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.
©2016 John Scalzi (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
I picked this up as it was a free book but it totally delivered. great plot, concept & characters. I hope this will be pulled out in to other books
Zachary Quinto's performance made this short story amazing, he's a great actor and it shows. I will definitely listen to another story by John Scalzi as he's a good author and hope I can find something else read by Quinto.
Excellent stuff, an absolute unchartered minefield of overlapping ethics, science and spirituality. Outstanding narration by the voice artists, my only niche of a criticism is that the story could have been longer and more complex addressing the theology of life rather than just a speedy thrill fill. Much appreciated.
But excellent. Proper intelligent sci-fi story telling. the plot remains logical all the way through to the end.
The narration is top notch.
Imagine Philips Marlow played by bogart on the set of a doctor who story for adults.
I am a Wife, a Mum and a Grandma. I am also strong willed and wilfil at times. I have worked all my life and drempt for wining the lottery
Obviously chose this book because it was free but I found it to be a unique story line.
The whole idea of a dispatcher is bizarre but John Scalzi explains the career and the way it evolved reasonable quickly.
Definitely a good short story and would consider buying further books should they be written.
"IT'S HARD TO GET MYSTICAL ABOUT YOUR JOB"
IT'S JUST TAX MONEY
1. Those who love Scalzi's sense of humor, need to know that this has none of that.
2. This is dark and serious
3.This has none of the he said, she said, that seems to upset some people.
4. There is not an iota of science in this.
5. This is more of a paranormal, and seems to be a set up for a series similar to Harry Dresden.
5. Nothing is ever explained as far as the phenomenon that leads to dispatchers. Dispatchers kill people just before they die of other causes. This makes them come back alive 999 times out of 1000.
6. It is entertaining and worth your time.
7. narrator is top notch
"I want more!"
Love the concept.
Scalzi made another masterpiece of a world.
And Zachary Quinto is amazing. Who knew he would be so awesome at narration.
As I said, I want more.
"Mind blowing (in more ways than one)"
This is my first outing for this author as sci-fi is a genre I visit only occasionally. This freebie from Audible was a very welcome surprise. The idea of the dead returning to life if their deaths were inflicted by another person is unique and just a bit mind blowing. The first scene in the hospital operating room was gripping, leading seamlessly into the primary action to come. Scalzi also shows that he has put a lot of thought into the social, psychological, ethical and religious ramifications of his concept, and where exploitation of the process can be used to illegally profitable purposes. The writing is crisp, the action moves quickly and the characters are vividly drawn. If this becomes a series I just hope Scalzi can maintain the freshness of his idea and his characters in a format longer than this short story gem.
"No, he is not dispatching taxis!"
This written for audio novella is superb. Only one with the imagination of John Scalzi could write such a book. The narration by Zachary Quinto is as good as the content of the novella.
This book was incredible! For a free book and a 2 hour ride this surely will fit perfectly for the part!! Only down side is there wasn't more!!!
Finally a good performance of female characters by a male performer. Almost every male performer gives females the most ridiculous falsetto and intonation. Quinto is calm and sounds like the voice in my head without the strain of most male actors. Plus it was a super fun story, although without Quinto I suspect it would have sucked.
"An intriguing sf mystery"
One day, the world changed, in a simple but far-reaching way. It's now nearly impossible to intentionally kill anyone.
If you kill yourself, you're dead. If you die in an accident, or of natural causes, you're dead. Butif someone intentionally kills you, 999 out of a thousand, you come back. You wake up alive, naked, and in what you consider a safe place.
Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher, a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch someone in immediate danger of death so that they have (999 times out of 1,000) a second chance at beating the cause of death. Dispatchers are, for instance, required to be present for all surgical operations by both the patient's and the hospital's insurance.
But dispatchers can also take private jobs, some more legitimate than others. Tony doesn't like the "unofficial" work and doesn't do it.. He only does "official" jobs and some very select, wholly above-board private jobs now. An old friend of his, though, continued doing private jobs routinely--and has now disappeared.
The police are looking for him. The missing friend's wife blames Tony. A rich, powerful old man who was the missing man's last client before he disappeared asks Tony whether it has ever happened that a dispatcher has "failed," i.e., had the dispatched person not return twice in succession.
And a mobster who has supposedly gone legit has a lot of questions about Tony's interest in the case.
I really like Tony, even though it gradually becomes clear he hasn't been entirely honest with us. The police detective on the case is also quite likable, though she and Tony find each other a pain in the posterior.
I got this on Audible while it was being offered free.
"Great story, great performance"
Death's not forever
There is a mix of mystery and philosophy.
The main character, Tony Valdez, a man who is morally suspect but is overall a good person.
He'll kill you to save your life.
Zachary freakin' Quinto! Scalzi meets Spock. Why didn't anyone think of this pairing before. I only wish it were longer. I hope Scalzi brings Tony Valdez back.
"Great short story that could expand easily."
Scalzi created a universe which could easily be expanded upon to explain the intriguing notion of this immortality.
"Great movie material"
Every once in awhile Audible gives us a book that is a real treat! Sometimes perhaps to spark our attention to a new series or for some other motivated reason, but in this jewel, they have made up for all the downloads of other freebies that wasted my time (for time is valuable), and my ears. This book is the payload, it's that good!
There's no attempt by Scalzi to explain the supposed science behind The Dispatcher and it takes not one iota from the story. To me it has more of a paranormal slant, wrapped in accidental scientific medical breakthroughs by an 'Animal Farm' research team that tripped over a treatment and found a cure, almost.
It's a great little novella!
The narrator is the best I've heard since Frank Muller, who was certainly one of, if not "the best " ever (he's sorely missed). I love that the he said/she said is mostly absent and ...that you still know which character is 'speaking.' That speaks volumes for Quinton. Maybe not for other actors, but if he ever needs or wants a second career he has surely found it and what a treat for the listeners..
I reckon you've figured out by now that I loved this story. Have read Scalzi before and he certainly delivers again...
Oh, some reviewers mention the unexpected (?) ending that makes use of a loop hole. I found nothing remarkable about it, only satisfaction in that it was a good neat, tied up ending!
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