The collapsing empire

An intriguing premise.

A disaster creeping forward, unseen to many, realised by a few. Slow to start, but sudden when it comes.

A nice setting for a science fiction drama, but somewhat squandered with the political setup. Where the expanse gives me a plausible near future of competing factions, this feels more like 70s mega-corp sci-fi or a throwback to the “great house” settings of something like dune. It’s a stroll with an elite who hold a universe of agency by themselves. The only other contesting forces are natural.

I might have let that pass, but I found a lot of difficulty with the book writes women. I start to wonder about the prevalence of tom-boy-ish characters in sci fi written by men. Like spunk equals feminism? Or boy scout motivations that wouldn’t come off well in male character are portrayed as edgy by gender swapping.

This book stands in contrast to much of the great fiction I’ve read this summer. The characters of Ann Leckie, or especially Margret Atwood, arrive with rich inner lives. They live and breath where the characters of the collapsing empire seem wooden in comparison. I know very little about the author, or how critics have reviewed this book. Perhaps I’m miles off base, but that was my feeling reading it, and it killed the book for me.

I bought this and the next book at the same time as they were on sale.

I might carry on, but I’m not blown away.

| Huw ·