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The Dispatcher

(The Dispatcher #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  22,603 ratings  ·  2,815 reviews
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, s
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published April 20th 2017 by Subterranean Press (first published October 4th 2016)
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Steven Read it again. They explain it very clearly.
Mark I thought it was quite good, yet didn't go as far as it easily could have with the creative premise. It was worth it though.…moreI thought it was quite good, yet didn't go as far as it easily could have with the creative premise. It was worth it though.(less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  22,603 ratings  ·  2,815 reviews

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Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas Review

I find that speculative fiction is usually best when married with another genre. Personally, I’m partial to a good mystery. Set that mysterious tale in a science fiction/fantasy setting, and I’m probably going to be on board. In my eyes it’s a longstanding recipe for success: Jack McDevitt’s Alex Benedict novels, The Gone World, Altered Carbon, Leviathan Wakes, Zero World, Gnomon. The list is great mystery/spec fic novels is unknowably long.

The basic idea: Would you murde
Written at the proverbial, easy-to-access, reach-all-literacy-levels eighth-grade level, The Dispatcher has an intriguing core idea. Unfortunately, the writing kept it only two steps above boring for me. Dialogue-heavy, it lacks descriptors and imagery that would have made it more immersive. On the plus side, the fundamental concept is decently integrated into the dialogue, always a challenging task in sci-fi/fantasy. Yet, since description is so scanty in other areas, it does make those moments ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
I have a soft spot for John Scalzi. Both as a person (he seems to be a lovely, funny and smart guy, if his online persona truly reflects his personality) and as a writer. I love how fun his books are, I love his brand of humor, and I absolutely love how genuinely happy I am every time after I read one of his stories.

And so my only concern about The Dispatcher, a short urban fantasy/noir novella created for Audible, was that it wasn’t read by Wil Wheaton (I was starting to think Wheaton/Scalzi wa
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one's a bit hard to classify because it's fully a mystery, a SF adventure, and a Fantasy, rolled in one. :)

Enter in a major universe-changing condition: 999 out of 1000 murdered people come back. They arrive naked in their homes after the moment of their death. There is always that one that doesn't, though.

Enter in the shady and the not-so-shady people who take advantage of this little universal loophole. Dangerous operations in hospitals can be reset for a couple of hours. Horrible acciden
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
OK so you’re playing a video or computer game and you’re fighting monsters or shooting bad guys or finding treasure and then things start getting sideways. The dragon smacks you with his tail or the Serbian thugs score some hits or you drop into a pitfall and your hit points or energy level or whatever sinks to zero and you fade to black.

“Game over, man!” as Bill Paxton so ably stated in Alien 2. But wait! If you were in the 80s, you may not have to reach into your pocket for another quarter, or
What if anyone who gets murdered returned alive almost instantly? That sounds like an improvement for humanity, but just think about what it would do to Netflix’s stock price if new true crime documentaries were no longer a thing.

That’s the big idea here. For an unknown reason the nature of death changes one day. If someone is killed by another person their corpse vanishes, and they appear unharmed back in their homes. Only deaths from natural causes or accidents are permanent with only one in
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
An interesting, "different" Urban Fantasy. Short in length at just shy of 140 pages, it mainly stands as a paranormally-touched novel with a noirish detective vibe. The main character may not be a cop, but he gets involved with an actual detective to help solve the mystery of where he old friend and co-worker has disappeared to. The noir vibe comes from the gritty dialogue exchanges when interrogating suspects and following leads. Throw in big crime bosses and secret cover-ups, and this comes ac ...more
Richard Derus
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a Kindleborrow from my friend Roni. Thanks, ol' buddy ol' pal!

The Publisher Says: 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
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Imagine you are playing a video game. You are walking down the street with a Bazooka in your hand to complete your mission and some jackass throws a grenade at your face.... and you dies. (spectacularly)

What happens next?
You respawn and go on with your game life.

