My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Good science fiction is a joy forever. John Scalzi writes good SF.
In this first installment of a new series, humanity has spread across the cosmos, and each world is united with all others under a single umbrella called The Interdependency. Interstellar travel and the spread of humanity was made possible by the discovery of a force known as The Flow, accessible at designated points in space-time. The Flow changes and shifts, opening up new areas of the universe and, occasionally, cutting off others.
The Flow is currently in a period of flux, and this fluctuation seems to be more volatile than other previous shifts. In fact, it seems that The Flow may disappear entirely within a very short time, thus leading to the collapse of the empire of the title.
The house of the Emperox, the leader of the Interdepency, is also in flux. The Emperox died suddenly and his daughter, the new Emperox, was not quite prepared to be thrust into leadership so soon. That, and the expected Flow catastrophe, makes for an uneasy start to her rule. As you may have anticipated, all the uncertainty leads to much political maneuvering — read that as plotting and backstabbing — among the rest of the ruling houses of The Interdependency.
So, politics, impending doom, human foibles, space travel, and lots of foul language. Vintage Scalzi. I can hardly wait for the next volume.