Saturday, April 7, 2018

Scalzi, John (The Collapsing Empire)

Unfortunately, Scalzi is a pretty lazy writer. At least in later books, he doesn't take the time to create different types of characters, crafts his plots to repeat known things to separate parties, and he is overly dependent on foreshadowing of events. I will say I enjoyed the idea behind The Flow and its disruptive effect on the empire he built around it.

He doesn't develop his characters so that they have different personalities. Yes, they might have different views onto the world, but they're all essentially the same person. In this book, they are strongly opinionated, well-spoken folks who have the courage of their convictions. No one ever doubts themselves, no one ever thinks they are in error, no one has some vice that we can visibly see. Thus, we can't really relate to them. They're a version of humanity that Scalzi would like to live with, but they never feel real to us.

He repeats himself in his plots because, quite frankly, he doesn't take the time to read them after the first draft. (He's said this himself, that he edits as he goes, and then sends the result of that to the publisher. That's not how editing works, dude.) If he did read them afterwards, he'd know that he repeats himself all the time. Yes, to different groups of people in the story. But that is boring for the reader, and guess what? We're actually the most important people.

And, man oh man, I knew what would happen when Cardenia and Marce met, and I knew what would happen when Cardenia toured that ship. I really can't tell if Scalzi foreshadowed these events, or whether I could tell because of his deliberate plotting, overall. Regardless, it's boring, so see the point above.

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