The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

John Scalzi had hit it out of the park with the Old Man’s War series. It features weird aliens, really good characters, and a really interesting concept. He, now, returns with a new Space Opera series called The Interdependency.  The Collapsing Empire is the first in this new series.

The Interdependency is the name of the coalition between all the planets that have been colonised by the human race after they gained access to the mysterious Flow, which is like a tunnel in the fabric of Space-Time that connect two locations; the Interdependency is ruled by an Emperox. Humanity has been using it for centuries and has spread to the various edges of the galaxy. The main hub of all the Flow tunnels is called.. The Hub, and the final, and furthest most planet in the Interdependency is called End. This is the only planet with a breathable atmosphere and is an important asset in the Interdependency, but it is 9 months away; a lot can happen in 9 months. Now, these Flow streams are, mysteriously closing, leaving several places, now, unreachable.

There is a rebellion brewing at End, and there is a new Emperox, but the news of it will take about 9 months to reach End, and in that time, the Flow stream to end might already be closed.

Most of the book is slow, and a lot of conversation; there are two assassination attempts on the new Emperox, and a bit of political intrigue. The previous Emperox, the new one’s father, had sent their foremost Flow Physicist to End under the guise of a tax collector, so that, there, he can work on his calculations without any disturbances. He predicted the collapse of the Flow, and he, now, sends his son to inform the new Emperox of the collapse. Back on the Hub, Cardenia, now calling herself Grayland – her royal name -has to navigate this new political, and royal terrain.

A lot of this book is conversation, and it was a short book. Scalzi could have done a lot in this book, but spent a lot of it in foreplay, and I sort of got bored in the middle, but then it picked up again. Only one major event happened in the book – Marce Claremont, the son of the Flow Physicist, arrived at the Hub. There wasn’t much of a development or the plot, and it actually feels like a major portion of the book is missing. I like to image the books on a linear scale of events, and this just progress by a single event, and nothing much; to be honest, it was a very slow start.

Or, maybe this is intentional? To show that a lot of time can elapse and only one event can happen? Maybe it brings to the fore the vast expanse that is space, the travel time? Even then, I’d rather have had a large book with more events rather than so much conversation, and foreplay.

I mean, I don’t hate the book; I actually liked it, but I just wish more had happened. He could’ve done a lot with the time gap between the End and Hub, but nothing yet. i can see that this series has potential, and I am very intrigued but this series. It has a really good concept, and I really hope it gets somewhere, and soon.


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