When I started getting serious about writing a story in the Silo Saga for Kindle Worlds, I thought about other writers who might be good candidates to try to rope into this fiasco with me. My idea was not that we should write a story together, but rather that we might craft our tales in such a way that they referenced each other subtly. I loved the idea that it might be possible for an eagle-eyed reader to spot the places where we overlapped. After giving it some thought, I settled on approaching my old friend Boris Schleinkofer with the idea. He had never read Hugh Howey’s books, but we remedied that quickly and before long he was in.
I met Boris in middle school and we went to the same church together for a while. It was a Pentecostal church, the kind of place attended by people who would at times be referred to as holy rollers. Speaking in tongues was a regular thing to witness at the services Boris and I would sit through, both of us required to do so by our parents. I remember one particular service distinctly. A specialist in backwards satanic messages in rock music gave a presentation where he played various famous songs backwards and explained that what were hearing were messages praising the devil. He played Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” forwards and backwards and explained that the lyrics to the song held satanic messaging both ways, then went on to tell a story about Robert Plant being dictated how to do this by Satan himself through a fireplace. Afterwards I remember Boris being so bummed because his mom was at that service and he thought she was going to bring the hammer down on him as an enjoyer of rock music. I understood; I was in a similar boat with my parents.
A handful of years later I released a song from Boris’s punk band on a compilation I released through my record label, so I guess we found our way to rock music despite the best efforts of the church.
Anyway, back to the books.
A while after we got into the process of writing our silo stories, Boris let me know that he didn’t think we’d be able to have much in the way of overlap. He’d read the first draft of mine and said his plans would take the story in a direction where our characters wouldn’t be able to interact. Now that I have read his story, I understand completely. My book takes place firmly within the confines of the world of a silo as described in the original WOOL novella where characters are unaware of the reason for their lives and surroundings. Boris’s book, S1L0, is much larger in scope. It spans the timeframe from before the creation of the silos to well past their end. If my story is a slice of life in the silo saga, the tale Boris has crafted is a wickedly sharp cleaver smashing down upon the mythology from unexpected angles. I’ve read it twice already and enjoyed it even more the second time through. I will read it again.
I would recommend checking out both of our Silo Saga novellas if only to make up your own mind about them:
S1L0 by Boris D. Schleinkofer
SHADOW KILLER by David R. Larson
I can promise there are no secret backwards messages in mine.