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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 (260 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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    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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  • 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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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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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.

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Like Dropping An Ice Cream Cone On A Hot Summer Da

Cheeky and vulgar with an acceptable amount of gripping action, this audio book had the making of something I can binge and get into. Unfortunately the ending is abrupt and leaves much to be desired. I'm hooked now and will get on with the series but I feel like the continuation of the series could have launched elsewhere.

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  • clifford
  • United States
  • 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

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • George Crosby
  • 2018-12-12

I don't enjoy relentless sarcasm.

Sadly whatever interesting universe that could have existed is drowned in a sea of thick and murky sarcasm. I can't tell if the author intended this or that wil wheaton is just imposing unrelenting sarcasm onto every character, every explanation and into every chapter. Not only am I frustrated, I am confused. I couldn't finish the book because listening to the flow of sarcasm was negatively affecting my day.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • Greensboro,NC
  • 2018-12-06

Not a good example of John’s work

I got through a third of the book and finally had enough of the language and aggressive female characters. I have a feeling I’m not the target audience for this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Valdis
  • 2018-11-20

Reply wanted to like this, but…

I am a huge fan of both Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Wheaton. However, Wheaton is not that good of a narrator. His gravely voice is not the problem though. The real problem is that nearly all the characters sound exactly the same. And sadly, there is no attempt to even differentiate male or female characters by the narration alone.
Unfortunately this makes the story very difficult to follow, and often confusing as to who is speaking at any given point.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave F.
  • 2018-04-18

I did not enjoy this book

this book has lots of attitude and personal conflict. Things I do not enjoy and and would not recommend it or purchase another book by this author or reader.

3 of 3 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.

11 of 13 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
  • Monroe, WA USA
  • 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
  • MIAMI, FL, United States
  • 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.

62 of 78 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.

110 of 139 people found this review helpful