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The Collapsing Empire

(The Interdependency #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  43,119 ratings  ·  4,344 reviews
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 ot
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Tor Books
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Joost This is the first novel in a new series, so you don't have to read anything else!…moreThis is the first novel in a new series, so you don't have to read anything else!(less)
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Wil Wheaton
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
As delightful and easy to read as Scalzi at his best (Redshirts, Old Man's War), with characters who are going to stay with you whenever you have to put the book down ... which you aren't going to want to do.

I won't discuss plot, at all, but I will say this much: like all great SF, and like the SF that has become accepted as classic, The Collapsing Empire works as a wonderful SF tale ... but it also has important allegory, metaphor, and commentary on some things that are going on right now, for
A big thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!

This novel marks a very strong return to Space Opera for Scalzi and I'll admit that I felt slightly trepidatious about it, after all, these tomes usually require a fairly substantial investment of time and energy, especially when contemplating an extensive book deal for him running to 2027! (Congrats, by the way!)

However, I should just go ahead and trust that my favorite authors, Scalzi included, can pull off these kinds of really ambitious undertakings. He
Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas Review

Scalzi is accessible science fiction, and this is Scalzi (the storyteller) at his best. He’s improved at structuring a story over the years, and this is more evidence to support that claim. You can tell how much fun he’s having writing a space opera in a universe very separate from the Old Man's War series. My one complaint would be with Scalzi’s prose, and only because I know he can do better than this. See the codas at the end of Redshirts, or the novella The Sagan Diar
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wildly fun space opera. Witty, irreverent, even a little sexy. Lots and lots of world building and the society here, the Interdependency is full of intrigue. Incredible women characters which is very refreshing. I was turning the page so so fast and sad when the book ended.

One flaw is that there are some really annoying, kind of lazy ways in which the reader is taught about this world. Like, straight up, in one scene a guy is explaining the universe to kids on a field trip. Bro....
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, the good news – The Collapsing Empire is a smart, entertaining, easily digestible page turner. In other words, it’s a John Scalzi novel. It’s also a nice bit of old fashioned sci-fi fun – heroes do heroic things and villains do villainous things, the story has nice momentum and the world-building is fun.
Trying to figure out why I felt unsatisfied by the book is a little harder to explain, especially when I basically had a good time reading it. I think it comes down to the fact that it pro
UPDATE 12/13/18:
Re-read in preparation for book two. Listened to Wil Wheaton’s audiobook narration this time, which was really great. Loved the book just as much the second time and will probably listen to the next one as well.

4.25ish stars.

'Accessible' is a word I've read used to describe Scalzi's fiction a lot, and it's true. This feels like old school space opera, commercial and unabashedly traditional- with some modern sensibilities if that's not too big a contradiction. It's also basically
Kevin Kuhn
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Shelves: science-fiction
I finally got to “The Collapsing Empire”. I loved, loved the whole Old Man's War Series and that set my expectations of future Scalzi work ski high. Which is why I only mildly enjoyed his book, “Redshirts”. I expected it to be hilarious, but found it only mildly amusing. The coda’s helped, but didn’t put it over the top for me. I kinda ignored this and still went into “The Collapsing Empire” with big expectations. Keeping in mind those high expectations, I found this book to be . . . wait for it ...more
If you like political machinations, space, Scalzi's wit, and characters who are more asshole than charming, you'll enjoy this. It took me a little bit to get used to the general lack of fucks all of the characters give (and the amount of fucks the characters say), but I found myself rooting for many of them by the end and I'm interested to see how the rest of this series will go. ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

John Scalzi’s 2017 space opera MAGNIFICO! is delicious the same way hipster doughnuts with fruity pebbles or maple with bacon are yummy: decadent, a little on the silly side, but OH! SO GOOD!

