Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars.
Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.
The Flow is eternal - but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it's discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster-than-light travel forever, three individuals - a scientist, a starship captain, and the empress of the Interdependency - are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
©2017 John Scalzi (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
"Fans of Game of Thrones and Dune will enjoy this bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure" (Booklist)
"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)
"Political plotting, plenty of snark, puzzle-solving, and a healthy dose of action...Scalzi continues to be almost insufferably good at his brand of fun but think-y sci-fi adventure." (Kirkus Reviews)
A man with a child in his ears - @shutterspin.
I think John Scalzi is at his best when he goes for straight ahead space opera and so this really is home territory for him. The Collapsing Empire builds a promising scenario in which humankind is spread across space on the back of the mysterious "flow" which enables interstellar travel. The flow however is showing signs of instability and the potential impact of that is allegorical to the issue we currently face with climate change. The setup is well done. It is a clever scenario in terms of the habitats that make up the human empire and I am intrigued to see how he develops it in the future books.
Will Wheaton gives his usual fresh and entertaining performance, always a pleasure to listen to. The characters are larger than life as you'd expect and there is plenty of action and no little humour.
It doesn't quite hit the greatest of heights for me though. This is a good read but some of the characters seemed a little one dimensional especially in the dialogue which bordered on the juvenile at times and Wheaton can't deliver "authority" as well as the very best when required.
So not perfect, but still a very entertaining bit of sci-fi that carries promise for a good series going forwards.
I really struggled to finish this book and I'm surprised at how many good reviews it has.
The basic premis is fine and Wheaton does a reasonable job with the narration, but the dialogue is immature and seems to be aimed at young teenage boys. The culture is unrelentingly modern American in everything from dialogue to attitude and there is no sense at all of a multi cultural interplanetary society. Very few of the central characters were likeable and I really didn't care what happened to them, beyond wishing they could speak without swearing every orher word.
The author conveys no sense that mankind might be changed by living in space, something the Expanse novels handle well. Iain Banks could teach him a great deal about creating believable civilizations (and his ship names are far funnier) and Anne Leckie is so much better at drawing us in to complex alien politics.
I made it to the end only to discover that there's no real resolution and that this is mostly a set up for a series. I don't think I'll bother continuing.
Gotta love his writing style, and the ease at which he introduces Sci-Fi concepts into the story. Looking forward to the second book in the series.
If anyone can't wait for more and hadn't already read it, Scalzi's Old Man's War series is highly recommended.
Another fun and colorful story by Scalzi. Really enjoyed the narrative and the colorful cast, particularly around the pirate vessel incident.
There are a few things that didn't work that well, but it is part of the world building and let's face it, this is Sci-fi and requires a little suspension of reason.
Will definitely be buying the next installment.
if i had been reading this rather than listening on a long drive i'd probably have given up. So much of it feels like set up. Scalzi's writing style seems to be close to permasnark - either you'll love that or you won't. His characters are rounded and largely vile although thankfully there are one or two sympathetic types. At the end I realised the whole book was just setting up for a series, and I do like the universe, the plot device and 2 of the characters, so I AM interested in what comes next... just not sure its worth the effort of struggling through the style and sheer volume.
I like Wil Wheaton but he can be a snark amplification unit at times. He's quite capable of disappearing into credible characters but any snarky bits get amplified. For me, a less is more approach would have been better.
I'm a big fan of the writing of John Scalzi and I thought the story here was interesting and well paced with good characters. I thought that Wil Wheaton's narration was really well done and complemented the story very well.
I'm a broadcast journalist specialising in technology and politics. I'm married with four children, a geek and radio presenter.
Really can't wait for the next book. It featured great characterisation and stories. It was a brilliant universe and engaging concept.
There's many a book like this, but where this really shines is the irreverence and identifiable characterisation. It makes it likeable, relaxed and enjoyable being that bit more real.
Wil continues to be a really good narrator. He does a slightly curious performance for three members of a family in this book. I *think* he was trying to sound English but he just ended up sounding pompous and weird. Otherwise he was as good as he usually is.
If you've listened to a John Scalzi book before you know what you're getting. A fun Sci Fi universe with extremely light characterisation. The idea of the collapsing empire is a strong one and it kept me interested throughout.
Scalzi does do the thing sci-fi authors _love_ doing when they're writing what they intend to be a long running series - he forgets to have a satisfying conclusion. The book just ends after ten hours. There is sort of a conclusion but it does feel like this series has maybe 30-40 hours of plot in it and Scalzi just cut the first 9 hours from that block, tacked a hasty conclusion on the end and pushed it out into the world.
That's not exactly a bad thing, but it means the book definitely ends with a 'is that it' feeling, rather than a nice satisfying conclusion. If the rest of the series turns out to be good it probably won't matter but for now, it's a bit of a problem.
Story not that original or engaging. Lacking his usual witty dialogue. Degenerates into stereotypical profanities - f**k used hundreds of times, indelicate references to sex and bodily functions. To top it up, he steals The Culture's style of naming ships. Had this been his debut story, he would have gone unnoticed. Good narration though.
"Just feels small - no sense of scale, so why care?"
