Like many others, Jamie Bell’s life was turned upside down by Covid-19. Dropped from their position as a marketing executive by a local start up, they finds themselves working as a delivery driver while trying to keep their flat-mates afloat. All this changes though with a chance run in with an old classmate named Tom. Tom works for an “animal rights organization” and his group is looking for someone to fill in what is essentially a FIFO position. They don’t need skills, they just need to be able to ‘lift things.’ Jamie does have some skills. But hey, they can also lift things too! Short on cash and just so damned tired over living the lockdown hellscape, Jamie can’t sign on the dotted line fast enough.
Nevermind old mate Tom there being a bit vauge on the details…
As the title suggests, we’re getting into Kaiju! It just so happens that during the nuclear experiments of the 1940’s and 50’s, we managed to weaken the barriers between dimensions. And one of these dimensions carries Kaiju. Turns out, Godzilla and Mothra have some basis in fact: Kaiju ‘feed’ on nuclear energy, and with the barriers between dimensions weakened as they were, we had a couple of little incursions. No big drama in the end—everything was hushed up and contained. But it would be a real disaster if it were to happen all over again, especially in a world already battered by the pandemic.
Hence, the NGO Tom works for: the Kaiju Preservation Society
This is where I really have to go into this being a pandemic escapist book. Jamie is whisked away from the lockdowns of New York City into a whole new, and open dimension. Yay! By a company that is so generous that they’re willing to cover all health and travel costs for the six month assignment. And rent too; a unexpected boon for both our protagonist and their stuggling flatties. Awesome! And after weeks and weeks of a social life cripped by measures taken to contain the blasted virus, Jamie is now working and socialising with a group of experts from all around the globe. Who are all fun and eccentric in their own way. (To give you an idea, some of these guys decided to name two of these massive horrors Edward and Bella for shits and giggles. These are the people Jamie is working with.)
This is escapism at it’s finest, and I was all for it.
This book is like popcorn, really. It’s light and fun and easy to scarf down quickly. There is not a huge amount of plot, and what plot there is is solved in a rather carthic way. There’s a liberal dose of social commentary too, but most the time everything is exploratory and fun. Scalzi seems to have enjoyed making up the bizarre alien biology of the Kaiju and I delighted in seeing how a bunch of field scientists reacted to these crazy-pants creatures that are not of this world. And because we are dealing with taking samples from creatures that are the size of skyscrapers—who may not appreciate your presence—there are some great action set-pieces as well.
In some ways, it’s a little like Jurassic Park for the post-millennial set. And just like Jurassic Park, you’ll derive the most enjoyment out of it if you don’t examine it too closely. Don’t try and pull apart the Kaiju biology too much, just have fun with it. And don’t get critical at some of the less wise actions of the NGO either. Just accept it for what it is
Popcorn guys, we’re all here for the popcorn! This is not the deepest book, but it is delightfully fun. So if you want a quick break from reality, this might just scratch yours.
For Bingo, this is Monster. The Kaiju are imaginative. I am not!
Also, I am counting on my fingers and that might can another bingo?