A review by tomasthanes
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi


I think my first response to the title of this book is to equate "Kaiju" with the creatures in the "Pacific Rim" movies which is probably not a stretch. You leave our Earth for a parallel "Kaiju Earth" through a portal created by vast amounts of energy and radiation. Once there, it's like every predator is cranked up to 11 on methamphetamine.

It was a good story (good enough that I wish there were a sequel but the author is successful enough (for obvious reasons) that he can write whatever he wants to - I'll read it). The characters are plausible. The protagonist, Jamie Gray, is unassuming enough at the beginning ("I lift things") but by the time that you're at the end of the book, he's competent in many different areas. It's interesting that as he goes to work for the Kaiju Preservation Society, they never really tell him the full story until he's standing there on "Kaiju Earth" seeing these huge mountains of creatures (because just saying it out loud would not be enough - you have to see in order to believe).

Lots of nice little references to other parts of Sci-Fi and technology (Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash"), crawling inside of a tauntaun on Hoth to survive the cold, copying movie files from storage brought with you to the "community Plex server", etc.). Lots of Japanese words (an homage to the original Godzilla). Lots of the story revolved around pheromones (which made lots of scents).

Biological nuclear reactors. Well, why not?

The Kaiju were a nice ecosystem of themselves and their parasites (which both fed near the kaiju as well as being part of the aeration/cooling system for the kaiju).

The author made a huge point of saying that the biology of the kaiju was very different from creatures on our Earth yet the reproduction seemed similar. A male kaiju impregnating a female kaiju who began laying millions of fertilized eggs in a nutrient-dense natal jelly (all words directly from the book but in a different order). That didn't seem very different.

I also liked the Ancient and Sacred Orders made up on the spot to celebrate someone's exceptional act.

Oh, and it realistically referenced the COVID-19 pandemic, masks and all.