Reminiscent of Jack Vance, Samuel Delaney, Frank Herbert and Douglas Adams (Adams?? YES! It’s funny, sometimes even hilarious) but with a modernity born of the INFORMATION AGE! Scalzi does what Scalzi does best – entertains with a cool as ice cream space saga EXTRAVAGANZA!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars! Just as good on reread, if not even better. I’m working myself up to reading the concluding book in this trilogy. This is great space opera-type science fiction, kind of like an updated version of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. It’s set in the distant future when humans have settled several planets and moons and lost contact with Earth. They’ve only actually settled one habitable planet, though; all the rest are underground or in space and need a constant inflow of supplies from o ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. Years ago when I was still mostly reading fantasy and wanted to get into science fiction, I’d made the initial mistake of starting my journey with a couple of “classic” titles that nonetheless made me feel like I was in way over my head. It wasn’t until the moment I picked up the first Old Man’s War book that I realized the element I’d been missin
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
This audiobook was an absolutely phenomenal way to make a 12 hour drive to my new apartment fly by. The only problem now is my roommate and I scrambling to figure out when we’re going to listen to the next two.

Update on 9/25/19:

Such a cool read! I wanted to specifically note that this has a bisexual protagonist who I adore. She's an absolute asshole who takes no shit and curses where most people in a sentence would just say "uhhhh". There are also a variety of people of color, including a Chines
Manuel Antão
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Oobla Dee Oobla Dah SF: "The Collapsing Empire" by John Scalzi

I recently bought a box of pulp SF from eBay - most dating from the 50s and 60s. Lantern-jawed, pipe-smoking men save the world while their gorgeous female assistants are prone to outbursts of come-hither hero worshiping and swooning - especially when kissed fiercely and unexpectedly by the lantern-jawed men. The latest one was about a worldwide plague where the lantern-jaw
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is always enjoyable to get back to an author you've had so many great reading experiences with. It has been quite a while since Scalzi swam in the waters of Space Opera but he is still in fine form with this new series, The Interdependency.

One thing I greatly appreciated in Old Man's War was the rational, believable, but still fantastical universe he set his stories in. Likewise with The Collapsing Empire we have a really neat premise (The Flow, naturally occurring interstellar paths that all
Paul O'Neill
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rip-roaring story with a huge dilemma at its center. Scalzi delivers yet again!

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is part of a new sequence (I can’t find details on how many books it will comprise of but I hope it’s lots!), which is due for release on 23 March. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Set in a universe where planets in the ‘Interdependency’ are all connected via the Flow. Space travel hasn’t evolved to the level used in most sci-fi stories s
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Re-read on October 2017 amidst the chaos and craziness of what is known as "real life"

Even better the second time around! Definitely one of the best reads of this year

What an insanely entertaining and oddly satisfying book!
This was my first book by this author, according to a number of his ardent fans this is not one of his best works. If this is an example of not his best, I can' t wait to read the supposed better ones :)
Simply lo
K.J. Charles
I'm not a space opera person, generally, but this is a cracking read. Mostly because what it's really about is politics, greed, and primarily climate change. (Not explicitly but it's about an entire empire that's going to collapse because of natural events, thus causing death to billions, and the fact that people currently benefiting from the system don't want to believe the collapse will happen so they refuse to guard against it, is this sounding familiar yet.)

And it's very much rooted in peopl
John Scalzi has brought me back!! He almost lost me with his gender dalliances in the Lock In universe. Scalzi brings the fun and the intelligence with Interdepency novels. I say fun, because it’s a rip roaring fast moving novel that is cathartic for any science fiction fan that wants more than space battles and laser guns. This was a novel of political intrigue. The adding of snarky, whip smart characters makes it fun and interesting. The fact that the most interesting and powerful characters a ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I really enjoyed this book. It is a sci-fi with heavy political intrigue and a physics conundrum, which has put humanity on a brink of a possible extinction. This is about a millennia in the future and at this point humans have left Earth behind for a system of colonised planets and space habitats Interdependent on each other for survival and connected by The Flow, an interdimensional roadway, flowing between a specific number of planets, occurring outside of human influence and not completely u ...more
TS Chan
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ebook is on sale at $2.99 until 3rd May 2020 on various platforms, link here.

