The Kaiju Preservation Society
March 17, 2022 11:40 AM - Subscribe

Jamie Gray is miserably working as a deliverator for füdmüd in the early days of COVID quarantine in New York City. A chance encounter with an old acquaintance gets Jamie on an interesting new career path: doing odd jobs at a secret base on an alternate Earth, helping scientists who are studying -- and helping protect -- kaiju.
posted by The corpse in the library (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm interested in what people's experiences are with this one. I re-read a bunch of Scalzi's stuff over the recent winter lockdown here, and for me it didn't hold up as well - normally I'm an avid re-reader.
posted by LegallyBread at 12:04 PM on March 17


I'm about halfway through and so far I love it; it's just what I'm in the mood for right now. It's funny, the writing is solid, I like the plot.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:58 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Just finished it, and I continued to love it. I read a lot of it sitting at work wearing all kinds of PPE including two pairs of gloves; a slightly fluffy, quick witted, very funny pageturner was just the thing.

Large. Adult. Sons.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:27 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I'm curious to know how other people pictured the kaiju. And Jamie.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:33 AM on March 19


I liked the choice to offer almost zero descriptions of the kaiju and their parasites. Especially bold when kaiju obviously belong to a visual medium. And I think it's the right choice. For what he was trying to do at least. Reminds me of how the eponymous cybertanks go mostly undescribed in Keith Laumer's Bolo series.

I was looking forward to this book a lot - I've enjoyed most of Scalzi's books, and kaiju are intrinsically fun. But this didn't work for me. There's not much point in itemising all of my gripes, but I do wonder if anyone else found the KPS crew indistinguishable. Between the dialogue-heavy format and "all bants all the time", I found it hard to keep track of who was talking. In fact between that and the lack of visual descriptions, it read a lot like a radio play.

At the end of the day it's hardly the book's fault if I wanted something more substantial than, as he puts it "a pop song". Oh well.
posted by Lorc at 12:00 PM on March 20


Between the dialogue-heavy format and "all bants all the time", I found it hard to keep track of who was talking. In fact between that and the lack of visual descriptions, it read a lot like a radio play.

Scalzi has talked about how he has cut back on certain dialogue indicators that are normal for reading but come off as super repetitive when experienced in audiobook form. I wonder if this is what is happening here, listening to a narrator do different voices is easier to parse.
posted by M Edward at 11:04 PM on March 20


This was great fun. I'm no expert on Japanese monster cinema, but it brought in a lot of interesting ideas that were entirely new to me and yet fit in perfectly with the genre history that I do know. Like Fuzzy Nation, it takes an idea that I might have dismissed as too silly to bother with and makes it surprising. I do kind of wish the end hadn't been wrapped up quite so easily. But, that's better than most books where the end drags on and makes one forget the enjoyable parts.
I'm curious to know how other people pictured the kaiju. And Jamie.
Interesting. I think I was more or less imagining the egg-layer as Rodan. And the parasites as somewhere between horse-sized ticks and giant scorpions. I didn't really think much about Jamie. (I guess I more or less pictured Jamie as 16 year old Will Weaton. . . but, that's because I listened to the audio book. I've got to admit he did a great job, even though I'm not usually a fan.)
posted by eotvos at 4:32 PM on March 21


I thought of the kaiju as sort of... you know when asphalt melts on a hot summer day, and there are clumps of it with pebbles stuck to them? Made out of those.

Jamie, I deliberately tried to think of as a Native American woman in her late 20s. Because why not.

I didn't keep the characters straight in my mind, either, but this is an ongoing issue for me. The first thing when I open a new book on my Kindle is to see if it has X-Ray enabled, because I will need it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:13 PM on March 21


I greatly enjoyed the book - it was a fun read and a light read at a time when I'm finding it necessary to engage with media that is lighter in tone than my usual fare.