This is humanity at stake. Gravitas isn't Scalzi's thing, but geez, this one feels like ... who cares? I know I'm in the minority, but this felt like a draft that still needed some pretty hefty structural revisions.
"Not very well written"
cool world, cool economies, bad character arcs and boring antagonists. it's a weak opening to a series.
"THE STUPIDITIES OF COURT"
YOUR ALWAYS ALONE INT HE MEMORY ROOM AND NEVER ALONE IN THE MEMORY ROOM
This is filled with lots of LOL moments and some great funny characters. SCALZI humor includes giving funny names to ships, such as the following: TELL ME ANOTHER ONE, I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW, IF YOU WANT TO SING OUT, SING OUT, YES SIR, THAT'S MY BABY and it's sister ship NO SIR, DON'T MEAN MAYBE. The humor is fairly steady throughout the book without being overwhelming.
SORRY, I GOT DISTRACTED THINKING ABOUT SEX
The book is a tiny bit Dune, Game of Thrones, Foundation and The Last Empress. I listened to the whole book and will be buying the sequel, but had it been a different author, I might have given up within the first three to four hours. That is because it is mostly a political book, with Guilds, Courts, Emperors, and Great Houses. The book builds and because the characters are well developed, gets better the longer it goes on. It does not have a lot of science and their are no aliens. It is mostly politics and back stabbing of nobles. STOP WHINING ABOUT IT FOR F SAKE. One of the main characters is a female who cusses like a sailor and has a high sex drive. I found her hilarious.
Wil Wheaton is the best for this. He not only does sarcasm better than anyone else, if you listen during what would normally be considered filler, you can hear him putting everything into to make it sound interesting.
"Not one of Scalzi's bests"
I'm a big Scalzi fan and I've listened to every audible book by him and Wheaton has read several of them and he does a decent job. Definitely not as professional as some of the other narrators but he's still quite good. However this particular book was less than spectacular, both the story line and the performance. One thing I like about Scalzi's books is it mixes some humor and craziness and such into the story line, some books more (redshirts) than others. But it's always a bit light hearted with a good laugh or two thrown in there. This book though has almost no humor, no laughs, and a lot of politics. It felt like the Honor Harrington series with all the politics. It was a bit disappointing, it didn't feel like a Scalzi book. Then Wheaton's performance, again I generally like Wheaton, he's awesome as an actor and character and decent at readings (redshirts and fuzzy nation were great), but he's not very good with female voices and this book has a lot of female characters. It was difficult to tell which character in the book was speaking. Apologies to Wheaton and Scalzi on this one but I figure not everything can be a 10 out of 10. I will still absolutely purchase and listen to or read the next book because in general I love Scalzi's books and Wheaton offers a good and unique performance. Plus it's super cool to hear a voice I know read the book hehe. But this book is just so much politics and confusion and drama and it doesn't even end in a happy ending, it leaves a lot of loose ends with a very uncertain, if not downright grim, future.
"The performance, like, totally killed it."
I struggled to finish this, not because of the content, even though the phrase 'it's a bit more complicated than that' was used around 5 times (I could have done with a bit more complication in the story). The narrator read almost every character the same, and in a very male-version valley girl sort of way. Maybe just VERY Californian, but it was too much. If it's the same guy narrating any of the sequels, I will not be listening to them.
More originality. Characters that move outside stereotypes.
This is pretty unimaginative sci-fi. Scalzi is not a bad writer, but this storyline is a yawnfest. Importing 15th-century social constructs into the future is hardly original, the characters are predictable stereotypes, and logical social implications of technology are ignored.
"Characters could've been mistaken for juggalos."
I'm a huge Scalzi fan, but the characters were a big turnoff in this one, on top of being lost in translation to audio. This one would've massively benefited from a full cast. It was hard to tell who was who at times. After the fantastic teaser for "the dispatcher" I had high expectations for this one that fell flat. Won't be continuing this series.
"I just can't"
To be honest, I didn't finish the book, the narration was more than I could deal with. In general I like Wil Weston but I did not like him narrating this book at all, I may go back and read it but can't make it through with Weston as a narrator.
First the narration: I've enjoyed Wil Wheaton's narrations of other books, including some of Scalzi's. But nearly continuous snark does not fit this book. Annoying and off-putting.
Now the book: Of no note whatsoever, except for the record-setting number of f-bombs. The Expanse's Avasarala left in the dust in that regard, but she's a million times more interesting character than any in this book.
Note to self: Do not follow up on this series.
I usually love any Scalzi book. I even preordered this one. Wil Wheaton was great as usual, but this book just didn't quite have the usual depth that Is normally present in a Scalzi book. Just when I thought there was going to be some additional character development they went right back to predictable or died. Too much of it was simply expected without any real interesting turns. This is book one of a series with book two coming out in 2019 I have heard. I have read other series books and this was the biggest disappointment with really next to nothing revealed at the end. Imaginative story overall, but really could have been expanded a lot more. I would have liked to see the story bring in a lot more "science" about the flow or at least more history regarding the journey from Earth. Book two could easily go in that direction with teams sent out in all directions for further study. Great start to an original story, it just needs some expansion on the idea. For me though, it just felt rushed.
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