Book Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society

Happy Valentines Day! Let’s celebrate the holiday with a nice romantic… monster novel?

Some movies are Oscar material. They earn their prestige through quality screenwriting, moving performances, drama, and gravitas. Others are summer blockbusters. They latch onto the cultural zeitgeist with explosions and cool-factor. The Kaiju Preservation Society is a summer blockbuster of a book: light, fun, and rife with explosions.

This book is Jurassic Park meets Men In Black with a dash of satire. Let’s talk about it. 

The Basics: 

Title: The Kaiju Preservation Society
Author: John Scalzi
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Adventure, Comedy
Published: Tor, 2022

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

This book is very much of our time. Jamie is an overeducated, underemployed science fiction nerd. When the Covid-19 pandemic hits, the only job he can find is as a food delivery driver. Through a chance meeting with a friend of a friend, he is recruited to join a clandestine “animal rights” organization which manages and protests the habitat of – you guessed it – towering monsters with utterly alien biology. As Jamie explores more of this awe-inspiring new world, he finds a sense of camaraderie and purpose he did not know he was missing. However, where there are otherworldly wonders to explore, there are always villains scheming to recklessly exploit them. Despite all the forces aligned against them, can Jamie and his friends live up to their organization’s name and… preserve the kaiju? 

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Why You Will Love This Book: 

All speculative fiction trades heavily in sense-of-wonder. We dive into our escapist fantasies and imagine what it would be like to be part of their world (cue Little Mermaid soundtrack), or, if the setting is rough, imagine how hardcore we would look overcoming those challenges. KPS, however, is fully concentrated sense-of-wonder. Yes, a plot happens, but, let’s be honest, based on the title, cover, and the summary, you could probably guess what will happen with 75% accuracy if you’re genre-savvy. That’s not what drives this story. We turn the pages for the beautiful vistas of this strange new world, the majesty of the titanic kaiju, and the deep worldbuilding. 

Allow me a brief aside. 

Last year, I read and reviewed 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea, and bemoaned the fact that it is at least 60% mini-lectures about electricity and buoyancy. Not very exciting stuff for the modern reader, however, for the late 1700s audience, I imagine the novelty of these ideas was captivating. The science of KPS, which we will generously call ‘theoretical’, has a certain charming internal consistency which never failed to pique my interest. It’s not The Expanse, but it at least tries to be Star Trek, not Dr. Who

If a comedic, fast-paced, self-aware sci-fi adventure strikes your fancy, you will enjoy KPS

Where Can You Learn More: 

Check out our review of another Scalzi title, Redshirts. Also, consider perusing the author’s blog, Furiously Reasonable.

Happy Reading, Folks

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