Reading: A Scalzi SF Trilogy

I’m in the process of reading a science fiction trilogy by John Scalzi, The Interdependcy , two books of which I have already read, leading up to the third, newest, recently published one. The books are:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, March 2017

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, October 2018

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi, TOR hardcover, April 2020

Book One: The Collapsing Empire is a space opera novel by American writer John Scalzi. The book was published by Tor Books on March 21, 2017.[1] It is the first of a series that was originally intended to be two books but is now a trilogy.

The Backstory:
The Interdependency is a thousand-year-old human empire of 48 star systems connected by the Flow, a network of, for want of a better word, “streams” allowing faster-than-light travel. Each stream is one way and has an entry point and an exit point. There is no faster-than-light communication faster than the Flow, and interstellar trips are not instantaneous—ships carrying mail or passengers from Hub, the capital of the empire and the system with the most Flow connections, arrive at End, the most distant, nine months later—but the network permits life-sustaining intersystem trade. As a natural phenomenon, the Flow is poorly understood; Earth disconnected from the network thousands of years ago, and civilization on another system collapsed more recently when its pathway suddenly closed.

Family-owned megacorporations control all interstellar trade in the Interdependency’s mercantile economy; one, House Wu, is the royal family. The trading houses are incredibly wealthy from government-sanctioned monopolies and by collecting tolls at “shoals”, entrances and exits to Flow pathways. The state religion, with the Emperox as titular head, celebrates the Interdependency as a divinely sanctioned society.

Count Claremont, a physicist on End, calculates after decades of study that the Flow will soon collapse. All systems will be isolated; none are self-sufficient. Humans can only live on a planetary surface on End; they need space stations or underground habitats in other systems. Without the Flow, society on every system will likely collapse. The count sends his son Marce, also a physicist, to Hub to warn his old friend Emperox Attavio VI. The Emperox has died, however, and his unprepared daughter Cardenia is crowned as Grayland II.

My take: Obviously, there’s a lot more to the book than that overview, and it’s well written, exciting in places, with great characters and good bits of humor throughout. Some readers will object to the use of much swearing by some of the characters, including the “F word”, but it’s just part of the character. I enjoy Scalzi’s work, so it’s no surprise I’m enjoying this.

Right now I’m about halfway through the recently purchased second book.

To be continued NEXT WEEK with a summary and thoughts on the second book, and perhaps the third as well.

Do you like science fiction? What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Reading: A Scalzi SF Trilogy

  1. tracybham says:

    I do like science fiction. I especially like John Scalzi’s books or at least the ones I have read so far. (Lock In and two of the Old Man’s War series.)

    I have The Collapsing Empire but have not read it… and was glad to see this post on the series. And I look forward to your next post on it.

  2. Steven A Oerkfitz says:

    I like Sf but I don’t read as much of it as I used to. I just started War of the Maps the new novel by British writer Paul McAuley. He’s one of my favorite SF writers but has not been too successful in the U.S. Also started another SF nove by Alex Irvine called Anthropocene Rag. He wrote a novel years ago called A Scattering of Jade which I liked a lot. I like Scalzi. I have read the first two in the series and plan on reading this one whenever the library reopens.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I like Scalzi a lot. I’ve read all the Old Man’s War books and the Lock In books as well as the first two in this series. I’m waiting until the library opens for book three. I’ve been reading more SF in recent years and fewer mysteries than I used to.

    Current reading: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS by Peter Robinson. I returned this and got it out again. I’ve read all the Banks books since the beginning. So far, there are no stories in this one that I care about but I’ll keep pushing on.

    Also reading the book on CASABLANCA that George reviewed the other day, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE CASABLANCA by Noah Isenberg.

    Before these, I raced through Deborah Feldman’s UNORTHODOX, about leaving the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg that she grew up in. This made a wonderful Netflix miniseries. This is more about her upbringing and what led up to leaving. I’m planning to read her sequel.

  4. I’m furiously reading Alastair Reynolds’s latest space opera, BONE SILENCE. It’s the third book of a YA series. And, it’s a real page turner! I read the first book in Scalzi’s series, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, but it didn’t grab me. I have the other two volumes, but who knows when I’ll get to them. I’ll be curious what you think of all three novels.

    • I’m surprised you didn’t like the first book, George. Was it the swearing? I really like the whole concept of the flow, and it’s collapse. Clever. I’ve just started the third book.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    LEAN ON PETE, Willie Vlautin. Liked MOTEL LIFE so much I had to try another one.

  6. Jerry House says:

    I’ve been avoiding much of the recent SF (and fantasy) using the excuse that much of it is too bloated. In reality, I’m enjoying my second childhood reading SF books I should have read in high school, the latest being Edmond Hamilton’s THE SUN SMASHER and Henry Kuttner (as “Lewis Padgett”) and C.L. Moore’s BEYOND EARTH’S GATES I read a couple of Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels, one by Harry Whittington and one by David McDaniel. All four books had no redeeming literary value and I loved them. I also ran across 4 issues of August Derleth’s THE ARKHAM SAMPLER from 1948 and 1949 on Internet Archive, chock full of stories, articles, poems, and reviews; good stuff. (Derleth published only 8 issues of this magazine so now I’ve read half of them. Hopefully the rest will be available online sometime in the future.)

    I’m currently reading BLOODY VENGEANCE by Jack Ehrlich, a fairly violent story of vigilante cops. Coming up are a couple more Henry Kuttners, an Eric Frank Russell, and a handful of James Blish’s novels. Also, there’s a few more Man from U.N.C.L.E. books and some Doc Savage novels near the top of Mount TBR.

    May books, your garden, puzzles, and Barbara’s cooking keep you out of trouble as you continue to isolate this coming week, Rick.

    • Sounds like some good oldies, Jerry. I’ll have to check out the Internet Archive, if I can figure out what/where it is.

      • Jerry House says:

        Google They link to 25 million texts broken into a number of collections; the pulp magazine collection currently has over 13,500 items (including a large number of science fiction magazines). Their moving image archive has over 15,700,000 movies, films and videos. Their audio archive has over 10, 700,000 items from music to audiobooks. Their software collection has more than half a million programs, CD-ROM images, documentation, and multimedia. They also have an image archive with over three and a half million images from maps to astromicial photos to artwork and logos. And they keep adding items. There is also an open library in which you can borrow many e-books that are not in the public domain. It’s a virtual treasure trove of goodies, Rick.

  7. If you end up recommending this trilogy, I’ll dig out Book Two and Book Three and read them.

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