‘Silo’ Book Differences & Major Changes From ‘Wool,’ Explained


Apple has done a commendable job adapting some of the best books out there. I have been quite a fan of their on-screen adaptation of The Foundation, Pachinko, and the latest on the list is Silo. While going through the Q & A section of the Wool, I came across this funny question where a reader asked Hugh Howey why his books are so inexpensive. And he modestly answered that he is nobody, and thus, for writers like him, it is hard to earn enough from their material even if their art is awesome. And I think Apple did a great job by giving Hugh Howey the recognition he deserves, especially for Silo. I would love it if more readers bought his book. As per Hugh’s request from the Q&A, don’t forget to rate it on Amazon.

Coming back to the on-screen adaptation of Silo, creator Graham Yost has mostly stayed loyal to the text. The changes that he had made were only to add a sense of thrill and dramatic effect to the original material. Here, we will try to discuss the major differences between the source material (Wool) and its TV adaptation, as well as what effect they had on the overall series.

Book Spoilers Alert

Bernard Holland And His Intentions

In the show, Bernard is portrayed as a mysterious personality who weighs each word before blurting it out. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the head of IT is a calculative man who can predict the outcome of each and every action. However, in the book, Bernard doesn’t hide his intentions. He comes out as a cunning and ambitious man who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to maintain the law and continuity inside the Silo.

After Mayor Jahns’ death, Bernard prepares to become the next Mayor. When Juliette reminds him that the Pact doesn’t allow such prospects, Bernard doesn’t hold back and tells her that he is ready to change the Pact. Later in the book, Bernard makes Lukas his shadow and reveals to him that he is the one who knows the legacy and the secrets of Silo, which obviously means that he is the most powerful person there. He doesn’t shy away from telling Lukas that he had eliminated some fourteen threats in the current year that were crucial for the protection of the Silo. In the series, Bernard comes off as a more reasonable person, and maybe the change in his character arc is for the better. He is not shown as evil but as a gray antagonist, and that makes all the difference.

George Wilkins And His Death

In the beginning, Juliette meets Sheriff Holston for the first time when he comes down to the Mechanical to investigate a death, though the book mentions it as “Rick’s death.” In this segment, the creators of the show have added more stories to their investigation as Juliette, Holston, and Marnes work together to solve the mystery surrounding Wilkins’ death. Additionally, the book mentions the romance between Wilkins and Juliette, but the exploration doesn’t go deeper than the surface. The show does a much better job with all those flashbacks of fleshing out the feelings between the two. Also, Wilkins’ obsession with the relics hasn’t been mentioned in the book, and he never meets Allison Becker.

In the book, Allison developed a software through which she found a deleted program that was used to create an artificial image of the real world, while in the series, it is shown quite visually through a clip hidden inside a hard disk. It won’t be wrong to say that the show has done a decent job of linking the important characters and giving them much more depth through these connections. Speaking of relics, the book doesn’t delve much into that segment either, while the Apple series has spent some 2-3 episodes on that topic.

Last but not least, in the show, Wilkins kills himself to avoid arrest and subsequent interrogation. The book maintains the mystery surrounding his murder. However, in the end, Bernard does suggest that he got him killed. Wilkins wanted to expand Silo downward, which was prohibited in the Pact, and Bernard didn’t have any tolerance for such ideas or people.

Lenses And Recording Devices

In the show, lenses above a certain magnification are prohibited by the Pact; however, the book doesn’t mention any such rules and regulations. Additionally, there are no surveillance cameras behind the mirrors or near the corridors, thus keeping the narrative pretty straightforward. The show, on the other hand, masterfully incorporates these elements to add more thrill to the narrative. The entire sequence of Juliette cracking Holston’s cryptic note added much-needed drama to keep people on the edge of their seats. We believe that in Season 2 as well, the makers are going to surprise us with such amazing additions.

Robert Sims 

In the book, Sims is the head of IT security and once used to work in tech. There is no mention of him being a part of the judiciary; however, throughout the runtime, he stays loyal to Bernard. Also, in the books, Sims is quite bulky, which makes him best suited for jobs requiring strength, which explains his transfer from tech to security. In the show, Sims is shown as a person who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, which gives Bernard the advantage of orchestrating everything from the shadows, thereby concealing his true intentions. Perhaps in the next season of Silo, Bernard will make Sims his successor, the role that he had given to Lukas in the book.

Walker Is A Man

In the books, Walker is a man who spends most of his time in his little workshop in the Mechanical, while in the series, the gender has been swapped, and we believe it is for the best. Juliette lost her mother at a very young age, and Walker (in the show) fills that gap quite perfectly, so the dynamics work better than they do in the book.

The Romance Between Juliette And Lukas

In the book, Lukas is much more vocal about his feelings for Juliette and, therefore, feels completely shattered when she is sent for cleaning. However, they keep their romance alive, and Bernard never gets wind of it—not until the end of the book, after which he finally banishes Lukas from Silo. In the show, Lukas has feelings for Juliette, but when Bernard finds out about them, Lukas spills the beans to save his own soul. In the series so far, he doesn’t seem like a sound lover. Also, Bernard decides to send Lukas to lower levels of the Silo for associating with a traitor and concealing information regarding a red-level relic. We can speculate that their love story will grow in the upcoming seasons of Silo, and Lukas will realize his mistake for trusting Bernard, and together, they will take the evil down.

Mystery Around Visors And Cleaning Suits

In the Apple series, the mystery around dysfunctional cleaning suits and computer-generated videos in the Visor is maintained till the end of the series, with the protagonist finally finding out the truth at the end of Silo Season 1. However, in the book, the big revelation comes much earlier and more clearly as Juliette’s friend, Scottie, tells her about the program used to create fake images of the outside world to trick people. He also told Juliette about the heat tape that was engineered to fail, and Juliette revealed the same information to Walker, and that’s how he connected the dots. In the end, Walker used his connection in the supply department to send better-quality “wool” to be used in Juliette’s cleaning suit, and that’s how he saved her life. The cryptic note that Walker sends to Juliette while she is in the cell remains somewhat the same.

Most of the major changes that have been incorporated into the show work perfectly well for the world of Silo. We are hopeful that the creators of the show will put more creative input into the upcoming seasons to add extra depth to the characters and elevate the drama. Season 2 is already on its way, and we hope it arrives on our screens soon enough.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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