The Collapsing Empire
Author: John Scalzi
Last Read: April 2017
Quick Summary: The Collapsing Empire is a newer book of John Scalzi's (the latest at the time of this writing). The Collapsing Empire is a quick and fun read - it sets up a new universe on the verge of a massive problem. The future space-based empire of man lives on a network of worlds connected by "the flow". The flow has been assumed to be a stable network between worlds; in the manner of most assumptions, this turns out to not be true and soon the flow will close and mankind will be stranded alone in the dark.
Naturally, many characters are poised to respond to this nascent information - some seek political advantage and power in the coming future, and others seek to prevent the mass extinction of mankind across its many colonies.
The Collapsing Empire is a fun (and mostly light-hearted) read. The only thing I really take points off for is the lack of real resolution at the end of the book. Scalzi is clearly building a new universe and series that will continue on. However, I contrast this against Old Man's War, which was the first part of a series but still had a satisfying ending of its own. I prefer my stories to be complete, rather than lacking a satisfying ending.
“You have this all planned out, then.”
“It’s not personal, Captain.”
“Getting murdered for money feels personal, Ollie.” --loc 104
“But you just said it’s a politically advantageous match.” Batrin gave the very slightest of shrugs.
“It is, but so what? You’ll be emperox soon enough.”
“And then no one can tell me what to do.”
“Oh, no,” Batrin said. “Everyone will tell you what to do. But you won’t always have to listen.”
“If you like we can adjust my conversational model to be more like I was in life.”
“You’re telling me you lied to me in life.”
“No more than to anyone else.” --loc 1203
“But you just said you were a prophet.”
“Anyone can be a prophet. You just have to say that what you’re talking about is a reflection of God. Or of the gods. Or of some divine spirit. However you want to put it. Whether those things come true isn’t one way or another about it.” --loc 2638
“He’s a mess,” Marce said.
“Yes, well. Lady Kiva tossed him out an airlock,” Pinton answered.
“You threw him into space?”
“And he didn’t die?”
“We only threw him out a little bit.”
“Because he was in the corridor with your ‘associate’ when the bomb went off. He and several other crew members were trying to interrupt your friend. He survived. Two other crew members didn’t.”
“You just threatened to destroy my ship and kill my entire crew, Captain. Your condolences are hollow.”
“You and me and him. There you’ll explain the entire situation to him, and apologize to him.”
“Sir, for what? As I said, this is entirely a misunderstanding.”
“Then you’ll apologize for the misunderstanding. Ghreni, it doesn’t matter whether you actually have anything to apologize for. The act of apologizing is the thing. You should know that already. That’s basic diplomacy.
Mount snorted. “I’m not going to appoint her just because the duke died and now she doesn’t have to overthrow him. They are still in rebellion. You don’t win a rebellion by default.” --loc 3683
“I’m continually confronted with the human tendency to ignore or deny facts until the last possible instant. And then for several days after that, too.” --loc 5097
“That’s the human brain,” Attavio VI said. “It creates patterns when there aren’t any. Imagines causality when there is none. Imagines a narrative where none exists. It’s in the design of the brain itself. It’s primed to lie.” “And --loc 5137