Book Review: “The Dispatcher” by John Scalzi

I’m a fairly new convert to the worlds of John Scalzi, but so far I’ve been impressed. No water turning to wine, mind you, but it’d be difficult to name another author who’s blending sci-fi, speculative fiction, and crime thrillers into such a terrific mashup. For me, originality is something to be celebrated in all of its forms, and what Scalzi does is present scenarios that are unlike anything I’ve heard of or discovered elsewhere.

dispatcherThe premise to The Dispatcher is a fascinating one — what if people “regenerated” when they die, returning to their home intact? But Scalzi takes it another step further — what if that ONLY happens when you’re murdered?

Enter the need for an official “Dispatcher,” someone licensed and bonded by the state to oversee dangerous activities or operations in order to kill the person should something go wrong. I bet even James Bond would have applied for this job, being handed an official license to kill. (floor tom drum hits, ending in a crash)

Now I’m the first to admit there are abound 97,134 holes in this set-up (rounded up), but once you push those aside it’s an intriguing premise, and one that Scalzi explores in a variety of ways. Theological, legal, moral; all these ramifications are touched upon, if lightly, as well as working on “the dark side of the street.”

The ending sort of came together too fast for me, but this was meant to be a short novella so, once again, I can shove that aside. With a killer performance by Zachary Quinto and a price-tag that’s hard to beat (FREE), this is an audiobook you should definitely pick up.  Highly recommended.

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