*Have You Heard? * Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure* The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Posted February 8, 2017 by RobbieLea in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

*Have You Heard? * Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure* The Dispatcher by John ScalziThe Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Published by Audible Studios on October 4th, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 127
Format: Audiobook
ISBN: 1596067861

Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.
One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher - a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death's crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.It's a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it's too late...before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

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I was unfamiliar with author John Scalzi’s work at the time I downloaded The Dispatcher, a novella he wrote specifically for the audio format. I yielded to temptation because it was free, although that is no longer the case, and because of the bizarre hook in the book description. I was reeled in like a helpless fish as I sat still for a few minutes and tried to imagine what the world would be like if you couldn’t really murder anybody. Through some mysterious chink in natural law, the clock is reset backward for murdered people. Their earthly remains disappear from the death scene and, out of every 1000 people, 999 will wake up naked in their own beds! This phenomenon leads to a whole new line of work – the dispatcher, a licensed professional who is paid to kill people when death is inevitable so they have this 999.9% chance of survival. Isn’t that just the craziest thing you’ve ever heard? Think of the moral and ethical dilemmas! I wonder how many protest groups would take to the streets if this were, indeed, a possibility? Nevertheless, it does make for engrossing fiction. As with any world-changing development, the government with its endless regulations wants to get involved, and, as with anything the government regulates, there is the potential for abuse, corruption, and under-the-table dealing. So, the way the characters respond to their circumstances really isn’t new . . . it’s just the implausible nature of what they’re dealing with that makes the story so compelling.  When the professionals find they can make a little extra money for Christmas gifts, second homes, and sports cars in the vast gray area of illegal dispatching, the door is opened to all kinds of nefarious shenanigans.  The plot revolves around Tony Valdez, a dispatcher employed by an insurance company, whom we first meet in an operating room where his assignment is to dispatch (murder) a patient before he can die on the table.  The author succeeds in making Tony both likable and sympathetic despite the fact that he is flawed and teeters precariously on the balance beam of ethical practice.

You may recognize the narrator, Zachary Quinto, from his role as Spock in the Star Trek remakes. His performance is like the prize in the Cracker Jack box because both he and the author are very good at what they do.

I wish all of you had been able to take advantage of the free promotion; however, at $10.47, The Dispatcher is worth the current price compared to the cost of lengthier audiobooks. At about 2.5 hours, it’s not a major time investment for listeners who need something brief but entertaining. The really cool thing about The Dispatcher is John Scalzi writes about an unreasonable notion in such a reasonable way. For those who like mystery and romance with their Sci-fi, there is a bit of each. And, a bit of good news for those of you who aren’t into audiobooks, there will be a hardcover version available in May of 2017.

About John Scalzi

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. He’s best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller “Redshirts,” which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right-thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word “Whatever” into Google. No, seriously, try it.

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