Books to Binge: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

I actually do not like writing reviews, I realized today. I find them easy to write for magazines, because magazine have their audiences, and certain expectations, and also word count limits. No obligation to be deep. That can be so daunting.

And then there is the thing when I have no idea what to write when I am writing one for Rantalica, because I…

…get to choose which one to write about, and that means I will mostly pick what I really, truly like; and being true to my Croatian cultural conditioning or some old saying or some such, there is only one kind of a review that is fun to read and that is a trashing one, which, when you pick only book you like for review, makes you the writer of a boring one.

(-and that is a bigger challenge!)

(-challenges are overrated!)

…have no editor to toss more than half of it out, for meandering thoughts and overlong sentences and writing overtly about me more than about the given topic (or book).

(-edit yourself, it’s a blog!)

…have no hard deadlines to make me write the text in advance and be my own editor.

(-oh, how I cannot part with my procrastination)

…have no audience expectations and cannot decide which of a million thoughts is good enough to include and develop.

(-because work?)

…have no one to stop me from googling what others have written, binge reading, and then just having imaginary conversations with those people instead of reviewing.

(-imaginary conversations are better used as fiction pieces!)

(-also, books two years old need no reviews!)

I really like The Dispatcher and all I have to say is, go read it, if you haven’t! Love murder mysteries, noir SF, and audiobooks? There is no better book for you today than this.

(-you write too much copy and it shows! also, as copy, that would suck so much.)

Someone, someplace wrote that it was a bit thin, because novella, and had too much dialog, because written for an audiobook and my brain exploded. So, THAT is why I liked it so much!

(-where did the brain cells go?)

I love that tingly feeling of a good murder mystery simply told, and that is exactly what The Dispatcher gave me, just like all the Agatha Christie I used to devour. Set in a futuristic world, with noirish tinges, the novella is written with just enough detail in turn of phrase, content and voice (both narrator and Zachary) to make me pay attention and have fun while listening.

I have no trouble with novels in audio, but I particularly enjoy novellas in that format. How to get away with murder might be an old question, but in the twisty answer(s) provided lies the joy of listening and reading. It is fun finding out which parts of the narrative get notices in audio and which stand out with letters on a page.

In a world where (almost) all murdered people can and do come back, it is interesting to find out who might hate that kind of a setup, other than villains or criminals. The lack of detail, rather than depth, that The Dispatcher as a novella heavy on dialog has is great for my afterwork reading. It lets me enjoy the story and leaves so much for me to interpret on my own. Makes me wonder what a play would be like or a short film. I hope I get to find out.



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