Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency, #1)
This topic is about The Collapsing Empire
29 views
Monthly Reading: Discussion > September 2018 "Collapsing Empire" Discussion <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!>

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Group Read #16


message 2: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
So, what do you think about the book? For me its biggest drawback was that it is clearly written as a part of the series


Allan Phillips | 2355 comments Mod
I don't see that as a drawback at all, that means there is more to come! There's probably an editorial/publisher decision behind it, where Scalzi has the framework of a story and starts to figure out how long it will be. Plus there are deadlines and such. I'd rather have a 500 page complete story but the only drawback I see is that you have to wait for the next part.


message 4: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
Scalzi is one of those authors that I've read like everything he has out so far. So when this one hit the shelves, I had it and finished it within the week.

I liked the book, for the most part. Some of the characters in it seem to have been washed and reused from his other books. It does have an interesting feel to it and I'm looking forward to the next book, but this isn't Old Man's War.


message 5: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "It does have an interesting feel to it and I'm looking forward to the next book, but this isn't Old Man's War. "

Exactly my feeling regarding the book - he can do better! :)


message 6: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I'm behind, but I can't wait to start (prob be a few days) even though you guys say it's not a good. His mediocre is probably better than others bests


message 7: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "even though you guys say it's not a good. His mediocre is probably better than others bests"

It isn't bad, just I expected more. I guess Scalzi has more 5* from me than any other author, so I expected too much. It is a good yarn
Waiting to hear your thought about it!


message 8: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Prob starting today.


Allan Phillips | 2355 comments Mod
It feels very old school space opera to me.


message 10: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 18, 2018 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Well, that was disappointing. Allan and Bryan, I hope you will read the next book for me and tell me how it comes out.

My main problem with it was that it seemed overly drawn out in places, a problem I have never had with Scalzi before. It seemed that there was an awful lot of musing about internal thoughts, almost repetition. I was skipping paragraphs and pages (hard to tell how much when using a Kindle with a big font) to get to the story. So you tell me, was it drawn out on purpose to make 2 books instead of one? I have NEVER felt like that with Scalzi's writing before, and I have read several of his Old Man's War and several standalones.

Plus, various things bothered me. For one thing, they killed off my favorite character, the Emperox's friend. I hate when that happens.

And I was at 53% before I really got interested. Mainly because the beginning was so great, and it took me halfway through to realize we were never going to get to see that first ship's captain again. I hate books that do that. (I refused to read some bestselling murder mystery that my mom loved because the author got me all involved with this character in a few pages at the beginning and then killed them in a park. That was the murder mystery that I guess the book was about.)

I hate when authors write a great beginning, get you all involved with the beginning characters, and then it turns out that part of the book is just incidental. Perhaps those people on that first ship will be returning in the next part of the series since that ship is still impounded on End, but still! And I am disappointed that the first captain threw in with the mutineers to sell the guns somewhere they weren't supposed to go. The impression I had of her was not so unethical.

I also thought the detailed descriptions of how mutinies were handled was cool, but that was apparently just incidental, too.

I guess it's the pacing. Action, then stop and wait, blah blah blah, for the emperox to die and Gray to inherit. Too many subplots where there's a lot of blah, blah, blah, and then when something finally happens, and cut to the next group. I don't like the multiple story lines routine and the best of times even when necessary. But here, it felt like these multiple storylines were padded.

And I also feel that there was an awful lot of telling rather than showing in all of these subplots. There would be a lot of blah blah blah, a page of action and then change to the next story line and more blah blah blah. That's just the way it seemed to me.

If it hadn't been so well written, I would have quit, but Scalzi is a wonderful writer even when just writing blah blah blah.

Did anyone else think it was lazy writing to use the F word so often? I don't care about bad words, it just seemed like bad writing. Like a countess walking into a room and telling everyone to F off. Seems that the word does not have the connotations it has today, yet still seemed very rude in Scalzi's world. The Lagos family didn't seem to know any other words to express their feelings.

And the lack of an ending was annoying. I think they should start tagging books like this with a title. Perhaps "serial" or something, so you can just wait until the whole thing comes out before you bother with it. I hate cliffhangers!

Nonetheless, I liked this book well enough. 3 stars. I think I was just disappointed because I expected more. I still think Scalzi's mediocre is better than other peoples' bests.

OK, boys, tear me apart!!!


message 11: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
Remember, I have trouble remembering books and therefore I won't remember this one well enough to read the next when it comes out. I read them, and they are gone. Particuarly one that wasn't particularly fond of. So guys, just let me know how this comes out in a couple of years. Just the high points.

:-)

Thx


message 12: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 480 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "OK, boys, tear me apart!!!"

I mean, I guess I could try to tear you apart, but I agree with most of what you are saying. Scalzi isn't normally a 'cliff hanger author'. This book was made with a sequel, not just in mind, but prepared. I remember when the book came out, it was advertised as a new series from Scalzi.

Which knowing your book will be a series as apposed to hoping it will be, isn't bad in and of itself. The way the author handles it is what makes or breaks the book.

This book, even though it is the first, felt more like a sequel or a filler book. Not a whole lot happening, but everything just being set up for the rest of the series. Which made the book blasé.

