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Reviews by Contributor: Scalzi, John (6)

The End of Everthing That Stands

The Last Emperox  (The Interdependency, book 3)

By John Scalzi  

22 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2020’s The Last Emperox is the third and final volume in John Scalzi’s The Interdependency trilogy. Three books to a trilogy is a visionary step other authors would do well to emulate. 

The Interdependency: still doomed by the impending collapse of the Flow, on which all interstellar trade depends! Emperox Grayland II: still determined to save the Interdependency’s people! The entire Nohamapetan family, with the exception of the late Amit Nohamapetan (still dead!): still an enormous pain in the ass. 

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This Very Hour

The Consuming Fire  (The Interdependency, book 2)

By John Scalzi  

9 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2018’s The Consuming Fire is the middle volume in John Scalzi’s Interdependency trilogy. 

Faced with the impeding collapse of the Flow, the phenomena that facilitates the faster-than-light travel on which all the worlds of the Interdependency rely, Cardenia Wu-Patrick AKA Emperox Grayland II is determined to urge her subjects to recognize the impending crisis and consider ways to mitigate it. To this end, she uses her status as church figurehead to begin uttering prophecies of the Doom Which Is to Come. 

This succeeds in convincing a number of powerful people that Grayland II is quite mad.


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All Go Together

The Collapsing Empire  (The Interdependency, book 1)

By John Scalzi  

5 Jan, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2017’s The Collapsing Empire is the first volume in John Scalzi’s The Interdependency.

Thanks to the Flow, a poorly understood phenomenon that permits faster-than-light travel, the forty-seven systems of the Interdependency have enjoyed a thousand years of mutual dependence and trade. The Interdependency is completely dependent on the stability of the Flow. Therefore, the Flow is stable. To think otherwise would be … unthinkable. 

Polite people do not mention or remember that there used to be forty-eight systems (Dalasýsla, like Earth1 before it, lost its connection to the Flow). 

End has two characteristics of note: it is the only naturally habitable world in the Interdependency, and its home system is farthest from the crown world, Hub. Make that three characteristics of note: as a consequence of being the oubliette of choice for the Independency’s undesirables (political and otherwise), the population of End are a bother. Just ask Lady Kiva Lagos, captain of the good ship Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby.


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Did I mention it won a Hugo?

Redshirts

By John Scalzi  

21 May, 2016

Special Requests

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I’m about to review John Scalzi’s 2012 standalone Hugo-winner Redshirts and I have a problem. I do not have much of a sense of humour, which makes me a bad fit for a book widely known to be funny. You may therefore expect a review that concentrates on the metaphysical underpinnings of the book than on the jokes. Incidentally, you can also look forward to the first ever James Nicoll review cliff-hanger! 

The Intrepid is the Universal Union’s flagship, a mighty vessel to which only the most important missions are given, a ship whose command crew have earned the highest accolades. Kudos to seminary-student-turned-ensign Andrew Dahl for warranting such a plum assignment.

There’s just one catch.

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Is John Scalzi history’s greatest monster?

Fuzzy Nation

By John Scalzi  

20 May, 2015

Special Requests

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I’ve probably mentioned that I loathe reboots, necrolaboration [1], or updating old stories, in the sense that even when the effort is made out of affection for the source material rather than crass materialism, I’ve seen them go horribly wrong far more often than I have seen them go right [2]. I am not a fan of this stuff, is what I am saying. I am least likely to react well to a reboot of a personal old favourite, because that combines an almost certainly doomed effort with material with which I am familiar and about which I care. Generally, the best I can hope for is vague disappointment; the worst is a book I hate and an author I am forced to see as history’s greatest monster. 

Which gets us to 2011’s Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi’s reboot of H. Beam Piper’s classic, Little Fuzzy.

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Ineluctably American SF

The Android’s Dream  (The Android’s Dream, book 1)

By John Scalzi  

25 Apr, 2015

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2006’s The Android’s Dream takes us to a near-future where the Earth is unified (in the sense that the US does whatever the hell it wants and the rest of the planet has to live with the consequences), Earth is among the most minor of the minor powers belonging to the galaxy-spanning Common Confederation. Given that Earth is to the mightiest powers of the Galaxy as modern Paraguay is to NATO, the sensible course of action for Earth as a whole is to concentrate on maintaining a low profile while building up its economy and military.

Of course, there’s often a huge gulf between what’s good for a polity as a whole and what’s good for individuals within it.

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