Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi

First, go back and listen to The Dispatcher if you haven't already. Murder by Other Means is the sequel and I don't think it would be best as a stand-alone. The world is pretty much like our world except 99.9% of murder victims come back to life, transported from the murder scene to someplace they feel safe, usually their home. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, someone who steps in and kills you when you’re at risk of an unintentional death, like a car accident or unsuccessful surgery, letting you live 99.9% of the time. This time around, Tony is taking some jobs that are maybe not as legal as he would like, but money is getting tight all around. It starts going awry when he is hired to help a businessman make it to China quicker than he could by plane. Then he's a witness to a bank robbery that goes bad. When people start dying and Tony needs...
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The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

I have problems with series ending. Either I love the series and don't want it to end or I get bored with the series and don't make it to the end (which happens more often). Trilogies simplify the issue a little. There's only three, so chances are if I enjoyed the first one I won't have gotten bored yet by the time the third rolls around. On the other hand, there's only three and I want more time in the world with the characters. The Interdependency falls into the second category. I love it and want more. Maybe a follow-up trilogy. Please. First off, don't read The Last Emperox as a stand alone. Read the first and second, in that order. Meet the characters, discover the world, learn the politics, get an idea of the science. (I'm not really sure how scientific the science is, but that's beside the point. Don't worry that this is too sciencey, it's not.) The Last...
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The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

I loved The Consuming Fire! It's the middle book in a trilogy and do read #1 first. Galactic travel through the Flow is breaking down and human civilization is in grave danger. The Emperox of the Interdependency is convinced, but she’s surrounded by a lot of wealthy, powerful people who are actively conspiring against her. Grayland II is a tough lady. She's convinced her empire is in danger -and it totally is. She's doing everything she can to figure out how to save as many people as possible, but as always there are others who are in denial or simply trying to spin things so they come out on top. There's politics and adventure and even a sweet romance that doesn't take away from the story as a whole. The Interdependency is full of strong women, royalty, religious women, heads of merchant families, assassins, and everyday women whose common sense and unrestrained-ness make them just as valuable. I like that for the...
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The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher was one of the the free Audible Originals this month and since I'm a Scalzi fan of course I picked it up. At heart it's a mystery. A man is missing, probably kidnapped based on the evidence at his home. One of his co-workers is coerced by the investigator on the case to help her, since he knows the ins and outs of the victim's job better than she does. The kicker is that the man was a dispatcher. In a world where it's almost impossible to be murdered—you can die of natural causes or an accident, but those who are murdered come back 99.9% of the time—dispatchers provide a second chance. They kill you if an operation goes awry, if you're injured beyond hope in a car accident. Then, you wake up at home, naked, but otherwise fine, just like you were in the few hours before the trauma. Tony is a good guy, at least at the...
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Head On by John Scalzi

Head On by John Scalzi

Head On could work as a stand alone, but I think it's best to read Lock In first, to get a full feeling for the world and the main characters Chris and Vann. In the near future, a portion of the population has been affected by Haden’s syndrome, leaving some “locked in,” awake and aware, but unable to move or respond without computer/mechanical help. Our mystery this time around centers on the death of a Hilketa player. The player, like almost all Hilketa players, is a Haden, piloting his specialty threep remotely. Since the crime involves a Haden, it's FBI territory and this case falls to Chris and Vann. It doesn't hurt that Chris was at the game when the player died - Chris's father is  potential investor in the Washington franchise. The world Scalzi has created is well-done - believable and possible, but t heart, this is a police procedural with a cool sci-fi backdrop. Chris and Vann make great partners...
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Lock In by John Scalzi

Lock In by John Scalzi

Mystery and science fiction make a great pairing and Lock In by John Scalzi does it well. It's a police procedural set in a future where a portion of the population has been affected by Haden's syndrome, leaving some "locked in, " awake and aware, but unable to move or respond without computer/mechanical help. I find a read more sci-fi every year and really enjoy it. Lock In is light on the sci-fi side. It's near future and the tech is obviously more advance, allowing human brains to connect with "threeps" (named after C-3PO), the robots that allow locked Haden victims to move, talk, interact with the real world and with the Agora, a virtual world that allows Hadens to communicate with each other, to have their own "spaces" and communal areas. But it all feels distinctly possible and here. It's not space ships and AI robots. There are Hadens who never use a threep, who basically live and work in...
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