Kaiju Preservation Society
by Scalzi, John

"The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy. When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls "an animal rights organization." Tom's team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on. What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They're the universe's largest and most dangerous panda and they're in trouble. It's not just the Kaiju Preservation Society whose found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die"-

JOHN SCALZI is one of the most popular SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man's War, won him the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, Redshirts (which won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel), and 2020's The Last Emperox. Material from his blog, Whatever, has earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.

*Starred Review* Without warning, just as the country is going into COVID-19 lockdown, Jamie Gray is fired from their job. Desperate for work, Jamie accepts an offer from someone they barely know to work for a company they've never heard of. It turns out to be the adventure of a lifetime. Scalzi's latest is a wonderfully inventive take on the kaiju theme ("kaiju" being the Japanese term for big, giant creatures: Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra). Jamie's new employer, the Kaiju Preservation Society, has one mission: to keep Earth safe from these oversized critters, and to keep the kaiju safe from Earth. But kaiju are not exactly domesticated animals, and the human element can sometimes be wildly and dangerously unpredictable. Catastrophe lurks around every corner, and, as Jamie soon discovers, when catastrophe strikes, it strikes explosively. Scalzi owes a substantial debt to the Japanese kaiju film genre, and to Pacific Rim and Jurassic Park, and he gleefully acknowledges the debt with references scattered through the book. Readers familiar with the early Scalzi novels Agent to the Stars (2005) and The Android's Dream (2006) will recognize the same energetic writing style and lightning-fast pacing: this is Scalzi having a lot of fun. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Scalzi is a big name in sf, and his inventive latest will also garner attention outside the genre. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

In this unusual pandemic novel, a young person-whose gender is never specified-is given a unique, literally out-of-this-world opportunity to escape the Covid-19 lockdown. In early 2020, Jamie Gray is working as a marketing executive at food delivery startup füdmüd when Rob Sanders, the company's asshole chief executive, abruptly fires Jamie for no apparent reason. Reduced to working as a delivery person for füdmüd in the following months (during the height of the pandemic, no less), Jamie leaps at a job opportunity offered by an acquaintance. That's how Jamie winds up on a parallel Earth working for the titular Kaiju Preservation Society: lifting heavy objects, serving snacks in conference rooms, shooting monsters in the face, and just generally providing assistance to the scientists studying skyscraper-size, Godzilla-like creatures with internal nuclear reactors. In the process, Jamie discovers just how much of an asshole that former boss really is, to the potential detriment of two worlds. In his author's note, Scalzi calls this book "a pop song...light and catchy," in contrast to the "brooding symphony" of the completely different novel he had intended to write. But despite the absurdity of the premise, the book isn't entirely escapist fluff. Sure, it bubbles with the banter and snarky humor readers expect from this author. But it's also a blunt and savage swipe at tech-bro/billionaire culture, the Trump administration, and the chaos and tragedy that result when powerful and rich people set themselves against science and scientists in order to profit from disaster. The evil plot would seem creaky and melodramatic if it weren't such an accurate satiric mirror of the current sociopolitical milieu. In short, it's a fictional delivery system for the outrage that Scalzi typically expresses in his tweets and on his blog about the mess we currently find ourselves in. Fun but with a purpose. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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