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The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency, 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 2018
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Praise for The Collapsing Empire
"Provocative and unexpected." ―The Wall Street Journal
"Scalzi has constructed a thrilling novel so in tune with the flow of politics that it would feel relevant at almost any time." ―Entertainment Weekly, Grade B+
"Scalzi builds a fascinating new interstellar civilization in order to destroy it....[The Collapsing Empireis] amusing escapism full of guts and brains." ―Ars Technica
"Scalzi mixes science, history, and politics with sharp action and intriguing characters. Readers will be thrilled to take another wild ride across the universe with the author of the “Old Man’s War” series." ―Library Journal, starred review
"Fans of Game of Thrones and Dune will enjoy this bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure" ―Booklist
"Scalzi continues to be almost insufferably good at his brand of fun but think-y sci-fi adventure." ―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for John Scalzi
“As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Cannell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty–most of them in someone else’s body.” ―USA Today on Lock In
"If anyone stands at the core of the American science fiction tradition at the moment, it is Scalzi." ―The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition
“Plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable world-building, and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics. . . . Yet more evidence that Scalzi is a master at creating appealing commercial fiction.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Lock In
About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Science Fiction (January 2, 2018)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765388901
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765388902
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.71 x 0.96 x 7.94 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The “Collapsing Empire” is very much un-collapsed at the end of this book. Unlike the Old Man’s series in which each book is a self-contained story, The Collapsing Empire is clearly the first book in a series yet to come. It is the Introduction. It should have come with a subtitle: PART 1, or PRELUDE
It is also 99.9% political drama. The empire, trade houses, politicians, all arguing predictably for their self-interest.
Plot was starting to set up with the old man dying and daughter not prepared to become ruler, but turned off by the distractions already mentioned.
Waste of my time and money. Disappointed Amazon recommended this turkey, but I'd bet they want to promote with sequel coming out soon.
I enjoyed this book and will buy the sequel when it emerges. Scalzi has a light, inventive touch. This is not his best work however--I miss the crazy inventiveness of his alien species not present in this book. For those of you who prefer hard science fiction, you should stay away since it is not clear that the science makes sense. There is also no deep or complex character development although the characters are mildly interesting and sympathetic.
If you are new to Scalzi, I would suggest that you buy instead his fabulous book "Old man's war". If you are already a Scalzi fan, this book is entertaining and fine, although not as good as many of his other works. It is worth reading however.
Cardenia is one of the viewpoint characters. She is going to be the next Emperox despite the fact that she is the product of a liaison between the current Emperox and her mother. She was raised mostly outside the center of imperial politics. When her older half brother dies, she becomes the heir - like it or not. Now her father is dying and she is getting ready for a job she hasn't been trained for.
Lady Kiva is another viewpoint character. She is a member of one of the merchant families and is very interested in profit for her family. She is also foul-mouthed and tricky. She meets an old rival on End who manages to totally disrupt her plans.
Also on End is Lord Marce whose father has been doing some research on The Flow at the request of the Emperox for more than thirty years. Both Marce and his father are physicists who study The Flow. When they come to an understanding of what is happening to The Flow, Marce has to get to the Emperox to share his findings.
But End is experiencing one of its periodic revolutions - this time orchestrated in part by Lord Ghreni Nohamapetan whose family has plans for End - and they don't want Marce's information going anywhere.
This was an engaging story. I liked the characters and the political intrigue. The dialog was crisp. The worldbuilding was well done. The story was fast-paced. Being the first book in a series, the big problem - the collapse of The Flow - wasn't resolved. There was resolution to the plot which encompassed the Hohamapetan family's attempt to exploit the situation.
I look forward to reading more in this world.
Top reviews from other countries
a whole new concept of realism in sci fi, what if space travel took ages between planets?, theres no warp drive, faster than light drive. What if the only way to even travel between far distance planets was to piggy back into a space flow which were "one way streets" and you needed a flow in either direction to 'go and come back'? Then what if these flows have existed for thousands of years and you base your whole empire and the future of humanity and your economy on this space travel and then find that these flows might not be as stable as you think? Thats the under laying concept of this book about battling companies wanting to feed their profits and wanting to control the whole of humanity. I have become a fan of Scalzi since Covid 19 created Lockdown and I have read a lot of his books in the last four months, I'm married to author Jean Fullerton and I know how hard she works on plots, research, characterisation and 'story lines', basically she says its an 8 hour a day job, so I get to see her when she 'clocks off'. Mr Scalzi judging from your output and the quality of your books and plots I dont think you can ever leave your desk: you must live the life of a hermit because your head must be so full of stories; you have written such a variety of works so your family can't ever see you because you must always be writing the next one. But thankyou to your family and to you because I have really enjoyed every thing youve written, and i still have many more to read. Its hard to find a new author who can deliver 'the goods' Scalzi is my go to guy for a damn good read; I recommend this author to all sci fi fans.
A solid SF premise, the concept of a gravitational 'Flow' system allowing for long distance space travel, in addition to providing an ongoing backbone for communication & trade between populated worlds; taken absolutely for granted, yet subject to potential disaster as foreshadowed in the prologue.
The set-up of an Interdependency of worlds, run by Guild Houses and overseen by an 'emperox', isn't particularly different though painted well enough. Some of the characters however, particularly Marce, Vrenna and Kiva for me, were a delight to follow and I'll definitely continue into the forthcoming sequel regardless of the lack of 'action' sequences.
The dialogue can be very sweary, although it doesn't go unremarked, and knowing a couple of people whom readily shirk the many tiers of the English language to produce the same lazy curse-filled portmanteau's: is an entirely believable character trait.
The spaceship names however, while humorous, do come off a little incongruous.
Maybe I just didn't get it. The "Flow" is an odd concept, it had potential, I was expecting vast imaginative journeys to wild and interesting places. But there was none of this, it was just a trade route that was breaking down. The "memory room" also was an interesting idea, but it turned out just to be a device to push the politics along.
I'm very surprised at all the great reviews, maybe I missed the thread, or maybe this was just not a book for me... Either way, I can only find 1 star for it.
This is the first book in a new series from Scalzi. It is curiously galactic spanning and claustrophobic at the same time: each outpost, apart from End, is either a space station or a small colony on a hostile planet, set up where the Flow led. And we really only see two of them: End (a backwater dumping ground for malcontents, but the only inhabitable planet in the system) and Hub (a giant space station from which the Empire is ruled). And some of the concerns might mirror today’s problems: although not particularly heavy handed, it would be dense not to read the Flow changes and its denialists as a metaphor for climate change.
Being the first in a series, there’s a lot of set-up: the new Emperox, the scheming Noehamapeton family guild, and the foul-mouthed trader Lady Kiva. This set-up is achieved, not through exposition, but through plenty of action moving the plot along at a brisk pace, in Scalzi’s typical breezy style (he tries for Banksian spaceship names, but doesn’t quite pull it off), and a roller-coaster ride of assassination attempts and citrus fruit sales (oh ghod, I’ve only just realised that this subplot is literally a case of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”). We are left teetering on the brink of a potential giga-death calamity. Given this is a new series, I was expecting a slower build-up: at this pace, the empire will have collapsed and been rebuilt by the middle of book two. Which I will be reading.
Where I took off a star is for characterisation. I just didn't feel that emotional envelope was pushed. This is a book set in a world with a doomcloud on the horizon. Reading it during self-quarantine with a doomcloud on the horizon meant that I just didn't believe that at least 3/4 of the main characters wouldn't be climbing the walls from stress.