I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Genres: Science Fiction
Series: The Collapsing Empire #1
Published by Tor on March 21, 2017
Also by this author: Lock In, Agent to the Stars
The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible -- until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport 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.
The Collapsing Empire is the first book in a new series by Hugo Award winner and New York Times bestselling author, John Scalzi. Personally, I’ve only read a couple of his books, but he’s gained at least one new fan with this most recent novel. This novel will certainly be creating waves in the coming months because it’s something completely new, accessible and despite being science fiction, it actually has some relevant present day themes.
When it comes to interstellar travel, the author doesn’t try to go into too much scientific detail. Actually, he states in the beginning of his novel that most people wouldn’t even understand it. In short, something called the Flow allows a ship to ride a “stream” from one location to another without the need for light-speed travel, something that still doesn’t exist, even in this post-Earth civilization. Some streams take months to travel, and they aren’t always the shortest or most logical routes.
Streams are also one way, like the only one leaving the planet End. The planet is called End because many streams lead to it, but there’s only one that leaves it to go back to Hub, the seat of the Interdependency because most streams lead back to it. Curious enough, End is the only planet humanity has discovered that is suitable for human life, all other planets needing special habitats or rotating space stations for survival. However, End is not a very desirable place to settle because it’s so far away from everything else. It isn’t called End for no apparent reason. Personally, I love this concept of space travel because even though it’s fiction, it’s still believable. There’s still a lot we don’t know about our universe and John Scalzi makes it easy to believe in the Flow.
The author also introduces us to a wide range of interesting characters, including a physicist named Marce Claremont who believes something drastic is about to happen to the Flow, and actually, already happening. Many of his peers believe the Flow is something stable, however, Marce and his father have studied the Flow extensively and data shows what can only be called the collapse of the Flow. Since trade and the economy depend heavily on Flow routes, business and political tensions arise in forms of rebellions, piracy and political trickery. The newly crowned emperox of the Interdependency, Cardenia, now Grayland II, has to deal with feuding business families, assassination attempts and news about the shifting Flow.
Funny enough, the author mentions in his afterward that the plot line is not based on the current american situation, that in fact, the book was plotted and written before the 2016 american election. However, one can see how anything as unpredictable can create tension, fear and violence. Many businesses and families capitalize on this fear and I think the author demonstrates very well how some people crave power and money, and will do just about anything to have both.
As a relative newbie to John Scalzi’s work, I’ll definitely have to read his previous books to see how this new series compares to career building series, Old Man’s War. The Collapsing Empire deserve much attention and is one of my new favourites of the genre. It’s an epic and grand introduction to a new sci-fi universe and I’m really looking forward to what happens next.
Tor is giving away a hardcover of THE COLLAPSING EMPRIE to one (1) winner in the US or Canada. Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter!
JOHN SCALZI is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His massively successful debut, Old Man’s War, won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony; Fuzzy Nation; Redshirts, which won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel; and Lock In. Material from his widely read blog, Whatever, has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.
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