The Dispatcher - an interesting novella from Scalzi

  • Posted on: 2 February 2018
  • By: Lore

The Dispatcher Book CoverNobody can explain why, but it has become almost impossible to murder someone. In this new reality for humankind, 999 times out of 1000 when a person is murdered their body just disappears and they reappear back in their home, alive and well. They have full memory of the events that led to their death but in all other ways they are in the physical state they were in 12-24 hours prior to their demise. Of course this fundamentally changes human society and this short novella tells the story of a "missing person" police investigation which takes place within this interesting new world.

Murder has gone from being a crime to also being a tool used for good by licensed Dispatchers. If someone is about to undergo some risky surgery then a Dispatcher will be standing by just in case things don't go well. The Dispatcher's role is to intentionally murder the patient to prevent an accidental death because that most likely means saving their life. Tony Valdez is just such a Dispatcher and he suddenly finds himself involved in a missing person police case when one of his fellow Dispatchers goes missing.

Despite the fact that this short story lacks his usual sense of humor, John Scalzi is able to grab your attention and keep it as he explores the concept of using murder as a tool for good. Of course it does leave you wanting more but it is still one of the better novellas that I have read. For audiobook fans, Zachary Quinto does an excellent job as narrator and he delivers this material quite well. If you need a quick filler read (or listen) then you can't go wrong with The Dispatcher. It certainly leaves you wishing it was a full length novel.