Chapter 6 of John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire ends like so:
“Tell the emperox what we know. If we’re lucky, he may still have time to prepare.”
“Prepare for what?”
“The collapsing empire,” Jamies said. “And the darkness that follows.”
I’m into Part Two and Chapter 8 and it feels like we’ve been doing a lot of preparing for the actual plot of he Collapsing Empire. The story so far has been primarily character introductions and laying out the dynamics of the two major locations in the book. I could complain that it feels like a lot of dithering about for nearly half a book but I’ve zipped through those pages in next to no time.
So we have a classic space empire but one that’s written for an audience that’s read Iain M Banks and other varieties of new space opera. I’m not entirely convinced about the setting yet but some thought has been put into the nature of this mercantile empire. The ‘flow’ as a mechanism for interstellar travel has been neatly tailored to provide a way of joining multiple locations but with limitations on what people know and the time, it takes to get from one place to another.
As indicated, I’m finding it very readable. A lot of the work here has been setting out the nature of the setting and that could have been quite dry. Obviously, it is something that needs to be done to establish the world for a space-opera epic but I didn’t feel like I had to push through it until the plot pace picked up.
No need deep thoughts on the book yet. I’d say ‘entertaining’ but that can sound dismissive – likewise ‘readable’. I think Mr Scalzi is earning his money here 🙂