Scalzi laces his plot with plenty of humor, some of it gentle, some of it barbed, and some of it rather broad. I enjoyed little exchanges like this one between the emperox and her aide:
“[T]he executive committee…wants to marry me off.”
“They want to preserve an existing alliance.”
“An alliance with terrible people”
“Really nice people don’t usually accrue power.”
“You’re saying I’m kind of an outlier,” Cardenia said.
“I don’t recall saying you were nice.”
Scalzi’s characters come alive much better than is common in space opera. I enjoyed getting to know them and even to care about them, from spunky Cardenia, who had never expected or wanted to become experox, to Kiva, the potty-mouthed member of a powerful guild family. (SF readers who decry the relative deficit of strong female characters in the genre, take note. In retrospect I realize that most of the really memorable characters in the book are women.)
Brilliant stuff! Spunk and potty-mouthed wit! Keep in mind these excerpts are not clunkers I am cherry-picking as being particularly terrible, these are excerpts that fans and Tor employees have been selecting on the basis of a belief that they are the best the book has to offer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we are assured is “the heart of modern Sci-Fi” and “the best SF writer of his generation.”
Which, if either statement were true, would be a damning indictment indeed. Fortunately, it’s only obese midwits less well-read than the average illiterate Venezuelan peasant, who think snarky space romance is the height of cleverness, that actually believe that.
Seeing the SF-SJWs unite in a desperate attempt to convince the reading world that Scalzi is actually a good science fiction writer very much reminds me of the Democrats trying to convince everyone that Hillary Clinton was a good presidential candidate. Not only are their efforts unconvincing, but their bizarre overselling reveals that even the people pushing the idea don’t believe it.
But don’t worry, you can totally trust the SF-SJW reviews. And the New York Times bestseller ranks achieved months in advance of publication too.
The Collapsing Empire (The Interdepency #1)
by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)
Renay’s review May 24, 2016
it was amazing
Can’t say much about this yet BUT DON’T WORRY I WILL, I WILL HAVE SOME WORDS.
That’s a pretty positive five-star review, particularly for a book that wasn’t actually published for another 10 months.
UPDATE: My position on fake reviews is what it has always been: never write fake reviews, for good or for ill. If you have not read a book or played a game, then you should not even consider reviewing it. As a former nationally syndicated professional game reviewer, I do not approve of fake reviews no matter who the author or developer is. Unlike most published authors, I have always abided by Amazon guidelines and never review books or games on Amazon. The only place I write reviews are a) on this blog, and b) on Recommend.
UPDATE: Castalia author-to-be Brian Niemeier addresses the increasing desperation of Tor Books. He’s got a good point. If Tor actually had any confidence in their author’s ability to compete with our book, they wouldn’t have freaked out and begged Amazon to take it down. When Alexandra Erin published a parody of SJWAL, did we do that?
No, we simply laughed at the fact that the book, along with the parody and the parody of the parody, ranked as the #1, #2, and #3 bestsellers in the Political Philosophy category.