The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Dave

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I have just read The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, based upon recommendation from members here. I really liked it. It is my first John Scalzi book, but I can see his appeal - fast paced, modern language and feisty characters. I like the idea behind this series - The Flow, a natural extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars. Too many space-based books rely of FTL Warp drives or wormholes, neither of which are possible under our current understanding of the physics of the universe, but which have become sci-fi staples. The second book about the collapse of the Flow, The Consuming Fire, is released in paperback on 24th September, and I liked it enough that I will pre-order that.

I can also see why people criticise John Scalzi of too much sex and not enough depth. Unfortunately, I didn't think his characters were particularly well drawn. The women were very alike, and most were too feisty. He doesn't spend too much time on the physics of the Flow, which is probably a good thing, saying instead that only higher mathematicians can understand it. However, the physics of the Flow, and research papers about it, are integral to the plot, so maybe more exposition would be good. All the main characters were privileged, so hard to feel that the young scientist was as naive and wide-eyed as he was meant to be, however his jaw-dropping at the sight of Hub was well done. I found the plot to be a an allegory for climate change, trust in the science community and the peer review system, religious systems, and the excesses of evil corporations; and as such that was a bit too obvious and rather heavy handed. I didn't like that he killed off the best character. I also thought there might be some kind of twist at the end, but in reality this book is just setting up the story for the rest of the series.
 

Dave

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I've now read The Consuming Fire. This did not grab me in the same way as the first book. It took forever to get started and was mostly his usual political commentary and sex. His allegory to climate change, I still find too heavy-handed. It took me ages to read the first half. However, about half-way through the book it gets more interesting, turning some things from the first book on their head, and introducing an interesting new character. I wish the rest of the book was all like those parts were. The question now is whether the third book will be as good or will there continue to be diminishing returns?
 

Ursa major

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The question now is whether the third book will be as good or will there continue to be diminishing returns?
He finished writing it on the 31st of October, so as it's on schedule (i.e. it ought to be published when it was supposed to be published, which is about the middle of April 2020), we don't have too long to find out.
 

dannymcg

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The question now is whether the third book will be as good or will there continue to be diminishing returns?
I'm like you Dave, I've read them both and didn't enjoy the second as much as the first.
However there's no way that I'll not get the third book! We've gotta know how it all gets resolved :oops: ;)
 

Star-child

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I like the idea behind this series - The Flow, a natural extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars. Too many space-based books rely of FTL Warp drives or wormholes, neither of which are possible under our current understanding of the physics of the universe, but which have become sci-fi staples.
"The Flow" just sounds like a version of hyperspace - the other most common SF FTL method, and even less connected to physics reality than Albecurie (warp) or wormhole travel. I'm sure a physicist might be able to explain how winking in and our of hyperspace is just as much a violation of causality as any other FTL.


Otherwise, Scalizi is very readable, I like the sex in it and don't see why sex is bad. But I find his ideas about future technology to be similar to Flash Gordon levels of speculation. Pulp.
 

dannymcg

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He finished writing it on the 31st of October, so as it's on schedule (i.e. it ought to be published when it was supposed to be published, which is about the middle of April 2020), we don't have too long to find out.
That's useful for if he dies, at least we'll know what happens posthumously......too many writers pop their clogs leaving unfinished work, they have no sense of responsibility to their readers
 
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