I have hope that the next one will be better.


message 13: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I felt like he was stretching things out.

Plus, I think there's a difference between "a series" and what happened at the end of this book. Or else my definition of "a series" is faulty.

I think a series is a bunch of related books, but they can stand semi-independently. You might miss some background if you don't read them in order, but you can still expect a beginning and an end. They at least solve an intermediate problem and don't leave you hanging. The Bujold books that were the July reads are like that. So are her Vorkosigan books. Ditto, for example, John Sandford mystery series (can't wait! new one will be out soon!)

This book, on the other hand, left us hanging.

This practice seems to be a semi-new practice in publishing. I guess like the old serials in newspapers circa 1890(? not sure of when). All these authors are publishing shorter books, and you have to read three or four of them to get to that satisfactory ending with all questions answered.

This one was longer than novella length, I think (it seemed so) but it did not conclude at all.

I think the publishing world needs to come up with a new term. Or pull an old one out. I say"serial"

Yes, it's confusing because the word so much like "series," but it's been used before, and at least it's something.


message 14: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Kate, I completely agree with all your points: the serial nature of this book, incompleteness of the story and filler pieces. The only redeeming feature is that Scalzi is a talented writer and still this is an interesting read.


message 15: by Ed (last edited Sep 23, 2018 10:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments I pretty much loved this, even though in some ways it is exactly the sort of story I hate.

Instead of a story with lots of interesting SF elements, it is mostly a tale of super-elite powerful people scheming against each other. (Like Game of Thrones, but in space, and without dragons and ice-vampire-zombies.) We hardly see any character who isn't a super-elite. I dislike this sort of story because I personally can never keep straight all the sub-plots of who is scheming against whom and why. But I didn't have much trouble with this one.

Some SF, particularly utopian stories, imagines that in the future humans will change and become nice to each other and will listen to scientists when they tell you an inconvenient truth. This ain't that kind of story. The humans here are the way humans have always been.

What I really enjoyed was the well-created characters and witty dialog. What Kateblue calls "blah blah blah" I would call witty, snarky banter. Even though there are some similarities with Foundation and Empire I think this has more similarities to the film/play The Lion in Winter than it does any space opera. Scalzi just writes more believable humans than Asimov did. And he is also more aware that humans are sometimes female. And like to have sex. And swear.

I almost laughed out loud at scenes where two powerful women keep preventing a supposedly-powerful man from using his own office. In my mind I imagine that man as all the men in the "Foundation" series being told to politely go F themselves.


message 16: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "Scalzi just writes more believable humans than Asimov did. And he is also more aware that humans are sometimes female. And like to have sex. And swear. ."

I'd say both Scalzi and Asimov are products of their time. True, almost all 'golden age' SF is about white straight able-bodied men and alternatives usually appear as objects (cf damsel in distress). I don't think that in 'the nature' of the authors. Say Andre Norton also had such characters


Allan Phillips | 2355 comments Mod
I tend to laugh out loud a lot when reading Scalzi's books. I disagree with "blah-blah-blah," his dialogue cracks me up.


message 18: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments Oleksandr wrote: "I'd say both Scalzi and Asimov are products of their time. ..."

Yes, no doubt. We live in a cynical, snarky time, and Scalzi gives us cynical, snarky dialog.

And as kateblue was saying that she enjoys the action scenes more than other scenes, I am the opposite. I hate scenes with lots of action. My brain just doesn't process it well. When there is a car chase or karate fight in a movie, my brain tunes out. If it is a long scene, I take a bathroom break.

I can appreciate the skill of Jackie Chan or Buster Keaton, but it isn't what I like to watch.


message 19: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Sep 26, 2018 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
In reading some of the comments here, I maybe should clarify that I am not just an action girl.

I realize now that my real problem with this book was, I liked the captain and the people in the opening scenario, and when they didn't ever return, I felt betrayed. I was skimming through waiting for those people to return, and they never did.

I don't care how good Scalzi is (and he's great), that's just not right. And so I probably did not have the liking (or even the tolerance) for the book. Why? Because I was waiting for the characters I thought were the main characters to return during the first half of the book and then basically PO'd for the last half of the book because I figured out they were never returning.

Why provide all the detailed information about these characters and then abandon them? Does anybody else think this was a really bad way to introduce a book? With characters that never return??


message 20: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I mean I get that in a murder mystery, you introduce a character and then kill him off, which provides the mystery to solve during the rest of the book.

But I was sure not expecting it here. I mean, the ship didn't blow up or anything! Those characters just plain disappeared, and there was no explanation.


message 21: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments Kateblue wrote: "Does anybody else think this was a really bad way to introduce a book? With characters that never return?"

Not me. It was called a "prologue" after all. The issue about what happened with the ship and the refused shipment was addressed again later. I don't think I even noticed whether it was the same characters.

I would have been upset if the Emperox had died. I feel the story is really mostly about her.

By the way, I enjoyed the way the uploaded memories of past Emperoxes was handled. It is a variation on the concept that I haven't seen before. They remember everything and still have the same personality, but no consciousness.


message 22: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
I got an email today to "Read John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire: Prologue" plus there's a link to first chapter

https://www.tor.com/2018/09/24/excerp...

