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.
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Critic reviews

"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Sally on 14-04-17


I really struggled to finish this book and I'm surprised at how many good reviews it has.
The basic premis is fine and Wheaton does a reasonable job with the narration, but the dialogue is immature and seems to be aimed at young teenage boys. The culture is unrelentingly modern American in everything from dialogue to attitude and there is no sense at all of a multi cultural interplanetary society. Very few of the central characters were likeable and I really didn't care what happened to them, beyond wishing they could speak without swearing every orher word.
The author conveys no sense that mankind might be changed by living in space, something the Expanse novels handle well. Iain Banks could teach him a great deal about creating believable civilizations (and his ship names are far funnier) and Anne Leckie is so much better at drawing us in to complex alien politics.
I made it to the end only to discover that there's no real resolution and that this is mostly a set up for a series. I don't think I'll bother continuing.

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32 of 38 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 31-08-17

Nothing Happens.

Any additional comments?

The only context I could consider this to be a good book is if it's some kind of clever allegory. If the story itself is meant to mirror the universe it describes then it makes perfect sense that it's a small number of interesting things separated by vast, intractable distances of pure nothingness.

The book feels like a prologue that has been stretched out to make an entire book. The premise of the book, all the significant players and the end goal are all set out at the start of the book and these are pretty much set in concrete. That's perhaps the weirdest part of the book because the story could have been greatly improved by keeping some information back from the reader and then revealing it at critical points but instead of this we know all the key points at the start of the book. There's nothing new introduced and there's no exciting twist, the only really surprise in the book being just how little actually happens.

The characters are flat and lifeless, with maybe the exception of one major character who I initially disliked but came to like as they appeared to be the person with actual characteristics on the book. I don't know what anyone looks like, I don't know where anywhere in the Interdependecy is like beyond the most superficial level and I feel no connection to anything in this book. I really didn't like the politics in this book as conversations with political maneuvering in it essentially boil down to "But if you do that then I'll do that which will make you do that but I will in turn will do that" and it's not hard to seem like a canny political genius when seem to know the impact of anything anyone may ever think about doing.

The dialogue isn't terrible and if it were in service to a book where things of note actually happened then I might have liked it. While I initially had misgivings about Will Wheaton he does a very good job of narrating and I'd happily listen to another book he narrated. Apart from that there's not much positive I can say about the Collapsing Empire, the writing is competent but saying that is like saying "Man, someone did a good jobs making these sandpaper socks!"

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9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Gonzalo on 11-05-17

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.

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36 of 42 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 01-04-17


This is filled with lots of LOL moments and some great funny characters. SCALZI humor includes giving funny names to ships, such as the following: TELL ME ANOTHER ONE, I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW, IF YOU WANT TO SING OUT, SING OUT, YES SIR, THAT'S MY BABY and it's sister ship NO SIR, DON'T MEAN MAYBE. The humor is fairly steady throughout the book without being overwhelming.

The book is a tiny bit Dune, Game of Thrones, Foundation and The Last Empress. I listened to the whole book and will be buying the sequel, but had it been a different author, I might have given up within the first three to four hours. That is because it is mostly a political book, with Guilds, Courts, Emperors, and Great Houses. The book builds and because the characters are well developed, gets better the longer it goes on. It does not have a lot of science and their are no aliens. It is mostly politics and back stabbing of nobles. STOP WHINING ABOUT IT FOR F SAKE. One of the main characters is a female who cusses like a sailor and has a high sex drive. I found her hilarious.

Wil Wheaton is the best for this. He not only does sarcasm better than anyone else, if you listen during what would normally be considered filler, you can hear him putting everything into to make it sound interesting.

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172 of 207 people found this review helpful

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