Skip to content »

Science Fiction Fantasy Blog

Our discussion of The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man's War.

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. Goodreads

Below are a sampling of our comments:

  • 1600 years into the future and they still haven’t figured out how to deal with menstrual cramps!?!
  • Scalzi often has a very futuristic concept, but the characters basically live the same way as today.
  • End is looked down on, but it is the only habitat with breathable air and the only one that could be self-sufficient.
  • I liked the gender-ambiguous characters where all you know is the name and title (which don’t give anything away) – it can be over 100 pages before a pronoun is used to identify a character and that challenges readers' assumptions.
  • The ship names like Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby were whimsical and fun. Scalzi’s humor also showed up in humanizing touches for the characters and in his use of language.
  • If the flow has been steady for 1000 years and the farthest outpost is 9 months away, why do they have ships that can be self-sufficient for 5 and 10 years?
  • It would have been interesting to see into the lives of ordinary people, but the main characters are primarily aristocracy.
  • Sadly, the book lacked any mention of bacon…

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you may have about The Collapsing Empire. We gave this title the codes POL, SOP, HAA, AI, HOME, FEM & SEX with an average rating of 4.4.

Add new comment

777 Front Street Lisle, IL 60532 | Phone: 630-971-1675 | Fax: 630-971-1701 | Hours: M-F 9:30am-9:00pm, SAT 9:30am-5:00pm, SUN 1:00pm-5:00pm