The Kaiju Protection Society by John Scalzi (book review).

March 15, 2022 | By | Reply More

It is the eve of the pandemic. Lockdown is imminent. Jamie Grey has great ideas on how his boss can corner the food delivery market in New York. Instead of the promotion and raise he’s expecting, Jamie is ‘reassigned’ to the delivery team.

With money running out and the pandemic ruining everything, Jamie is running out of options when he delivers food to an old acquaintance who just happens to need to hire someone at short notice. Just grunt work, he’s told. Helping out in the field with large animals. Great salary. With nothing to lose, Jamie signs on. What wasn’t mentioned is that the ‘large animals’ are kaiju and that they live in an alternate dimension.

The pandemic has now gone on so long that books are being published referencing it. Has it been so long? This book might start in the first throes of Covid, but it doesn’t stay there. This is not a post-apocalyptic landscape, even with the Godzilla-like kaiju roaming about the place. ‘The Kaiju Protection Society’ is instead a scientific expedition into the dangerous unknown with a solid team of friends behind you. Perhaps there is a touch too much exposition, but I enjoyed the crazy science that is probably not at all legit but, hey, it’s an alternate reality.

This is a great, easy read. It is light-hearted and full of humour. Perfect for a road trip or a break between heavier reads. Like Scalzi’s ‘Redshirts’, it is sprinkled with geekery for those in the know but not so much that you’re lost. They are like the Easter eggs in a cult movie. The Stan Lee cameo. In fact, this book is like a movie. A blockbuster full of pretty people and things going boom. Scalzi describes it in his author notes as a pop song, light and catchy with a nice hook, but I disagree. This is a book to binge and who binges on one feelgood song?

‘The Kaiju Protection Society’ is not ‘An Old Man’s War’ or ‘The Collapsing Empire.’ Scalzi deliberately steps aside from the panic and gloom of the pandemic years and takes the reader on an adventure to old-school-monster-movieland.

I recommend it for fans of Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe’ and Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One’, though it is less irreverent than ‘Hitchhikers’ and less self-conscious than ‘Ready Player One.’ A fun, easy, standalone novel that is too light to be a hardcover; but since you’ll be lending it to your friends to cheer them up, having a solid copy might be a good idea.

LK Richardson

February 2022

(pub: TOR, 2022. 272 page hardback. Price: $26.99 (US). ISBN: 978-0-76538-912-1)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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