us and we know, it has been done well before, so we cross our fingers, hold our breath and hope this one will be one of the good ones.
This summer AppleTV came out with its new show “Silo” which is an adaptation of Hugh Howey’s “Silo” trilogy which begins with the book “Wool.” According to my Goodreads, I first read “Wool” in 2013 and finished it in less than a week. I fell in love with this book immediately. Originally a serial publication, “Wool” was one of the first female protagonist science fiction novels I read that truly connected with me. Juliette was a character I longed to be and who lived with gumption and a will of iron that believed in her value even when others didn’t (or at least that’s how I read her). She was a deeply flawed human who rose to an occasion with the people who loved her to change a world that felt unchangeable. It really isn’t a mystery once I type it out why she and this book resonated so deeply.
As of Summer 2023, I had read it at least three times and given it as a gift to numerous relatives who do, or don’t enjoy science fiction. Importantly my brother-in-law, Haddi’s partner, who also loves the story Howey wove together and so was sure to tell me that AppleTV was coming out with a series this series, based on the full “Silo Trilogy.”
So come May 5th, or close there after, I snuggled up on my couch alongside my partner and and by pressing play indulged in this latest science fiction adaptation. The series ended as of June 30th and we were committed viewers. Leonel (my partner) hadn’t actually read “Wool” so he was more committed than I was to figure what would happen next and how the Silo itself was put together and the answer to the mystery. I on the other hand was a more reluctant viewer. I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help compare to the book and particularly to my feelings about the book and some of the changes, that were absolutely necessary for the form, made me sign in that bittersweet way they do when you engage a new form of a favorite story.
Adaptations are so hard and honestly, I have to recommend Silo even though I was left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth because the acting is spectacular, the nuances of the mystery and world itself are so intriguing I think people, science fiction lovers or not, would find themselves within the story that asks poignant questions about life, love and what it means to be human in community. If you haven’t read the book(s) yet, I always recommend watching the film/show first as it has been my experience i can then appreciate both for what they are, but if you have read the book:
- If you didn’t like the book, you might find the show to be a bit more up your alley. The changes allow for a different lens into the Silo’s social political world than the book
- If you did like the book, just the normal word of caution. This is different, but if you can suspend your expectations and take it for the story it is, you will find it entertaining and thought provoking.
I haven’t actually finished the trilogy, though I did read “Shift” a while back and though I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it enough to pick up “Dust.” Now I have and hope to read the trilogy in its entirety by the end of the year.
Books and their screen adaptations are an interesting conversation, some have gone well, some are just okay and a great many have gone terribly terribly wrong. I would love to hear about adaptations you love or hate and maybe let’s get a list together as a community.
Happy Reading and Watching!