Title: The Kaiju Preservations Society
Author: John Scalzi
Release Date: 17/3/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 52
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free ARC copy from TorUK ,via Black Crow PR in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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 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 am a huge fan of Scalzi’s work so knew what to expect going into this one. I love his sense of humour, his snappy writing style and his out of the box thinking while also having intelligent and creative characters and just fun adventure plotlines that make for the perfect fun filled read.
I think Scalzi describes this book best himself in the books acknowledgements:
"As a Writer I am grateful to this novel, because writing it was restorative. KPS is not, and I say this with absolutely no slight intended, a brooding symphony of a novel . It’s a pop song." … "We all need a pop song from time to time, particularly after a stretch of darkness
This is the perfect description for this book. It is just filled with light hearted fun that really just made me smile. The writing is light and humorous but still filled with wit and cutting social commentary. My personal politics matches Scalzi’s so I enjoy his social observations and the observations of the events of 2020 added some much needed light humour and catharsis now that we can look back on it. There are a number of references to classic sci-fi dotted throughout the book which are fun to spot.
I really liked Jamie as a character. Again, like Lock in, the gender of the main character is never eluded to, Jamie being a more common female name in the US and a more common male name in the UK. The same is true of Jamie’s ethnicity and general appearance. Scalzi is really skilled at allowing you to connect to a character without any visual clues to that character, I find I end up with my own image of the character which makes me really invested in that character. Scalzi is also really good at slipping in subtle rep of all kinds into his work in an effortless and subtle way giving you a full cast of side characters with different sexualities, social backgrounds, ethnicities, races and religions making the worlds and environments he creates feel real. Especially as the employees of the KPS are drafted from all across North America you would expect to see a range of diversity that mirrors that of North America.
I really liked that Jamie was an expert in science fiction, it allowed them to blend into the world of the science behind the Kaiju but also to allow the science to be explained to them. I loved the hypothetical science in this book. Like his other works there is just enough real well researched science to make the hypothetical science plausible. This makes me, a Scientist, really happy, the real science is just good enough that when they hypothetical science is introduced its fun to play with the same what if’s that Scalzi has and there are some awesome what if’s creating the most interesting world building in this book.
Overall this is just FUN. Its exciting escapism at its purest and I loved it.