The Kaiju Preservation Society. Book Review.

As a fan of Scalzi and in need of new reading material, I picked up "The Kaiju Preservation Society" for a few cents, both as an e-book and audiobook. The latter is narrated by Wil Wheaton, known to me solely from TBBT (playing himself) and more widely for playing the character of Wesley Crusher in the Star Trek series. He does a pretty good job, honestly.

The novel is a byproduct of a disaster in the author's life. Having promised his publisher a grand novel, Scalzi (well known for keeping his deadlines) failed miserably, partly due to COVID-19 and some other twists. Without delving into details (which are by the way available in the postscript), after wasting much time and effort on that grand novel, Scalzi gave up and wrote KPS instead.

The book is a tongue in cheek, mainly targeting SciFi fans.

Remember that scene from the vampire series where Bella scolds the werewolf for naming her daughter after the Loch Ness monster? In KPS, there are monsters named Edward and Bella, and a scene where a character berates another for naming the monsters after "Twilight" characters, using almost the same phrase as in the movie (and Wheaton reads it with the same intonation).

The story starts around February or March 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic) and lasts about six months.

The main character is a marketing director at a New York company competing with UberEats. Due to the pandemic, the company needs innovative ideas to survive. After offering several solutions, he gets fired and becomes a driver for the same company. He soon meets an old friend who offers him a job, vaguely mentioning it involves caring for large animals and pays well.

I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but there are parallel worlds, large corporations, plenty of action, and a fair amount of scientific facts, mainly about growth theories and the limitations of living organisms, and how evolution might try to circumvent these limitations under different circumstances.

There's also a good dose of humor, mainly through witty dialogues. Most jokes are simple, closer to toilet humor than highbrow, but still funny. I snorted out loud a good few times while reading, which says something.

The middle part of the book is somewhat boring; a bit overdone for my taste. Fortunately, the beginning and end more than make up for it, so overall - no regrets.

My personal rating: around 7.5/10.

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