In today’s book publishing world, sex sells, but so do dystopias. Hugh Howey, an author with Charleston connections who wrote the sci-fi smash hit Wool, found that out after self-publishing a novella online in July 2011. Fans devoured it and begged for more, and the result is a full-length novel scheduled for a hardcover release by Simon & Schuster on March 12 this year.

Howey, who studied at the College of Charleston in the early 2000s, will make a stop on his book tour at the West Ashley Barnes & Noble (1812 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.) on Mon. March 25 at 7 p.m. The electronic version of Wool landed Howey on the New York Times e-book bestseller list last summer, so expect a big crowd at the bookstore.

Much of the media attention on Howey has focused on his success story, which parallels that of Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James: A writer takes the self-publishing route and builds a rabid following, and then the book publishing industry comes a-knocking.

The Slate Book Review gave it a write-up last weekend that makes it sound like a modern masterpiece. Critic Tammy Oler dissects the plot and finds a striking metaphor in the novel’s setting, an underground silo where man has been forced to live after the surface of Earth was rendered uninhabitable. “Being in the silo is like living in a world where the decisions were made a long time ago by people you didn’t vote for,” Oler writes. “Sound familiar?”