Now imagine a world where that happens in real life. Whenever someone gets murdered, they respawn without a scratch. So whenever some poor bastard gets mortally wounded in an accident, the best thing someone (Read: Dispatchers)
Zachary Quinto's narration is exceptional, but the story itself left me... wanting. I noted some dialogue quirks that irritated me, (a few cliches and a lot of he saids, she saids), but I did like the story. I just ended up vaguely unsatisfied.
Thanks for the free audio available through Amazon here:
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This excellent short story is something different that moves at a brisk pace. Hopefully, there is a novel forthcoming. 8 of 10 stars
I liked this! (Big surprise there. I've liked everything Scalzi has written.) This novella really acts like a proof of concept, though. We learn about the world, but we don't learn why, and we don't get into the nitty gritty of it all. It's like an urban fantasy murder mystery where the murder victims can't actually be murdered. I would like more of them, please!

Heads up, this is a free Audible novella narrated by Zachary Quinto. It's only free for the next month, so jump on it, people.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Imagine a world where it is nearly impossible to kill anyone. In The Dispatcher, John Scalzi’s sci-fi novella which takes place in the not-so-far future, this is exactly the state of affairs. One day, people simply woke up to this new game changer. If you committed suicide, you stayed dead. If you died in an accident, you stayed dead. If you passed away due to illness, you stayed dead. But for some bizarre reason, if you w
Andrew Smith
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Mahlon
Shelves: science-fiction
Imagine a world in which it’s no longer possible to murder someone or to kill another through warfare. Well that world exists, here in this short but memorable tale. It’s not clear why this is the case but if you are shot, stabbed or even run over by a car – pretty much any death other than natural causes or suicide, in fact – you will almost certainly wake up at home, naked and alive. In this world there exists the role of a dispatcher whose job it is to finish off anyone who is unfortunate eno ...more
* A Reader Obsessed *
3.5 Stars

This is quite the interesting AU where an unknown phenomena has occurred in our world. People who are intentionally killed (aka murdered) don’t die, and awaken where they feel most safe, finding themselves alive and perfectly well.

To say the least, crime has changed and evolved to accommodate such, and agents known as Dispatchers, are available for all sorts of situations, lessening the death rate even more. They’re the fail safe to many things such as surgery, accidents, or high risk
This was a really fun, quick listen (since it is an audio book), pretty much what I have come to expect from Scalzi but with the added bonus of Spock (Zacharay Quinto) reading it to me.

This book very much reminded me of Legion by Brandon Sanderson. Both novellas drop the reader into a world that is very much like ours, but with one difference. In Legion it is a man who can conjure (but not dismiss) hallucinations that are extremely knowledgeable in a given subject area. In this one people, save
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*3.5 stars*

I'm into books that are different with cool concepts, and this is certainly one of them. I LOVED the ideas in The Dispatcher, but I felt like it was a bit too one-note.

In the world of The Dispatcher, no one can be murdered. Or, I should say, if they get killed by another person, they come back to life. Thus, when someone is about to die, they have someone murder them on purpose so they can come right back to life.

Right away, I had 1,000,000 questions. I wanted to know the WHYS soooo
Will M.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks, sci-fi
Very first Scalzi book that I read and I'm quite disappointed with myself because why haven't I read his other novels? I own a bunch of them and keep ignoring them on my shelf. I'm really glad that audible had a deal on this short story weeks ago for just $0.99.

This novel is way too short but really packed a good plot and terrific writing. The whole idea of being a dispatcher was really interesting and explained well even though it's just a short story. I will be reading more of Scalzi's work r
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

John Scalzi has really struck gold with his new urban fantasy novella, The Dispatcher. This tale a fast-paced, easily digested murder mystery, which is tightly constructed, amazingly simple yet immensely thought provoking. Simply put, this is one damn good read.

Set in the near future, the world is basically identical to our own – except it is impossible to kill anyone. Yes, you can die by natural causes, accident, or suicide, but no one can kill you. Murder is
3.5 stars

This is an interesting police procedural with an interesting hook that you don’t find out until somewhat later in the story. Or at least I didn’t find out until it happened. That caught me of guard and, at the same time, pulled me further into the plot. Best way to get into this story, or any short form fiction, is to not know anything about it.

