I have yet to read a John Scalzi book that disappointed me. For the record, this isn’t the case with most authors. Maybe I haven’t read his early stuff or whatever book he considered a dud. THE DISPATCHER is a short story. Audible had this version read by Zachary Quinto which of course meant I had to listen to it.
Like most short stories I love, I finish the book wanting more. They always leave me feeling unsatisfied. It’s probably my aversion to them on the whole. From it’s beginning, Scalzi weaves a world of science fiction where the threads of this universe differ from ours in just one or two small ways. But those small differences make the world story worthy. In THE DISPATCHER anyone who is murdered comes back to life. Imagine what that would do to your every day normal world. That’s what John Scalzi does and we see it all play out from the eyes of a Dispatcher.
When I was a 911 Officer, one of the most common calls we’d get were about someone or something hitting a dear. The dear run amok where I lived and they were always getting hit out on the highway. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do to save the dear and in my county, an officer would be sent out to “disptach” the dear. They’d pull their gun out and shoot it in the head, drag the corpses to the side of the road, where a cleanup crew would later pick up the carcass and dispose of it properly.
The point in this book where it clicked with my brain, that the main character was a “dispatcher” as in, they go kill the deer, damn…. hooked. Only in this book, they “murder” people so they can be “reset” prior to whatever caused them to be at near death. Let’s just say Mr. Scalzi, I’d like to read more stories in this world you’ve created.