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The Collapsing Empire

The Interdependency, Book 1
Written by: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (278 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2018 Locus Award, Best Science Fiction Novel

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. 

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire. 

The Flow is eternal - but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it's discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster-than-light travel forever, three individuals - a scientist, a starship captain, and the empress of the Interdependency - are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse. 

©2017 John Scalzi (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Fans of Game of Thrones and Dune will enjoy this bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure." (Booklist)

"Scalzi has constructed a thrilling novel so in tune with the flow of politics that it would feel relevant at almost any time." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Political plotting, plenty of snark, puzzle-solving, and a healthy dose of action…Scalzi continues to be almost insufferably good at his brand of fun but think-y sci-fi adventure." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

ok novel

Not as entertaining as other Scalzi novels. I wasn't sad when it was over and I don't think I will read the sequel.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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can't wait for the next!

Such an ambitious story. The universe Scalzi has created here is wondrous! Will Wheaton brings an entreating performance that captivates quickly and assuredly

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

A strong story that contains the death of an emperor, illegitimate child, a terrorist act and a civil war.....all the while the empire collapsea. I enjoyes this very much
Wil Wheaton is a terrific narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • B
  • 2018-04-07

a good read

it was very good, the beginning I found was hard to follow but I have that issue with every book. very much enjoyed it and looking forward to the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

This is a new favourite. Love experiencing a new Scalzi universe. Great characters! A fun read.

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surprisingly good

I usually don't like political stuff but the vulgar characters were just so hilarious that it didnt matter what they talked about. Wil Wheaton is starting to become one of my favourite narrators. his portrayal of male and female characters is pretty darn good.

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Passable but a let down

I read one other Scalzi book (the androids dream) and I really enjoyed it. A fun, easy going sci fi story. The collapsing empire was really slow paced, and really not much of a sci fi story. More a fantasy novel really. Well written from a mechanical point of view, but the story wasn't very compelling. I suppose the problem was that I came in with higher expectations and felt let down. Having said all that, it was a sale title and I did enjoy it enough to listen all the way through.

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  • Dan
  • 2019-04-27

well Wil Wheaton was good again

I purchased a few John scalzi novels now and liked all of them except for this one. while Wil Wheaton does another great performance the story was very boring and not very original, it was like a Intergalactic C-SPAN channel put to book. I felt sometimes like I was listening to an Attack of the Clones "Senate edition" of Star Wars it was that bad. I feel we give the classification of Science Fiction too much leeway too, I mean this was basically a political fight , one-upmanship , financial and political maneuvering behind everybody's back, typical and pretty boring cliched story lines.Just because it happened in space it's called Science Fiction ? I didn't fall in love with the characters either. Needless to say I will not be buying the second and third installment of this. Wil Wheaton is once again fantastic but I still have to give this a big thumbs down.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Love John Scalzi and WIl Wheaton!

Glad to hear another book by John Scalzi and narrated by Wil Wheaton. Great combo, look forward to book 2 in the series!

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fantastic!

One of the best books i have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. I am so excited for the rest of the series!!

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  • Michael B. Davis
  • 2018-02-09

Sorry I picked it

For my money, the story had no plot and was fraught with F word. I like action in my space operas and it was lacking. The only reason I bought it was Will Wheaton. I had enough by the half way point and deleted it.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Ross Hageman
  • 2017-09-27

This was rough.

This needed to be fleshed out much more. As readers we were thrown into a world we had never seen and the writer only let us see with one eye. He (the author) forced us to follow a character (keeva) that seemed so unlikely that we couldn't follow her safely in this brand new landscape. She had so many unexpected tendencies that I couldn't focus on whether to decide that the author wanted her to originally be a rough-shod man or whether we were meant to be inspired at his ability to completely destroy our preconceived notions of a classic Herione.

A fun concept; 'the flow' I only wish I could have been allowed to understand it rather than reverting to the classic cop out that posits 'you as a regular person would never understand'



17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • pat
  • 2017-03-25

Definitely not my favorite scalzi

An interesting and engaging story...... Until it peters out with no resolution.

