The Kaiju Preservation Society is intended to be 100% escapist, lightweight fun for the reader, and it certainly succeeds at that. I read the whole thing on my first plane flight since 2020, and it went down easy.
The protagonist, Jamie Gray, is working as a food delivery driver in the early months of the pandemic when he gets recruited by an old friend to staff an “animal rights organization.” Given the title of the book you may guess approximately what comes next. It turns out that he has signed up to help study and protect kaiju on an alternate but adjacent earth — and to keep them from crossing over to our earth and Godzilla-ing Canada.
So, why only three stars? First of all, on my scale three stars means average/unremarkable, and that’s exactly what I found this book to be. The premise is pretty cool and as far as I’m aware pretty original, and the book just hangs a very straightforward plot with plug-in characters on it. If you’ve read other Scalzi books, you will be very familiar with the personalities of basically everyone involved … the good guys are all good-natured and competent in their fields and make slightly snarky remarks to each other, but other than their names and demographics they’re hard to distinguish from one another personalitywise. The bad guys are mostly absent, but when they show up they too are mildly snarky and just similar overall, except maybe four notches up on the “callous” scale.
This book is very much the product of a confident, successful, skilled pop fiction writer having an idea and cranking one out, so it’s good, but it’s not something that’ll stick with me in any meaningful way. If you like other Scalzi books you’ll probably have a solid time reading this one, too. If you don’t, this isn’t gonna change your mind. If you haven’t read Scalzi before, I might recommend Redshirts as a better entry point, but also this is fine and the same. It’s fine, it’s good, it’s Scalzi.