The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
In the author’s notes, Award winning author John Scalzi says that The Kaiju Preservation Society is ‘a pop song. It’s meant to be light and catchy…’ And it is certainly memorable. Jamie Gray is stuck working for füdmüd, a food delivery service that is doing well during the pandemic. After providing the boss with a great idea, Jamie is sacked and ends up as a delivery driver, the only way to keep the rent paid. Then an old acquaintance suggests a job working for an animal rights organisation and Jamie is keen to finally leave the job of delivering pizzas. But the animals are not on Earth, they live in an alternate dimension, and are huge dinosaur like creatures with internal nuclear reactors. When the kaiju and Earth are both threatened with extinction, Jamie and a group of young scientists must produce solutions to save them all.
The wit and humour that Scalzi brings to the story makes it very easy to read. Jamie’s snarky asides highlight the heartlessness of billionaires who have no thought for employees or endangered species and are just out to make a huge profit. Readers will recognise the troubles that the gig economy offers young employees but also the hope and resilience of young scientists and collective action by people hoping for a better future.
Scalzi sets a great pace as Jamie and friends face the kaiju and a hostile environment. The science is unique and believable, and the ending is wonderful.
Fans of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton would enjoy this novel. Some strong language may make it more suitable for older adolescents, but the examination of the gig economy and endangered species within action and humour is sure to entice fans of science fiction.
Themes: Science fiction, Animals - Moral and ethical aspects, Humour, Satire, The gig economy, Life on other planets.