On October 4, Audible will exclusively release John Scalzi’s new novella The Dispatcher in audiobook form, with Star Trek‘s Zachary Quinto narrating the science fiction thriller. In a near future where people who get murdered come back to life, the eponymous Dispatcher Tony Valdez finds himself distracted from his job—of “releasing” people who are near death for a second chance at life—when a fellow Dispatcher gets kidnapped.
Scalzi geeked out about the casting on Twitter:
Folks, don’t tell @ZacharyQuinto this ’cause I wanna look cool in front of him, but I’m so geeked he’s on “The Dispatcher” I could plotz.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 30, 2016
He also pointed to Quinto’s experience in various SFF properties as key to the decision. As he explained to Entertainment Weekly, they were looking for “obviously someone who has really good acting chops, but also… someone who not only can talk the talk—which they’d have to do with narration—but walks the walk, knows the genre, knows the field, knows about the worlds that we’re going to inhabit.” While playing Spock has cemented him in sci-fi, his time on Heroes is what really sealed the deal: “He’s done far-future stuff, but he’s also done contemporary urban fantasy in Heroes, which is right down the alley of what The Dispatcher is. When he came up as a possibility, everybody was just like, ‘Oh yeah. That makes total sense.’”
Here’s the complete synopsis, from Audible:
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.
There will eventually be a print edition, Scalzi explained in a blog post announcing the news. Audible will have the novella as an exclusive for a window of time, and then Subterranean Press will publish the print edition, “which includes some amazing artwork,” sometime in 2017.
You can pre-order The Dispatcher free until November 3, a month after its release.
Photo credits: Athena Scalzi / Matt Doyle