I think two words perfectly describe The Collapsing Empire - entertaining and accessible. This is science fiction for the masses that is fun and riveting.

I've only ever read one of Scalzi's books, Old Man's War, and really enjoyed it for its humour and entertainment value. I do get that humour in books is not something that works for everyone. For me, Scalzi's does as did Douglas Adam's. I would point out thoug
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, sci-fi

I've never read any John Scalzi before and I saw this on NetGalley and decided it would be a good entry into his work (free) and a good indication on whether to read some of his other stuff like Old Man's War.

As you might be able to tell from the rating, I didn't overly like this book. The plot strands were a bit thin, the characters didn't jump off the page and felt a bit formulaic. It doesn't help that my only real comparison for this is the Expanse series which has style and quality chara
This was a lot of fun. Scalzi is really becoming one of my favorite writers, as his work is so readable yet so full of ideas. His science is plausible and he tells it in a way that an ordinary person can understand. He takes serious situations and balances them with snarky dialogue and humor. I wouldn't call his work comedy, but there is enough humor in it to keep it upbeat most of the time.

This is the beginning of a new series, and this first book shows such great promise. I'm definitely lookin
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, kindle
Just when you thought space opera had to be slow and plodding, Scalzi says "nope." ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to 7jane by: Paul O'Neill
The humanity has left Earth and spread through the universe via the system of flows, which connect planets to each other. A new empire was created, but it's now facing a crisis... because something is happening to the flows. Three persons want to save the civilisation(s), but others just seek to benefit from the chaos.

This book is a pretty good start for the series, and you really do want to know what will happen in the next book. The three people mentioned are
the newest emperox (same title for
Milda Page Runner
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very much enjoyed it.
Compelling characters, interesting universe, plenty of intrigue and action and some humour - exactly what I expected from Scalzi and it didn't disappoint. Last third of the book is unputdownable.
I might have liked it better if Kiva's character wouldn't have been in it.
I simply can't see the appeal of oh-so-cool-characters who can't utter a sentence without cursing and are bullying others.
Peter Tillman
Really, really good. Kiva Lagos, the foul-mouth countess! (or whatever). Kiva's hommage to her Mom, another serious badass: “It was nice when you could look up to your parent, even as an adult, and think, This is who I fucking want to be when I grow up.
"The family legend had it that Kiva Lagos' very first word as an infant was 'fuck'"

More to come, but if you're a Scalzi fan, don't wait. Amazingly smooth, goes down easy, no unpleasant aftertaste!

Who would think that SF writers would still be pu
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of the end of a thousand years of the Interdependency, an interstellar Empire of humanity post-Earth and linked by the Flow, an astrophysics anomaly that allows faster than light travel.

The merchant Lady Kiva has come to the only habitable planet in the Interdependency only to find it in the middle of a rebellion against the reigning Duke and the machinations of another merchant house. On the same planet the son of a brilliant Flow physicist Marce needs to get to the Imperial Hub
Apr 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried repeatedly to read and finish this book, but finally gave up at 25 percent (DNF).

Look I like John Scalzi a lot. I loved "Redshirts" and "Lock In", but this book right here is all the worst bits of "The Android's Dream" and I refuse to read that book ever again.


I think the biggest issue of why I couldn't get into this book is that I felt like I just got dropped right in the middle of an interesting story. But no one wants to take the time to explain to me why this story is so interestin
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm where to begin with this one?

The Collapsing Empire is the weakest of the four books by Scalzi that I've read. Its a novel about the political machinations of the super rich, their schemes and the downfall of their Empire.

It follows a group of planets which have been colonised by humans who are united under the rule of the Emperox of the Interdependency. These planets are united by a mysterious force called The Flow which has made faster than light travel a reality. Now The Flow is becoming u
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

Other books in the series

The Interdependency (3 books)
  • The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2)
  • The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3)

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