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I read the two first Silo books (Wool and Origins) and at this point, I may have missed some explanations because I didn't understantd all hints.

At some point, Donald realizes Silos probably won't survive this Experiment, even the Silo number One. I remember they talked about a Silo ranking, like a list. Do we have to understand that only one Silo will survive ? The best humans winning this competition will have the right to go out and rebuilt humanity ?

I haven't read the last one (Dust) so please, do not spoil it.

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  • @Adamant Why did you remove the hugh-howey tag ? All other question about this books have it.
    – Bebs V
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:20
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    You can put it back if you like. I suspect that those other questions are old and were not posted under our current author tag policy, which encourages the use of author tags only for general questions about an author themself, or their work independent of a given series or franchise.
    – Adamant
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:22
  • So...you want answers without spoilers. Got it.
    – Broklynite
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:45

2 Answers 2

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The implication seems to be that by creating a set textbook for personal conduct (the Pact) and set guidelines for the operation of a society (The Order), the creators of the fifty silos will be able to build a society of sharing and caring humans who don't make the same mistakes they themselves made.

Why were there 50 silos?

Because the creators anticipated a high failure rate

Are the silos competing with each other?

Not directly, and in some cases they seem to be linked to common resources such as power supplies

What's the end-game here?

“They didn’t give us a chance. That’s not what this is.” He [Bernard] waved at the room around him. “These are prisons. Cages, not homes. Not meant to protect us, but meant to force us, by pain of death, to bring about their vision.”
 
“Their vision for what?” [said Luke]
 
“For a world where we’re too much the same, where we’re too tightly invested in each other to waste our time fighting, to waste our resources guarding those same limited resources.” He lifted his mug and took a noisy sip. “That’s my theory, at least. From decades of reading. The people who did this, they were in charge of a powerful country that was beginning to crumble. They could see the end, their end, and it scared them suicidal. As the time began to run out—over decades keep in mind—they figured they had one chance to preserve themselves, to preserve what they saw as their way of life. And so, before they lost the only opportunity they might ever have, they put a plan into motion.”

Wool Omnibus: Chapter 18

The principle seems to be that once sufficient time has passed, the silo dwellers (however many are left, any however many silos are left) will eventually emerge into a new world, where their psychology has been completely reshaped by their experiences in the silo, in a world where those who're selfish, aggressive and uncooperative have been weeded out of the general population and where their racial, religious and social homogeneity is sufficient to prevent the old religion-based, nation-based, society-based wars from flaring up.

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Yes, it is explained that the goal of the silos is to let only one group of human survive, all humans having the exact same culture. So, only one silo is the "best" solution.

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  • Mind you, not that the folks in the silos are aware of this competition. And as memory serves, only a few people (and Donald figures this out in Origins I believe) in Silo 1 realize that they won't be among the survivors but instead will be destroyed along with the others. For reasons.
    – Broklynite
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:49
  • Thanks it was not clear for me, at this point, what is supposed to be known...
    – Bebs V
    Nov 8, 2016 at 10:15

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