The big secret in the book is that “The flow” is collapsing - which will eventually lead to the collapse of the empire (hence the title); I realized (and you will too) that this collapse was a sort of metaphor for our own collapsing climate. In this first book in the series, we don’t yet know the consequences of the collapse (it’s just beginning). The same as we are living through right now - once we pour through the climate change funnel, what WILL the world look like?
The book feels a bit like Dallas or Dynasty in space, which could be a bad thing isn’t the wrong hands. But Scalzi is a fun writer; his world building is pretty sound, his characters are soapy and wonderful, his plot engaging. I think I’ll read book 2, out in Fall 2018.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In 2018, can I still compare a piece of literature or art to Dynasty or Dallas? I expected the very last page to have a door open to reveal J.R. Ewing as the mastermind behind all the drama in the book. This is a night time space opera, with lots of drama and sex and a cast of characters that would feel equally welcome at the helm of a spaceship or shopping at Neiman Marcus with Sue Ellen Ewing (after which they get into a fight and throw one another into a duck pond). I find Scalzi to be enjoyably soapy and pulpy - but there is a needle in the midst of this that pokes the reader and reminds us, soberly, of or our own current “collapsing empire.” Even with (or perhaps especially because of) that bit of a bite, this is still great fun.
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