Since it’s so short there’s not much to say without giving the hook away, but I’ll try anyway.

Set in present time Chicago and it actually feels
Robin (Bridge Four)
This was so interesting. Imagine a world where if you are murdered you wake up in your bed in the same level of heath as you were about 12-24 hours before. A world where it is someone’s job to murder dispatch someone if they are going to die unexpectedly. It is kinda like getting another life in a video game if you do it right.

John Scalzi made this an incredibly interesting story about what society would be like. Hospitals would have a dispatcher on staff and they could basically get you a do ov
Edward Lorn
If J.J. Abrams wrote an episode of Law and Order this would be the script. If it were a film, Tom Cruise would no doubt play the lead role. It's that kind of commercial product that reeks of packaging. Plastic and formulaic. Not terrible, but I'm glad it was short and didn't overstay its welcome.

This was free on Audible yesterday and is, as of 10/06/2016, still free. It's worth a listen for that price.

Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
"Are they afraid of you because you kill people?"
"No. They're afraid of me because I'm closer to God than they could ever be."

(I apologise for the copious Zachary Quinto gifs in advance. I just love him)

Image result for zachary quinto spock quotes

The Dispatchers is my first John Scalzi, and it's a pretty satisfactory read.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher - a licensed and trained professional who kills people for a living. He "dispatches" people who are in the process of dying from an accident, an operation or some less than savoury acts.
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
This story takes place in a world where insurance companies employ dispatchers to help prevent the costly premature death that failed surgery often presents. They’re present during surgery and if the patient is on the edge of death they are there to zap them with a lethal dosage of premature death. Then the person usually awakens naked and good as new in their home rather than dead and buried and saddling their families with grief and lots of expenses.

See in this world if you die naturally you’r
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read in time for second instalment

A free audiobook novella is something I wouldn’t refuse as such, but one written by John Scalzi, one of my favourite scifi authors, and performed by Zachary Quinto, is something altogether impossible to ignore!

The story follows Tony Valdez, a ‘dispatcher’, working for an insurance company and about to witness a surgery procedure. Through this scene we are introduced to the concept of dispatching - murdered people return to life 99.9% of the time, reappearing
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
I picked this up for free over at Audible. It was a decent story based on an interesting concept. It kept my interest and I thought the narration was great.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, reviewed, netgalley
This novella is a mystery with an intriguing concept. For unexplained reasons, almost all murder victims no longer remain dead, they just pop back into their lives unharmed. Dispatchers are tasked with killing people who are about to die (for example as the result of high risk surgery). They get to go on living, and there are no messy insurance claims. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher and when one of his colleagues goes missing the police ask him to explore the world of off-the-record dispatching to ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, audio-read, z2017
4.5 stars for the Audible version

This was a quick listen (2h 20m) that I had been putting off, I think mostly because the cover and blurb just didn't do it for me. Well, you know what they say about judging books by their covers ;) An interesting premise (murder victims don't stay dead), and a great main character (likeable but not squeaky clean) were combined to make a fantastic story!

Reminiscent for me of Lock In, it nicely blends some SF ideas into a mystery plot. I didn't find the story to
Stevie Kincade
This is a free 2.5 hour audio novella available on Audible from the author of "Redshirts" and narrated by this guy:

This is one of those books with a bizarre supernatural premise, it is not Science Fiction. It is a mystery built around a strange idea. The mystery will be solved, the strange premise will not be explained.
I tend to dislike bizarre supernatural premises but if you can go along with it, Scalzi's dialogue is excellent and Quinto's performance is brilliant.

I don't think there is any p
aPriL does feral sometimes
'The Dispatcher' is a story about licensed and bonded assassins who abide by established rules to kill people, a business which has come about because of a strange new mystery. For an unknown reason, living humans who are murdered are being reset backwards in time to 20 hours or so before being murdered. No one knows why it is happening, only that one day murdered people started waking up naked on their bed at home while their remains vanish from sight from where they were murdered.

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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

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The Dispatcher (2 books)
  • Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher, #2)

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