I love John Scalzi. From Old Man’s War to Fuzzy Nation to The Dispatchers. I haven’t loved everything he’s done (Zoe’s Tale and the Interdependency series come to mind), but I generally look forward to everything he’s written.
I also love kaiju. Or, at least, the idea of kaiju. I was excited to see Pacific Rim when that came out, until I actually saw it. And I loved Godzilla movies when I was a kid.
So there was an inevitability to this book when I heard about it.
Jaime Gray gets fired from an uber Eats-type company at the beginning of the book – which is also the beginning of the 2020 pandemic. With an apartment of people depending on them for income, they’re forced to find a new job – which arrives just in time with the Kaiju Preservation Society: an organization built around protecting kaiju on an alternate Earth from crossing the barrier that protects our world from theirs. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue, and Jamie quickly finds themselves trying to juggle one massive asshole and an incredibly dangerous kaiju.
You may have noticed my playing a little loosely with the pronouns. Jamie’s gender is never specified in the book. I read the entire thing assuming Jamie was a man before realizing what Scalzi did. There’s no reason Jamie has to be a man, or any gender in particular, for that matter. I guess that says something about me.
The book itself was entertaining enough. I didn’t hate it. But it just felt thin. The plot was pretty straight forward, the bad guy was immediately identifiable, and there were no real surprises or twists along the way.
While it may have been an overall letdown for me, it is nice seeing writers incorporating the pandemic into their writing so soon. I haven’t been reading much this year, but this is the second story I’ve come across that discusses Covid, after Rainbow Rowell’s If The Fates Allow short story.