The One Sentence Review
An entertaining and exciting adventure that really benefits from focusing on the fun factor.
Author – John Scalzi
Pages – 272
Publishing Information – March 17th 2022, Tor Books
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.
Thankyou to Black Crow PR and UK Tor for the opportunity to read an advanced review copy of this book and to take part on this blog tour. You can check out the full schedule below:
I was immediately drawn to such an excellent premise as the one for The Kaiju Preservation Society, being a fan of all things megafauna, dinosaurs and huge monsters and this book honestly read like a blockbuster. It’s all the better for John Scalzi having one of those ideas we’ve probably all imagined to ourselves, even as children, and just gone with it.
It’s why it is such a enjoyable read, because in a world where every book is trying to be new and different, Scalzi actually makes this book new and different… by not caring about being 100% original. Wait, how does that make sense, you ask?
What I mean is that the author has spent less time deliberating over what this book will bring to the genre, and decided to write something that a lot of people will simply find cool, interesting and fun. And that’s the perfect way to serve a huge slice of escapism with the same sort of quality as switching off the work, world news or life responsibility brain and sitting down with an exciting movie.
It’s also incredibly accessible with such an easy to read style and a lack of scientific jargon that would otherwise prove jarring to some readers. This is helped along by the light hearted banter between the characters and the witty jokes and observations dotted throughout. Also… Kaiju just get horny sometimes, you know?
These Kaiju, which I believe is in simple terms basically a a huge monster in Japanese culture – Godzilla perhaps being the most famous example, live on Earth, except it’s an alternate Earth that they spend their time on (for the most part). There’s the introduction of the multiverse concept in which many versions of earth exist in alternate dimensions – and some scientists and governments have a way to access them. It’s actually presented more believably than it sounds and I really enjoy the sci-fi concepts used. Although these Kaiju are certainly a dangerous threat, there are no real horror elements here like you might find in Jurassic Park, a book and film that features some obviously similar parallels. We humans are almost too small to be even noticed by the Kaiju – unfortunately plenty big enough for their parasites though *shiver*. Despite this, we humans still have a role to play in their future and I liked the ecological angle. The clue is in the title, afterall.
Another big positive for me were the characters. I mentioned above about the witty dialogue, but Scalzi has also presented a really diverse bunch. What I particularly liked too is that they aren’t remarkable or interesting just because of their background or gender identity – they’re well written and colourful characters in their own right without being highlighted and defined by their so called differences. This normalisation is a positive step, especially written by a popular author with a wide reach.
When thinking about the main points I want to convey about the book, everything keeps coming back to that feeling of light hearted fun and that’s what I have to stress; this is a book you won’t want to put down, that will present you with interesting ideas without squeezing your brain, that will leave you feeling like you’ve watched a great movie you know you’ll stick on every time you’re feeling a bit glum. It’s a hot chocolate on a cold day or a berry smoothie on a warm one. It’s not there to be studied and dissected, but to simply be enjoyed with a smile on your face.