The Dispatcher is a novella that was released in 2017 by well-known author John Scalzi. The book is just over 100 pages in length with the audio version, superbly narrated by Zachary Quinto, at nearly two and a half hours long. The best way to describe this book is a rather dark noir science fiction with some unique and interesting story elements. Because it is more in the noir genre, you can expect there will be some strong language and gritty violence; and you would not be wrong in this assumption and be aware this book is not one for younger audiences. The book takes a bit of a different path from the author’s other works, but that is not a bad thing. The blending of a noir story with pieces of science fiction gave me a feeling of being in the movie Blade Runner. At the time of this review, the book has nearly fifteen-thousand ratings on Audible and overall the book has received a 4.5 out of a possible five stars.
If you are into more graphic stories including a mysterious medical condition along with a touch of a procedural atmosphere, you may be in for quite a surprise with this book. Although it was short, the story flowed very well and the writing was concise. Even with the book being condensed it was also quite descriptive. I’m purposefully being a bit vague in this review apart from what is shared in the publisher’s summary because much of the enjoyment found in the book is revealed as it progresses. Again, this piece is a bit of a divergence from the author other material because the book does not contain any of the expected humor or aspects often found his former books. Again, this is not a bad thing, but understand it is unlike other books he has written. The story, the writing, and the characters are all solid in this rather short novella.
Zachary Quinto is a newer player to Audible’s narrator scene with only three total books, at the time of this review, currently narrated by him. With that said, I would easily listen to anything else he narrates as his voice was clean, clear, and crisp. His voice worked very well for telling this grittier story and it helped me to get a sense of the darker scenes. His voice simply flowed smoothly along with the text. The audio itself was professionally produced and edited with no noticeable artifacts or issues. I will be looking forward to listening to future releases narrated by Zachary Quinto in the coming years.
If you are looking for a quick gritty novella that is not intended for younger readers due to language and violence, I suggest you pick up this book and give it a go. It can be completed rather quickly. The writing along with its narration really make it a book worth listening too, and I’m sure you would not be disappointed no matter the genre you enjoy.