Tag: Science FIction

A Double Review of The Dispatcher

Today Kim and I both review The Dispatcher by John Scalzi. We both listened to the Audible version which is masterfully narrated by Zachary Quinto. It is a short book, the narration is 2 hours and 18 minutes.  Needless to say both Kim and I loved The Dispatcher!

Author: John Scalzi
Narrator: Zachary Quinto
Published: October 4, 2016
Audible: 2 hours 18 minutes

Book Description from Goodreads:

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 avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.

It’s a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it’s too late…before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

Zachary Quinto: Best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes – brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.

Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Kim’s Review:

This was a short, simple mystery, with a doozy of a twist! I had never heard of anything like the dispatchers before. If a person is murdered, then 9 times out of 10, they’ll end up alive and well in their bed at home. I’m not sure where that idea came from, but I love it! And I’m totally crushing on Tony Valdez . . . it helps that he has Zachary Quinto’s voice. 😊 I liked that it was a short listen; the author didn’t detail every little thing in every room, conversations weren’t repeated, and the mystery was easily solved with some good, old detective work. It’s simple, enjoyable, and easy. I really enjoyed this audiobook!

Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Listened To: March 16-18, 2018
Jessica’s Review:

The Dispatcher has an interesting premise to it: If you die at the hands some someone else, 999 times out of 1000 you come back to life.  If you die of natural causes you do not come back to life.  It is a mystery why this started happening, but we do learn about the first person that this happened to.  The Dispatcher is short at just 2 hours 18 minutes long.  And it covers a lot in that short time period!  I listened to the Audible version which was narrated by Zachary Quinto and I couldn’t help but picture him as Tony Valdez as the story progressed.

Tony is a Dispatcher, one who helps to bring people back. In other words, he murders them.  We see several examples of Tony doing his job, which he has done for eight years.  One of his dispatcher friends disappears and it is a race to find out what happened to him.

This is a novella that will make you think about many things: who could become a Dispatcher and how do they handle their job when there is that one chance out of 1000 that the person will not come back? What does someone experience when they die and then come back? There are also theological, ethical, and moral issues that surround this story and the novella brings those up as well.

I liked Tony’s character and hope that Scalzi will expand on him and write more. If this ever comes to life on film I hope they cast Quinto in the Tony Valdez role!

The Dispatcher is highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Atlas Died

26074375

Author:  Michelle Onouorah
310 Pages in Kindle

Published: July 29, 2015
Dates Read: July 29th- August 29th, 2015

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Book Summary from Amazon:

USA circa 2628. The only thing unchanged? Those three letters.

There are no states.
There is no freedom.
Lobbyists make all the laws.

And a government of the people, by the people, and for the people died many, many years ago.

The nation is now split in two: wealthy Atlas residents and impoverished Commons workers. The middle class, an endangered species, accounts for less than 1% of the already-shrunken population. Ravaged by stagnant wages, exorbitant taxation and limited education, Commoners, the majority of USA citizens, struggle to survive. The political and civil inequity has transformed “the land of the free” to “the home of the miserable” and destinies are no longer self-determined. The very values the nation once held dear have languished for centuries in history books no one has taken the time to read.

No one except Decker Channing.

A 32-year-old police officer, Decker has silently witnessed systematic oppression his entire life and knows it is the antithesis of what the founding fathers stood for. When a life or death situation forces him to make a split decision, Decker realizes he can no longer remain silent. Unwilling to watch his country descend into further tyranny, he rallies the men and women around him to rise up and take a stand. Drawing strength from the ideals of the abandoned Constitution, he and a mysterious dark eyed woman fight to restore the USA to what it once stood for: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But in order to do this, one thing becomes clear.

Atlas must die.

***Please note this story is 70% action and 30% romance, told from the hero’s POV. This story would primarily appeal to readers who like action, dystopia, politics, and a thriller element alongside romantic themes.***

**Please also note that there are instances of profanity, mild violence, and unapologetic themes of religion, politics and spirituality within this work of fiction. Reader discretion is advised.**


My review in 2015:

I am a huge fan of Michelle Onouorah! This is her newest novel. And this is another good one written by her. This dystopian novel really makes you think about where our country may be going, and not for the better……

This book really made me think and I teared up a little towards the end.

I can’t wait to read more from this author!

[Top]

Dies the Fire

116445

Author: S.M. Stirling
573 Pages in Paperback

Published: August 3, 2004
Husband read in 2016

My Husband’s Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.


 

My husband recently read Dies the Fire. He said I would like it since I like post apocalyptic settings in books, movies, and tv shows. I asked him to write a review! Here is his review of Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling:

“Dies the Fire” by S.M. Stirling is the first of what has become his longest and most prolific series, Emberverse, spawning over a dozen works of long and short fiction. It is itself a spinoff of the Nantucket series, wherein an Event of unknown origin sends the modern-day island of Nantucket and its inhabitants back in time to the Bronze Age. The backlash from the Event causes an irrevocable change in the rest of the modern world, immediately rendering all forms of electricity and high-pressure combustion inert, and this is the beginning of the Emberverse tale. The power goes out, engines stop working, even gunpowder fizzles instead of exploding. The immediate effect is obvious: Death and destruction on a worldwide scale, as planes crash, hospitals go dark, and emergency workers are left with less than basic first aid equipment to work with. Within weeks there is only a fraction of the world’s population left, and the survivors fight each other for the scraps.

That sounds like the setup for an amazing post-apocalyptic story, and for the most part it is. The world of Emberverse is scary, thrilling, and sad, while the story of the protagonists gives a feeling of hope and accomplishment. Unfortunately for the reader, the author relies too heavily on coincidence and chance meetings (an award winning horse trainer from Texas in the middle of the Idaho mountains *just* when our male protagonist needs him most, followed shortly by an expert archer/bowyer/fletcher with a British SAS background conveniently dangling from a tree for our female protagonist to find and rescue) and explains it away with one throwaway line about how only the most skilled and hardy folk will survive such an event. Certainly they will, but the fact that they all happen to be within a few hours’ walk of each other is a ton of disbelief to suspend.

Despite the cheeky deus ex machina in nearly every chapter, Stirling manages to weave an epic tale of medieval adventure set in the beautiful but daunting Pacific Northwest wilderness. He isn’t shy about inspiration from Tolkien, given one minor character’s obsession with the world of Middle-Earth, and there is an obvious “good versus evil” element to the plot. But the true enemy in this world is the depravity of Man and just how terrible people can be when they are forced to take on nature without modern luxuries. There is also a deep exploration of female protagonist Juniper Mackenzie’s Wiccan faith with great attention to detail and accuracy. Granted, her faith just happens to be extremely useful to surviving such an event, but nonetheless it shows Stirling’s penchant for research and realism in his writings.

Readers of this book will immediately recognize the influence it has had on more modern post-apocalyptic tales. The male protagonist, Mike Havel, is a blueprint for characters like Jake Green from the television show Jericho and Miles Matheson from Revolution. Indeed, Revolution seems to borrow the vast majority of its concept, plots, and characters from “Dies the Fire”, including some scene-for-scene remakes and Matheson aping Havel’s dark, witty sense of humor. One can even see some influence on the “Walking Dead” comics (and by extension, the television show), again with scenes that appear to be lifted directly from Stirling’s work.

Overall I would say it’s a great, fun, though often dark read, but the reader must be prepared for a little eye-rolling when the main characters win nearly every hand dealt to them with a wink and a shrug.

[Top]