At the end of March, my partner and I trekked four hours to Nashville, Tennessee to see John Scalzi not talk about The Collapsing Empire. That’s not abnormal; we already have the book, so he reads from awesome upcoming work that’s currently Secret (also Awesome). But during the Q&A, I was reminded of how entertaining Scalzi is as a performer (very) and how good he is at bringing that energy to his stories. The Collapsing Empire feels very much like a Scalzi novel, in that if you picked it up without reading the author’s name or the title, you’d know from the first few pages who it was written by if you’d read any of his previous work.
But it also feels distinct and different, too, because he levels up his ensemble character-work in a big way.