A spectacular modern-day sci-fi romp through an alternate Earth with mountainous creatures and a bunch of nerds trying to study them. Jamie, our narrator, stumbles into a job as a lifter of things for KPS but, for some reason, doesn’t ask what KPS stands for. Upon arriving at his new workplace it becomes apparent: the K means Kaiju. Jamie and three other newbies to the company become quick friends as they try to wrap their heads around their new surroundings and the ‘animals’ they’re going to be protecting.
Life on Kaiju Earth is a lot more exciting than lockdown COVID Earth back home: with everything on the planet trying to eat you while you try to study it, there are some close calls, although Jamie seems to take it all in stride. As a massive sci-fi nerd himself, he has the mental capacity to perceive of such a reality and so it’s all not quite as much of a mind-melting shock as it could be.
Scalzi’s writing is quick, chatty and funny, and this is the perfect book to decompress with. It’s cool – there are giant monsters – it’s fun – there’s some great action – and, it has some heart too as the crew genuinely care about each other and the Kaiju around them. Capitalism rears is ugly head and threatens everything on both Earths and our team of plucky newbies take it upon themselves to fight back and save the day. They might not have a plan, per se, but they’ve got the right attitude.
The Kaiju Preservation Society is wonderfully written, includes diverse characters (without making a scene about it) and has a nicely cynical view of US politics back in 2020/21. Plus, Kaiju. I mean, what’s not to get excited about there? As Scalzi himself says in his note at the end of the book, this is a story to feel better after the shit few years we’ve had back in reality. It’s not meant to be a genre-breaking masterpiece for the ages; it’s meant to be fun. In that, Scalzi has certainly excelled himself.
NB: You can also see this review on Black Dragon Books here: https://www.blackdragonbooks.co.uk/?p=11926