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The Collapsing Empire

The Interdependency, Book 1
Written by: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Series: The Interdependency, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (345 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 listeners say about The Collapsing Empire

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 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

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

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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Another winner from John Scalzi!

Another enjoyable book from John Scalzi! a great performance by Will Wheaton! Can't wait to hear the rest of the series.

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Okay, I loved this book so I need to hear more...

John Scalzi never disappoints. His writing is imaginative, intelligent, witty and addictive. Sarcasm is almost a separate character in this fun novel.

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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 person found this helpful

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  • R.A.
  • 2018-11-20

Not a Complete Story, Not Scalzi’s Best

Generally Scalzi’s work is right up my alley: I enjoy the mix of tech and philosophical implications of his sci fi, and the often creative world-building that he achieves without belabouring it; this novel didn’t live up to the average of the rest of his books that I have already read (admittedly, only ~5).

FIRST: IT’S NOT A WHOLE STORY

This is not a self-contained story. Not only is it the first instalment of a series, but there is no self-contained storyline in this novel; it is just a novel that has been quite arbitrarily cut off. There is no resolution, and essentially the entire book is just setting the stage for the actual story. Without passing any judgment on this decision, I’ll just say that you should be prepared to purchase the next books in the series, otherwise your wasting your time.


SECOND: IT’S NOT AN INTERESTING STORY

I’m really surprised by this, as Scalzi’s books are usually rich and detailed and have lots of interesting moving parts, but this one just doesn’t. It largely relies on vulgarity for its humour, but that falls flat and eventually comes to detract from the novel itself (being so contrived that it pulls you out of the story).

The characters are 2D — which is pretty standard for Scalzi — but because there’s nothing else really pulling you into the story, it’s rather painful in this one. They all seem to have more or less the same personality: blandly “ironic” and self-deprecating; it gets boring pretty fast.


THIRD: THERE IS BETTER

Both of Scalzi & of SciFi: for Scalzi, I’d suggest “Android’s Dream,”
If you haven’t read it already. Locked In was pretty good as well.


The Narration:

Narration is such a personal thing that I don’t like including it in reviews: either you like Wil Wheaton or you don’t. If you do enjoy him, I envy you, and you won’t be disappointed by this one :)

Personally, I don’t enjoy his narration: I find he only has one mode (over-the-top: his voice literally squeaks when he gets really worked up). HOWEVER, there were a few elements in his narration of this book that were better than usual: he had a bit more diversity in the representation of characters (unfortunately, he reserved it for tertiary characters, so it doesn’t help with distinguishing primary and secondary characters: for example, everyone from a particular family in this book has exactly the same voice - it’s a bit confusing).

Furthermore, for this book, it is particularly difficult to tell if the shortcomings in the narration are latent in the writing, or more related to Wheaton’s reading.

Like I said, if you like him, you’ll like this, if you don’t like him, it’s not going to change your opinion.


ALL IN ALL

A novel that you can listen to while you do something else, but not a complete story, so you’ll have to buy the rest of the series if you want any sense of closure to the story. I wasn’t drawn in enough to bother with the rest of the series, unless it ends up on sale at a very discounted rate. It’s very possible that the complete series would be much more convincing.

Middle of the road, overall - if you like Scalzi & Wheaton, you’ll probably enjoy this; otherwise, pass on it: there is better out there.


Either way - happy listening. If any part of this review was helpful, please let me know by clicking the button, below :) Enjoy!

21 people found this 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.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Charles
  • 2018-02-12

Half a book, a third a story

This book feels so rushed and there is so little character development. Wil Wheaton really needs some practice and slowing down at commas and at least trying to give female character a softer voice. It was very hard to tell who was talking when because everyone sounded the same.

9 people found this 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'



28 people found this helpful

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  • Femie
  • 2018-05-05

Such high hopes

I’ve listened to over 300 titles and never written reviews, but this book has inspired me to do so.

And unfortunately not for the right reasons.

The narrator was just awful!
Male and female characters all sounded the same (I’ve never been so thankful for a “he said” or “she mentioned” before). Actually I thought that one character was female for most of book, until the narrator said “he thought”
One of the main characters sounded older than his father, who sounded like a teen from south beach, Florida. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg.

I am not sure I can honestly review the book because the narrator made the characters so indistinct and made it so hard to loose yourself in the story.

That said, Scalzi didn’t do much to make the characters endearing or give them much personality. I can usually be very empathetic to characters and their situations, in this 9 hour read I basically don’t feel like I know any of the major players, care about any of them or feel like they have anything truly at stake.
Simple logical thought processes and reactions seemed outside of the reach of so many characters and at other times realizations that should have taken work to come to came like a gift from God.

I know others have felt like this book just kind of ended in the middle, but I feel as though a lot of the plot was rushed at the end and neatly laid out with no intrigue or risk taken. Yes, there is sort of a cliffhanger, but if this first book is anything to go by, in the end they all live happily ever after.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-02-10

looking for good sifi

Was looking for the next great sifi book. This is not it. The story is ok- but the character development so shallow. The reader is the worst.

4 people found this 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.

81 people found this 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.

92 people found this 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.

15 people found this 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.

66 people found this helpful