Earlier this year, John Scalzi announced that his next book would be coming out in 2017, and now we finally know what it is: a brand new space opera called The Collapsing Empire.

Scalzi is probably best known for his military SF series, Old Man’s War, where the Colonial Defense Force worked to ensure a secure footing amongst the few habitable planets in the galaxy. This new book isn’t connected to that series at all: it’s a totally new universe, and that’s pretty exciting. Here’s the plot description:

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal—but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off every human world from faster than light travel forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency—are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

What really gets us excited for this book is that Scalzi has a long track record with creating new worlds, and he noted that this will be the first of a brand new series, and the first novel in his major, 13 book deal with Tor.

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With the successes of Scalzi’s OMW universe (which he’s taking a hiatus from after the appropriately named The End of All Things), it’s great to see him building an entirely new world. This may be his biggest talent as a writter; in addition to Old Man’s War and its sequels, his novel Fuzzy Nation was a fun, universe that felt really fleshed out. This new series has the looks of a huge sandbox for him to play with, with some appropriately high stakes.

We have a bit of time before we get to see how this turns out—the book is slated for release in March 2017.

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[Tor.com]