The Collapsing Empire

The Collapsing Empire

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport 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.
Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765388889
Characteristics: 333 pages


From Library Staff

List - Out of this World
SPL_Sonya Apr 25, 2018

The first in a fast-paced, action-packed series.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
JCLIanH May 23, 2018

An outstanding first book in a series whose follow-ups I will be impatiently awaiting for years to come. Scalzi is a dual threat, excelling at crafting endlessly fascinating worlds and endlessly interesting characters, and he's operating at the top of his game here.

May 07, 2018

The Collapsing Empire is driven mainly by the interesting characters that Scalzi writes. This book is a little bit light on plot-development and is obviously the first book in a planned series. It uses the classic “feuding nobel houses” storyline and brings to mind Frank Herbert’s Dune. It also might be compared to Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves. It is quite detailed in its description of commerce and trade that the Interdependency (an intergalactic empire, ruled by a monarch) is dependent on. The book sets an interesting course in terms of what’s to come in the rest of the series and reflects the current climate crisis. A group of scientists warn of impending doom for billions of people spread throughout the stars, while social and economic elite do everything they can to capitalize on it or ignore it completely. Nominated for the 2018 Hugo Award.

Mar 08, 2018

A weak start to a new series. Scalzi fan here, but this whole volume has churned-out-to-fulfill-contract slapped all over it. The invention supposed to get our attention is a female
hero who talks dirtier than any longshoreman or muleskinner you can imagine. No character or situation was interesting or ingratiating enough to make me wish for the next book in the
series, and the lack of closure is therefore twice as annoying. To me it is Scalzi's first misfire.
Two stars.

Dec 30, 2017

A really fun read! Scazali creates vivid and enjoyable characters with an interesting and exiting plot line. I look forward to the rest of the series due out in 2018 and 2019.

Nov 15, 2017

This an appealing mix of elements from Dune and Foundation. It also includes analogues and commentary from current American politics. I will definitely be looking forward to the continuation of this series.

Oct 05, 2017

Going in, I didn't realize this was the first book in a series set in this universe. It became painfully apparent, however, as The Collapsing Empire meandered through introductions, expositions and anti-climactic set pieces. Half way through I realized I was simply reading the opening crawl for a larger vision and the rest of the book plodded along, starting new threads it had no intention of tying up by the final pages.

I guess I'm in now—though I don't feel any specific connection to this world. The trick, I suppose is to write the first part of a series in such a way that it doesn't require the rest of the series. You know, a complete and fulfilling story in and of itself. Unfortunately, this book doesn't quite do the trick.

Sep 27, 2017

The setting reminds me a bit of Byzantium meets the Federation (well, except that there are no aliens). The setting is a bit sparse, which is a pity because it feels like there's a tonne of backstory that we're not seeing. And for a fairly Byzantine-style political system/narrative, the plot seems quite strongly linear.

This being said, I was highly amused by the characters and their reactions to situations that they encountered. As a stand-alone it's a bit thin, but I'm hoping there are more volumes to come...

Jul 20, 2017

Not his best. It seemed unfinished.

Jul 19, 2017

The weakest Scalzi book to date :-(

Parts of the book are very good, other parts are excruciatingly bad.

Not what I expected from the author of the "Old Man's War" series, certainly doesn't deserve the reviews it's getting.

Let's hope the next in the series is _much_ better.

SCL_Justin Jul 05, 2017

The Collapsing Empire is John Scalzi's most recent space opera. It takes the tropes of far flung planets and space ships travelling between them and puts some interesting characters doing clever things in those ships and places of power and knowledge. Yup. Generally stuff I like.

The collapsing part of the empire (called the Interdependency because they rely on trade between stars to survive) is that the bits of nonspace that connect these farflung worlds without having to travel actually faster than light (though the effect is pretty much the same in a Traveller-esque fashion) are shifting, and that's shifting how power will play out on the grand scale. It's a good ecological metaphor and I enjoyed how humanity has had to build habitats wherever they could connect to each other, rather than on planets that would be suitable for bearing human life.

It was a fine light read; a good popcorn book. It's the first in a series though. Nothing is resolved and it feels like an extended prologue to a real story happening.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at WPPL

To Top