The stopping point of the book feels less like a planed ending and more like the last 50 pages were missing when the book went to the publisher.

90 of 112 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron P
  • 2017-03-29

Just feels small - no sense of scale, so why care?

This is humanity at stake. Gravitas isn't Scalzi's thing, but geez, this one feels like ... who cares? I know I'm in the minority, but this felt like a draft that still needed some pretty hefty structural revisions.

76 of 95 people found this review helpful

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  • Gonzalo
  • 2017-05-11

Not the best of Scalzi

I like John Scalzi's work and in audio book I prefer it read by Will Wheaton. I was excited by this new book and series. Unfortunately the book in not the best Scalzi. often because of trademark Scalzi traits. The plot of an empire united by a subspace effect that allows for faster than light travel; now endangered because that effect is going away, is very interesting. I wish the author had taken this book more seriously. I like Scalzis humor but it gets in the way of the plot and makes some of the characters shallow and uninteresting. It wouldn't be a Scalia book without sarcasm and wit but it gets too crass and over the top for the needs of this story. The first book of his I read "The Androids Dream" needed it and was hilarious, but "Lock In" toned it down and was better for it. Wish this one had too.

63 of 79 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam K Stevens
  • 2017-06-10

What Happened Scalzi?

Being a fan of both the, "Old Man's War" series as well as the author's contributions to the METAtropolis anthologies, I blindly purchased The Collapsing Empire. This unfortunately was a complete mistake as I ended hating the writing, loathing most of the characters and rolling my eyes over the the sci-fi concepts introduced in the series. Worst of all was the sarcasm. My god, the main character, Kiva is like some hyper-foul mouthed, self-entitled space-Millennial. Now, I've read my share, and thoroughly enjoyed several stories featuring dislikable protagonists or anti-heroes. However, I think the author's intention was to make the reader find Kiva charming or a tough no-nonsense female Han Solo-esque scoundrel. Instead of charming, I kept hoping she would get dumped out an airlock every time the narrative focused on her. Other characters include a dying space Pope who reminded of Grandpa Simpson and his snoozetastic daughter. I was also disappointed with sci-fi elements of the story which included an intergalactic space highway and a theocratic super government which was hardly fleshed out at all. This book is such a departure from Scalzi's usually superb work, it almost feels like it was ghost written by a far less talented writer. I sincerely hope Mr. Scalzi returns to form in his future efforts and we can dismiss this novel as an unfortunate deviation from an otherwise immensely talented author. Also, Wil Wheaton narration style always bugs me for reasons I have yet been able to explain.

111 of 141 people found this review helpful

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  • teanah
  • 2017-06-28

Sort of Boring

What disappointed you about The Collapsing Empire?

It has an interesting premise but gets bogged down with excessive world building, fake physics and sciencey sounding words at the expense of character building.

Has The Collapsing Empire turned you off from other books in this genre?

No I still love sci-fi space operas. This book was just a bad one.

What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wil Wheaton has a lovely voice that can make even a terrible story tolerable to listen to.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the technology was neat I guess.

Any additional comments?

After listening to this book I never want to hear the words "Fuck" "interdependency" or "emperox" ever again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • NonEuclidean
  • 2017-06-01

Mediocre

A few pages out of Foundation and some meh storytelling. It has potential to develop into something great with subsequent books.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • troy
  • 2017-03-26

incomplete story

it's a partial story. a satisfactory beginning. but missed the middle and end. it felt like an imMediate rush job to get to a deadline of a new series.

34 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • clifford
  • 2018-02-05

Dumb

This is Sci-fi with minimal world building. Essentially today’s tech with space ships and little else in the way of technological advances even though it’s set 1000’s of years into the future.

The plot revolves around a muted Game of Thrones character structure. The characters are dumb and shallow.

All in all this is a big letdown for any fan of the first couple Old Mans War books

33 of 42 people found this review helpful