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Narrator is fantastic, story is good too, free till November 2 on Audible

The Dispatcher - John Scalzi, Zachary Quinto

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.

The Dispatcher is free until November 2, 2016.

 

Review:

Dear John Scalzi,

I read one and a half book from you and liked the book I finished well enough, but was not in a greatest hurry to read your backlist. However I enjoy reading your blog entries and follow you on Twitter , so when I learned that you wrote Audible exclusive novella/short story narrated by Zachary Quinto, which was free for preorder and still free till November 2, I could not one click fast enough.

From what I read on your blog if I understood it correctly, there is no printed version of the story yet, but it will appear in a few months or so. Right all we have is an audio performance from Zachary Qunto and what a performance it is!

Now, let me tell you about my experience with audio books – I have not listened to that many of them. If I attempt to only listen to audiobook, normally my mind starts drifting. It usually goes the best when I am doing something around the house. I cannot concentrate on audiobook alone usually and almost always end up switching to print or e – book that is all I am saying. I think I listened to twenty – thirty titles during last couple years. This book is short in audio – I believe around two and a half hours. All that time I was sitting on the couch or moving back and forth to stretch my legs, but my mind certainly was not drifting anywhere. I was just mesmerized and let’s be clear here, while I enjoyed Zachary Quinto in “Star Trek” movies, I certainly did not consider myself huge fan of his and was not predisposed to like his performance. Obviously opinions may differ, but  from my not very extensive experience of listening to audiobooks, I do not yet remember a narrator who made both male and female voices of the story equally convincing to me. Oh I remember listening to radio shows where several actors played different characters, which were very good, but that was different; this was like listening to one actor doing all those voices and he was very convincing to me.

However, opinions may of course differ and if at the time this review goes live the story is not free, definitely check an audio sample on Amazon and see if it is to your liking.

Praiseworthy narration that IMO elevated the story to the totally different level of awesomeness, you may ask what about the story itself?

Well, I thought it was quite good. Would I like it as much as I did if I were reading it? I don’t know.

I hope so at least.

Basically the blurb gives you the premise of the story very well – in this world, which is very close to “our” world, few years (or many years ago, due to the unavailability of the print version I am not sure how to check) ago the victims of intentional murders became to come back to the land of living. Basically in 99 cases out of 100, give or take, the murdered person’s body disappears and appears back at their home or other place where they feel safe, mostly home in their bed, often naked. The victims of the accidents do not come back from the dead, only victims of murders. Would you like to know why this happens? Me too! But this very deliberately left in the open and you either accept the premise or you don’t .

Now let’s think about this. Of course there would be people and institutions who would want to take advantage of this interesting turn of events. Insurance companies for example now would not pay hospitals for the difficult operations unless they all have dispatchers present in the room who can interfere in case everything is goes south and doctor declares patient unsalvageable. So dispatcher kills person one minute and couple minutes later the patient is back home, without trauma of operation. Unfortunately, the underlying need for the operation does not disappear. For example in the beginning of the story Tony safely dispatches older patient whose heart operation went very badly – but his heart issues do not go anywhere. He still needs an operation, maybe next time it will go better?

And of course we can imagine other folks wanting to use dispatchers’ services and yes, they do take private gigs sometimes. After the end of Tony’s successful dispatch police detective approaches him and wants to talk to him about the dispatcher who was actually supposed to be at this operation, but asked Tony at the last moment to substitute for him.

He disappeared, and detective is involving not very willing Tony in the investigation.

I really can’t spoil the story, it is not long and pretty much everything from that moment feels like a spoiler. I will say that for such short story it felt very suspenseful to me and I had no idea what will happen next.

I do recommend it.

Narration: A. Story: B.