The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – Review

Published: March 25, 2022

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: N/A

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 264 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

The Kaiju Preservation Society
 is John Scalzi’s first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that’s found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too–and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die. 

I always know that if I’m looking for a book that’s absolutely going to make me roll with laughter while also making poignant, satirical observations about our society, I can pick up the latest John Scalzi book. The Kaiju Preservation Society is no different and its initial setting is definitely relatable because we all just lived through it! 

It begins in the early days of the COVID lockdowns and our main character Jamie Gray has just been fired by a food delivery service start-up where he thought he was secure. Shortly after we find him working as a food delivery person for that same business while struggling to pay rent. Salty indeed. Long story short, one of his regulars tangentially knows him, knows he’s in dire financial straits, and offers him a *sweet* opportunity with KPS as hired muscle. As Jamie says many times, he’s here to lift heavy things. Jamie is off into the mysterious wilds with a group of researchers but he has no true idea of what he’s in for until he crosses into a neighboring dimension and sees his first kaiju. 

This neighboring world, dubbed Kaiju Earth, is full of incredible research opportunities from the kaiju themselves, to their parasites, to the geography and botany of this new world. I really love exploring new worlds like this and seeing them through the character’s lens of wonder. The simple fact that there are giant nuclear reactor creatures wandering about that could crush you beneath their feet without even noticing is SO MUCH FUN. Jamie Gray has a great character voice, though I will allow that it’s much like that of the characters from The Interdependency series. I suppose it’s uniquely Scalzi and Will Wheaton’s narration definitely makes them seem even more similar. For me that’s not a bad thing at all because I find it amusing and enjoyable. 

Overall, I’d say if you’ve enjoyed John Scalzi’s other more humorous works then you’ll probably like this too. If you’ve always wanted to consider Godzilla or Mothra from a vaguely scientific standpoint, you might also like this. It was a great read that pokes fun at humanity’s worst bits while also not taking itself too seriously.


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