CBR10 Bingo – Listicles – io9’s New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Need to Put On Your Radar This Fall
Good news! I didn’t have to wait until 2019 to get The Consuming Fire. Don’t read this review if you haven’t read The Collapsing Empire.
Things in the world are pretty awful. Climate change is making itself felt and still political and business leaders ignore it. Authoritarianism, nationalism and extremism are on the rise. Wealth is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands and still people are convinced to vote against their own interests. The power of inertia keeps us moving towards the proverbial cliff’s edge. How will we save ourselves and our planet? Will we be able to swerve before falling off the cliff? Will anything survive in the aftermath of a global disaster? I’m talking about reality. I haven’t gotten to the book yet.
John Scalzi is hopeful, and his books reflect that hope. It will require decent people willing to do the right thing, trust the scientific process, and prioritize long range benefits of species survival over the short range interest in preserving what they have now. In a Scalzi, you can count on a few decent people doing the right thing in the face of greed and injustice.
The second book in Scalzi’s The Interdependency series, The Consuming Fire, picks up where The Collapsing Empireleft off. Emperox Grayland II and her scientist, Marse Clairmont struggle to convince the political, business and church leaders to take action to ensure the future of humanity as the Flow, which allows for travel between star systems, collapses. Having pointed out the danger, they are now opposed by almost everyone else. Emperox Grayland II uses her authority as the head of the church to announce religious visions that support the science. Marse continues sciencing and gets to go on an adventure.
Visions are unsettling and they disrupt order. No one in power wants order messed with. They don’t understand that disruption is coming, whether they want it or not. My visions disrupt order now to prevent chaos later. But that’s not useful for them, so they are planning something to preserve the order they know.
In this science fiction universe, a benevolent ruler, a scientist, a few decent people, and some not so decent people who are smart enough to recognize their long range survival options, band together to save humanity. There’s still a third book, so humanity isn’t saved yet. In the real world, it’s going to be more complicated. There is no benevolent ruler to pull our collective heads out of our collective asses. Instead we will have to rely on decent people to do the right thing and look past their own noses to save humanity. We will have to be those decent people.
I knocked a star off this very enjoyable read for Scalzi getting a little too clever and meta on occasion. I don’t like having to tell an author, “yes, I see what you did there, stop patting yourself on the back.” In other words, this could have used a meaner editor who would remove some bits Scalzi loved.
I listened to Wil Wheaton’s narration of the audiobook.