I burned through John Scalzi’s new book, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, in a single week last month. (I’ve been on a lot of trains) My brain needed a break from the heavy stuff I’ve been reading and the amount of processing I’ve been doing, and I don’t think John would be sad to hear that his smooth, witty entertainments are very much a warm bath for an overclocked brain that just wants to sink into something fun and resting.
I suspect that this book, the first of his long-term publishing contract, was conceived, written and cued up for Reasons. He wants to come out of the gate fast and big, to justify Tor’s faith in him. And what he’s delivered is, essentially, Game Of Thrones in space. Complete with Houses, intrigue, multiple plotlines, death, fucking, ghosts and its own “winter is coming” ticking clock. As a commercial act, it’s a hell of a performance – clever and knowing, and yet also gleefully, unironically enjoying itself. That’s why John’s audience is so wide – more conservative, hardcore SF readers can forgive John his snark and the diversity of his characters and intents because he so unashamedly enjoys and venerates the genre. He just rides with it. For me, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE was a fast citrus sorbet course. Thanks, John.
THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, John Scalzi (UK) (US)