The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Scalzi is the author of the great 2005 book Old Man’s War.

The Dispatcher — a 2016 novella — was commissioned by Audible (Amazon) as audio first.

I’d call it SciFi young adult.

The plot is bizarre and fascinating.

In the wake of an unexplained phenomenon worldwide — when people are deliberately killed, they disappear from their site of death and reappear, reset to several hours earlier, in a safe place — the profession of “Dispatcher” evolves. Dispatchers euthanize mortally-injured people before their natural deaths, enabling them to reset.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher recruited by the police to assist in investigating the disappearance of another Dispatcher.


Murder by Other Means is a 2020 sequel novella. Equally good.

Murder would now seem to be impossible. Anyone you kill will simply transport back to their home, waking up naked.

Yet there is a way.

Tony Valdez gets caught up in the plot where people start inexplicably committing suicide.

… Or were they murdered by other means?

related – How writing an audio-first novella changed John Scalzi’s writing process

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