Writer, Storyteller, Blogger

Review: “Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi

– Posted in: Science Fiction Book Reviews

Collapsing Empire Begins . . .

The blurb from John Scalzi’s new science fiction novel Collapsing Empire:

Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.

Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.

The Flow is eternal—but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency—must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

My Response

I’m going to try and do this as spoiler free as I can because I love this book and think everyone with a sense of humor and a sense of the absurdity of modern life should read it.

First, I happened to glance at a review on Amazon that gave Collapsing Empire two stars.

The reviewer simply wrote: The book is silly.

My response: Well, yeah, it’s John Scalzi.

The book’s humor is sometimes subtle and often blatant. The characters are diverse, ranging from crazy and almost normal. Most of the dialogue (banter) is very amusing, you may have to stifle a chuckle or two. The world is interesting, and I’m looking forward to more books about this world and the characters. There is enough unexpected to make the book more than enjoyable.

The Story

When a vast empire that spans billions of miles of space depends on “Flow” for faster than light-speed travel as well as commerce and the “Flow” begins to collapse, as it’s done before, “things fall apart” might be an understatement. Every possible bad thing that could go wrong does! This world has some very interesting bits that I won’t spoil by giving them away.

The crazy characters range from smart to fairly stupid, just like life. For me, they are the reason I couldn’t wait to find time to read. I don’t really want to say much about the plot because it might dilute the story for some readers. I’ll say this: the story is told from shifting points of view. I found all the point of view characters engaging and didn’t have any desire to shim though any character’s chapters. I actually, looked forward to getting back to each character’s story.

So, if you like science fiction with humor, satire, and crazy characters, go get the book and read it.

John Scalzi

If you like Scalzi’s writing, sense of humor, etc, you can check out his blog Whatever and his Tweets on Twitter.

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