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review 2018-03-01 22:11
"The Dispatcher" by Jon Scalzi
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.

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review 2018-02-22 18:47
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
The Dispatcher - John Scalzi,Zachary Quinto

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. They 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’re gone for good but if it’s accidental or due to murder you typically come back. Why? Who knows. No one knows! You just have to go with it. You’ll drive yourself crazy waiting for answers if you’re a questioning type like me.

Of course with this type of scenario certain reckless morons do stupid reckless things like cutting off each other’s arms for fun or joining a fight to the almost death club. Thus the shadier dispatchers step up to earn a little side cash to fix the mess and keep it quiet. Who can blame a guy for wanting to make a few extra bucks? But this type of work comes back to haunt our main character when a former colleague goes missing.

A mystery ensues and this is where my tired brain started to shut off and daydream about chocolate cupcakes and my next book. Needless to say, it wasn’t able to fully engage me after the enthralling beginning but that may be my fault. I went into this one blind and vaguely remembering that I read somewhere online that Scalzi was a funny writer. Or maybe I've mixed him up with someone else? I didn’t find this one funny but it may be an anomaly or I may have no sense of humor. Either way, it just okay in the end. 

If you have the chance and inclination, check out the audio version narrated by Zachary Quinto. He does a fine, fine job with the material.

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text 2017-12-28 19:18
On Sale: 80% off (mostly under $1.50 Kindle Monthly Deals) Science Fiction
Across a Billion Years - Robert Silverberg
The Dispatcher - John Scalzi
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch
Cast in Chaos - Michelle Sagara,Michelle Sagara West
Blood Kissed - Keri Arthur
Bannerless (The Bannerless Saga) - Carrie Vaughn
A Fall of Moondust (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) - Arthur C. Clarke
Fortress of Ice - C.J. Cherryh

36 SF genre books; highlighted above are just ones by authors I recognize.


Blood Kissed (The Lizzie Grace Series Book 1) - Keri Arthur  is likely to be more Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy than Science Fiction genre.


Fortress of Ice - C.J. Cherryh is a truly excellent series.


On sale in he SF section of kindle monthly deals (special offer that showed on my kindle device) .





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review 2017-11-11 18:57
Fuzzy Nation ★★★★☆
Fuzzy Nation [Unabridged] - Wil Wheaton,John Scalzi


I’ve never read the original story, and I am disappointed because I was under the impression that the two books were packaged together, based on the foreword and the reviews placed highest on the Audible website, but apparently they’ve now split the two books and must be purchased separately.


Still, I enjoyed the Scalzi reboot very much on its own, without reference to the 1963 version. This is what those goofy ewoks should have been. Figuring out what’s going on with the main character, Jack Holloway, and his motivations kept me engaged with the plot, which is a little heavier on the legal intrigue than I usually care for, and I sincerely appreciate that Scalzi includes a strong, smart, independent female character who, 

in spite of having had a past romantic relationship with the MC, does not serve as a love-interest or in any way feature as a sexual object for him or the reader.

(spoiler show)


Audiobook, via Audible. Wil Wheaton provides a fantastic performance for the readings. Although he doesn’t attempt a lot of unique “voices” for the different characters, he reads with spirit, humor, and excellent pacing, and I’m never in any doubt as to which character is speaking.  


I read this book for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 12: December 23rd: Book themes for Saturnalia:  The god Saturn has a planet named after him; read any work of science fiction that takes place in space.  –OR– Read a book celebrating free speech. –OR–  A book revolving around a very large party, or ball, or festival, –OR– a book with a mask or masks on the cover.  –OR– a story where roles are reversed. I do have a ruling from the game overlords that an extraterrestrial setting counts as “in space”.


ALSO: This book would have fit a couple of other hard-to-capture squares:

  • Square 4 Thanksgiving Day (Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need)
    Because a small group of people – Holloway, Isabel, Sullivan, and eventually that other guy that hates Holloway – go to considerable risk and against their own personal interests to see that the Fuzzies are recognized as sapient beings, protected from genocide, and are given control of their own planet
    (spoiler show)
  • Square 7 International Human Rights Day (any story revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused)
    Because the Fuzzies are a previously unrecognized race of sapient beings whose rights to their own planetary resources are being trampled by the company that is mining there
    (spoiler show)


Previous Updates:

11/10/17 4%

11/10/17 61%


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text 2017-11-11 01:46
Fuzzy Nation - 61%
Fuzzy Nation [Unabridged] - Wil Wheaton,John Scalzi

I love, love, love Wil Wheaton's performance in reading the audio. If I could have all my audiobooks read by Wil Wheaton, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, and Jayne Entwistle, I might double my book consumption. 


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