The Collapsing Empire

John Scalzi
The Collapsing Empire Cover

The Collapsing Empire


My response to this novel was mixed. I enjoyed the setting, and I am a pretty big fan of unexplained galactic travel systems that cause problems. In this case, they are using a poorly-understood physical phenomenon, the Flow. Their way of staving off war, intentionally keeping independent worlds from gaining self-sufficiency, relies heavily on the Flow being constant. Of course, someone has discovered that the Flow is changing. The stakes are not just the power of the Empire, but the survival of the human race. The characters we meet in this situation are, for the most part, interesting and engaging. I especially liked Cardenia, a reasonable person suddenly forced unexpectedly into the most powerful position in government.

The main issue I took with this novel is that it felt like very little happened, which is possibly because it is busy setting up the world for a series. At the beginning, we are met with the terrifying prospect that the Flow is going to shift. That's also pretty much where we stand at the end of the book, though circumstances have changed for some of the viewpoint characters. I'm curious to see what will happen with the Interdependency in the next book, but I just expected a little more collapse in The Collapsing Empire.

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