The Kaiju Preservation Society
Jamie’s dream was to hit the big time at a New York tech start-up. Jamie’s reality was a humiliating lay-off, then a lowwage job as a takeaway delivery driver. During a pandemic too. Things look beyond grim, until a chance delivery to an old acquaintance. Tom has an urgent vacancy on his team: the pay is great and Jamie has debts – it’s a no-brainer choice. Yet, once again, reality fails to match expectations. Only this time it could be fatal.
Reviewed on 1st May 2022
John Scalzi has produced a great, light-hearted yet incredibly serious novel, set during but not about the pandemic, which kept me well entertained.
After being sacked and forced to work for a corrupt food delivery firm, an old friend offers Jamie a mystery job which turns out to be working for the titular Kaiju Preservation Society.
The opening is particularly funny to the extent that I had to read passages aloud. It’s a long time since something has opened so well, and a little disappointing that the same level of amusement wasn’t kept up through the subsequent chapters.
However the plot picks up then and keeps the reader engaged. There’s an element that’s almost Harry Potter - we’re aligned with a character who is totally new to this world, lives in a dorm room with his friends, gets lessons, fights monsters, and ends up having to save the day. There are more spoilery parallels too.
That’s not to say it’s derivative, just an amusing observation about how this sort of story works.
I really enjoyed it, and am glad that the author found some time amid the grim few years of pandemic to produce something that is a bit fun, as well as having a serious message for our time.