We don’t have any hockey to distract us right now, so here are some ideas from us at RMNB on how you might spend your time in lockdown.
In today’s episode: the end of civilization as we know it… but fun!
My first John Scalzi book was Old Man’s War. It’s a super bleak sci-fi story, where everything you think you know gets cut out from under you, and the gloom of the new revealed world sort of overwhelms you. And then, by the end, it’s kind of cute and cuddly and life-affirming. Scalzi’s new series, The Interdependency, is even more oppressing than that, but it’s also funny.
Starting with The Collapsing Empire, Scalzi’s story tells of a civilization that requires faster-than-light (kinda) travel to survive across a bunch of different worlds. But all of a sudden, it starts breaking down, starting their slow but inevitable decline. General unrest, mass starvation, and war are pretty much guaranteed. And hi-jinx ensue!
More than in any of previous book, Scalzi really taps into his inner Douglas Adams here. He’s clearly having a blast writing this. As bleak as the story is, the tone is conversational, wry, and sometimes silly. The heroes are clever and kind (mostly), and the action is elaborate and bracing. In a way it reminds of a goofier version of the Expanse. I was struggling to explain that series to a friend a few years ago, so I said, “things go wrong in space.” Feels like that’s the germ of the ideas for both series, but the real story is in what happens next — in how good people react, how they work together, and what they build when they’ve got to build something. Funny how that something usually looks a lot like a family.
The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire are available for purchase now. The third and final book in the series, The Last Emperox, comes out next month. On April 1, you can get the Collapsing Empire for free through Tor Books.
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