I have to admit, I didn’t especially enjoy the only other novel by John Scalzi that I read (Redshirts) so I was hesitant about The Kaiju Preservation Society, but the premise was just too good to not at least give it a chance. The basic gist is that there are parallel worlds to our own Earth, and one them is home to kaiju, basically nuclear powered dinosaurs the size of mountains; once when one accidentally got through the barrier between worlds, someone who saw it eventually came up with Godzilla. Humans who are committed to studying them and keeping them out of our world (and most of us out of theirs) work for the title organization.
I knew Scalzi liked to get a little (or very in the case of Redshirts) meta, and he knows his geekery quite well; this is definitely present in the The Kaiju Preservation Society but it’s not too overwhelming. I don’t think I’ve seen any of the original Godzilla or other kaiju-type monster attack movies (or if I have, it was so long ago I don’t remember), and I still enjoyed this story. Basically, we follow new recruit Jamie, who has joined the KPS after some bad corporate job experiences, and some of his fellow newbies as they adjust to the knowledge there really are kaiju, and that most everything in their world is dangerous to humans (and most everything else too). Everyone is some sort of expert; Jamie’s job is go-fer but even he has an MA and an unfinished PhD in sci-fi literature. His colleagues are biologists, chemists, physicists, etc. Even the helicopter pilot Satie has some sort of advanced degree, although we never find out what that is and it doesn’t really matter. Everyone is a geek, and it’s fun to hear them try to explain their expertises to each other and apply to new situations including helping kaiju breed. According to Satie, kaiju are like pandas in that they are “cute, but they’re not what you’d call rocket scientists, and sometimes they forget how to breed”. The adventure to spray a reticent male kaiju with “horny juice” pheromones and make him chase the team to a female counterpart is entertaining in itself but also in the banter which involves, among other subjects, a discussion of millennials ruining kaiju by naming the current pair of interest after one of the main Twilight couples.
The story isn’t all fun, since there’s some real consideration of the pandemic, human impacts on their world, and a good dose of corporate evil; someone kaiju-naps the above mentioned female kaiju after she’s started nesting, and then there has to be another adventure to do further kaiju (and probably human) saving.
Overall, this is probably a better introduction to what Scalzi can do than Redshirts, since it’s more interesting if you know the sci-fi geekery involved, but still entertaining if you don’t. There’s a good bit of humor well-scattered but also some more serious ideas beneath it all.