The Dispatcher - John Scalzi, Zachary Quinto

"The Dispatcher" is a novella-length piece of speculative fiction, written from the point of view of an almost-but-not-quite anti-hero, that explores the impact of on VERY big change in the natural order of things: murdered people come back from the dead.


If you can swallow that completely-unexplained hey-strange-shit-happens premise, then the rest of the book is fairly logical working through of the consequences, wrapped around an investigation into the apparent abduction of a Dispatcher.


The writing is sparse and functional but very effective. The voice of the main character has a hard-boiled detachment that would be consistent with being able to do his chosen line of work. The puzzle and how it is solved are entertaining. The idea is original and is manipulated with skill.


There wasn't much by way of emotional engagement and none of the characters makes it beyond what's needed for them to carry out their function in the plot.


John Scalzi kept everything moving along at a good pace. Zachary Quinto's narration was well-judged: lively without being melodramatic. It was an enjoyable, undemanding four hours.