Part of what makes it a light, easy read is that it doesn't dig too deep into anything - the characters other than the narrator are hard to keep straight because they are largely there to make a joke/set up a joke (one of the roommates exists as nothing more than someone shouting punchlines from another room) or do a bit of the science-y explaining stuff. The implications of the discovery of the kaiju as life forms and possibilities of travel to alternate dimensions aren't really explored (and they don't need to be!). The book is a light framework to hang an adventure story from, that features some cathartic moments - the dick CEO from the beginning of the novel gets his comeuppance, multiple times! Our protagonist gets whisked away on an adventure that also solves his financial problems and enables him to take care of his roommates! Our imaginations do the heavy lifting of figuring out what the kaiju look like (which is a really smart choice, I think); there's in-jokes for the sci-fi fans (I think my favourite was the one in which someone is talking about Snow Crash and states he can't remember the name of the hero, but he does remember what the protagonist was doing in the beginning of the novel, thus name checking Hiro Protagonist without actually name checking), and its a monster story that demonstrates (once again) that humanity is the actual monster - which the book lampshades.

The end result is a book that moves briskly, winks at the audience to invite them along for the fun, and provides a solid escape from a world of monstrous problems and behaviour. From what I've read, this is what Scalzi intended the book to be, and he did a great job in realizing that intent.
posted by nubs at 2:36 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Last night I dreamed that *this* was why Putin's troops were messing around in Chernobyl. He was trying to pull kaiju through the barrier to destroy Ukraine.

Finished the book a few hours ago. And for most of the book, I pictured Jamie as a Mark Watney-ish mid-twenties type.
posted by cheshyre at 1:26 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I’m half way through and am really enjoying this. It’s just so wonderfully insane. No problems keeping the dialogue straight. I like the banter and back-and-forth between the characters.

Also: Jizz Thermos.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:02 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Finished it up tonight, and still liked it a lot. It did seem to get much more “talky” (lots of witty repartee) in the second half and it was a bit tiresome at times. Not enough to make me bail, obviously. This is a movie/Netflix series begging to be made.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:08 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]




Thanks, the corpse in the library. I hadn't seen that.
(Kaiju was originally slotted for October ’21 and then Tor moved it, sensibly as it turned out, due to Omicron and paper shortages)
Paper shortages? Isn't paper an intensely regional product that isn't worth shipping even on a cargo container? I imagine that claim must be true, but also, what? Is there a tree-farmer's strike on in the US that I don't know about? (I listen to the audio version, so I just burned gas and used a little bit of solar power to get a copy, no trees required.)

Regarding the gender ambiguity (which I didn't notice), I do kind of wish there was an alternative reader, as there was for Lock In. Mostly because the specific male narrator drives me nuts. (Probably because I saw everything I dislike about myself in his acting roles that I watched when I was a few years younger than him. Which isn't really his fault. But, it takes effort to keep listening.)

Also, who the hell sends negative comments to the author of a book? I've hated many books (not this one.) It would never occur to me to send them an "I don't like this" letter.

Also, also, Love, Death, and Robots has been really hit and miss for me. Some of the ones I liked have been Scalzi written. But, they sure did make some kind of strange and ugly choices that make me think I wouldn't get along with the producers very much. I'm down to watch the next season, but I can't say I'm actually excited for it. Though, if it keeps Scalzi in burrito-money while he writes the next book, cheers!
posted by eotvos at 3:05 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


> I saw everything I dislike about myself in his acting roles that I watched when I was a few years younger than him. Which isn't really his fault.

I have a similar issue because of his being made president or something in Ready Player One, which is even less his fault.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:24 PM on April 21


Oh, cheers, this one is a lovely little confection: sweet and light and fun. Agreed that it gets talky at one point (you'll know; it's everything but the mustache-twirling by the villain), but most of it is a romp.

I thought of the kaiju as sort of... you know when asphalt melts on a hot summer day, and there are clumps of it with pebbles stuck to them? Made out of those.
Yes! But attached to a base of, um, rhino hide? Something leathery?

Regarding the gender ambiguity (which I didn't notice) I read the book, and I noticed. I felt like it was a kind of big-hearted gesture--there's room for everybody with skills, come on, we're off to see kaiju!

It's an offbeat read for me, and I liked it and am happy to recommend it to others.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:26 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Ooh, yes, rhino hide or similar.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:37 AM on May 14


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