The Kaiju Preservation Society

eBook, 336 pages

English language

Published March 14, 2022 by Tom Doherty Associates.

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4 stars (8 reviews)

Jamie’s dream was to hit the big time at a New York tech start-up. Jamie’s reality was a humiliating lay-off, then a lowwage job as a takeaway delivery driver. During a pandemic too. Things look beyond grim, until a chance delivery to an old acquaintance. Tom has an urgent vacancy on his team: the pay is great and Jamie has debts – it’s a no-brainer choice. Yet, once again, reality fails to match expectations. Only this time it could be fatal.

It seems Tom’s ‘animal rights organization’ is way more than it appears. The animals aren’t even on Earth – or not our Earth, anyway. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures roam a tropical, human-free world. And although Kaiju are their universe’s largest and most dangerous animal, they need support to survive.

Tom’s ‘Kaiju Preservation Society’ wants to help. However, others want to profit. Unless they’re stopped, the walls …

3 editions

Popcorn, but good popcorn

3 stars

As Scalzi says in his afterword, this is a three-minute pop song of a novel, not a complex symphony. However, even the lightest of pop songs needs effort to make it work, and this does work on its own terms. It's a fun book that rattles along at a good pace, throwing enough big ideas into the mix to keep you reading and not asking too many questions about whether it all makes sense. Spends a lot of time setting up for not much plot, and relies a lot on coincidences to give the ending a personal stake for the protagonist, but does what it says on the tin and people who like this sort of thing will like this.

Escaping the pandemic by learning to survive on a world with gigantic monsters

5 stars

A fun, breezy story about unexpectedly landing a job at a secret scientific base on a parallel world studying giant Godzilla-like animals. Which is about as dangerous as it sounds. Plus, of course, not all humans are interested in the kaijus' welfare, and the KPS has to step up the "Preservation" part of its name.

There's some interesting world-building in terms of what kind of environment and ecosystem would actually support 100-meter-tall animals, what kind of biology would be able to handle the size, the energy, shooting beams of radiation, etc. And what might evolve to protect itself in a world with kaiju. And of course: what role nuclear explosions have in the whole thing, because these are kaiju after all!

It's also weird because it takes place in 2020. Like, real 2020, complete with Covid-19 lockdowns and everything. The main character starts out working for a GrubHub competitor at …

Scalzi being Scalzi, in a good way

3 stars

KPS is not, and I say this with absolutely no slight intended, a brooding symphony of a novel. It’s a pop song. It’s meant to be light and catchy, with three minutes of hooks and choruses for you to sing along with, and then you’re done and you go on with your day, hopefully with a smile on your face.

Not much to add to that, really.

Exploring a world where Kaiju really exists. Good fun.

4 stars

When COVID-19 hits New York, a recently fired executive who now makes deliveries ends up making deliveries to a certain person who recognizes his (nerdy) skills and asks him to join the 'non-profit' KPS. It is only later that he learn what KPS means, and it's there in the title. Indeed, the society moves its members to an alternate earth where Kaiju exists. The KPS is there to study them and to make sure they are safe from the monsters from our world.

I decided to read this novel based on the title and the premise, but ended up enjoying it. What starts out sounding ludicrous ends up being a really fun, breezy novel to read, where most characters treat each other with respect while putting up with horrible puns and Kaiju in-jokes. The science is, of course, hand-wavy, but in the context of the novel, it works and there …

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4 stars