This is the follow up to The Collapsing Empire and is coming out in October


message 23: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments Johan Kalsi, who I think is actually the infamous Sad Puppy Vox Day, created a sound-alike title "The Corroding Empire". I will not read it. I will not even bother to link to it.


message 24: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "Johan Kalsi, who I think is actually the infamous Sad Puppy Vox Day, created a sound-alike title "The Corroding Empire". I will not read it. I will not even bother to link to it."

I won't read him too. However, to be precise, Vox Day is from Rapid Puppies, which are a bit different from the Sad Puppies.


message 25: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 722 comments Rabid. It is good for puppies to be rapid, but not rabid. ;)


message 26: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "Rabid. It is good for puppies to be rapid, but not rabid. ;)"

ups, yes :) It is like Grammar Nazi corrects someone and makes an error in the post :)


message 27: by TomK2 (last edited Jul 18, 2020 08:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Everything Kateblue said was true. However, I read this book in two days, well above my usual pace because I found it easy to read and interesting. I had mistakenly read some of these posts before reading, and I just didn't believe a book I liked so well would have a non-ending. But it did! This would have angered me if I read this book a few years ago, but not now. The sequel e-books are available to borrow with about a month wait at my library, and are of course also available at Amazon. Right now I am thinking I will wait for the loan to be available, because buying a book with a non-ending irritates me. And I am not sure the 2nd book will be different. However, I have loved quite a few series that needed 2 or even 5 books to wrap up, so perhaps I am just being cheap.

I was able to predict some of the plot twists and implications. But other developments I did anticipate did not come to pass, so I would not call this book predictable. Since this is a book centered on far reaching politics and power struggles, it is probably appropriate that so many of the characters are strong willed, calculating, mean, and ethically challenged. It is not how I would like to live my life, so I would not be a major player in this universe, thats for sure.

As for the memory room, my first thought was no way anything like that could exist for a thousand years and not get hacked or compromised. Too much valuable information to be ignored, and it didnt seem to be a secret.

Overall I considered this to conditionally be at least a 4 star book. But I can not be certain of that until I read more in the series to at least experience some conclusions and wrap up.

Kateblue, I suggest that if Scalzi and publisher were to be transparent , this book would have been titled "The Collapsing Empire - part 1." And I believe the Captain and Crew of the Tell me Another One will be back in the sequels, not that it makes their absence after the first chapter any less irritating.


message 28: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Bearing in mind that the final volume of the trilogy is out, I plan to return to this universe soon at least to find out the ending


message 29: by Ryan (last edited Jul 22, 2020 04:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 129 comments I didn't have a problem with the ending. The book wrapped up some of the political subplots, and while it's clear that the book's trajectory is nowhere near finished, that's what sequels are for. I thought this book was excellent and the second book is even better - one of my absolute favorites. I haven't read the third book yet. I'll buddy read The Last Emperox with anyone who wants to!


Allan Phillips | 2355 comments Mod
I read the first book very quickly and enjoyed it a lot, although I felt he pushed the sarcastic dialogue a bit too far. It just felt a bit forced, although there’s a part of me that enjoys the humor, as we were saying in that thread. I re-read the first book a year later when the second book came out. I agree that the second book was better, plus it pulled tight some of the threads left in the first, making it a more cohesive story. I got The Last Emperox through Audible when it cam out earlier this year and have just been sitting on it, waiting for the right opportunity to read it. I would gladly join in a buddy read.


message 31: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ryan wrote: "I'll buddy read The Last Emperox with anyone who wants to!"

I may join if it is planned for August or later, when I hope to return to my reading speed (now real life slowed me in half at least)


message 32: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 129 comments Alright, seems like me and Allan are okay anytime, so we'll wait for your go-ahead, Oleksandr.


message 33: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
No time, sorry!


message 34: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Jul 22, 2020 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
I'll be reading Collapsing Empire as soon as I'm done with Barrayar and the Accidental Time Machine. If it's good, I'll join you in reading the sequels


message 35: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 129 comments Anyone still interested in reading The Last Emperox?


message 36: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ryan wrote: "Anyone still interested in reading The Last Emperox?"

I plan, but I think so sooner than Sept 20th


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments I just finished it a little more than a week ago. Its still fresh enough in my mind to discuss it, if you start it.


message 38: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Last Emperox won Best SF Dragon Award


message 39: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kateblue | 4070 comments Mod
cannot--haven't read the second one.

HAve fun!


Allan Phillips | 2355 comments Mod
I listened to The Collapsing Empire as a refresher to The Consuming Fire, and it really brought it together for me. I’ve got The Last Emperox on Audible and I think I’m going to re-listen to book 2 first. Looking forward to it, hope to finish it this month.


message 41: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Dash (ryandash) | 129 comments I finished The Last Emperox and added the topic here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

More thoughts to come.


message 42: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3993 comments Mod
Ryan wrote: "I finished The Last Emperox and added the topic here:More thoughts to come."

Thanks Ryan!


back to top