Hello and weclome to another edition of #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a closer look at a book that hits the shelves in bookstores (and the the holds shelves at your local library) today!
John Scalzi is an author known for writing witty and accessible science fiction. (And, on a personal note, he's also an author I love to put in patron's hands when someone tells me that they don't like to read science fiction. Titles like OLD MAN'S WAR or his Star Trek-inspired REDSHIRTS are almost gateway drugs to the genre.) His newest, THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY, written in the opening months of the COVID-19 pandemic, is yet another gateway drug and a bright burst of positivity that reads like a big budget crowd-pleasing summer blockbuster movie, except on the page instead of on the screen.
The novel opens with Jamie Gray, who like many Americans, lost his job when the country shut down during the first few months of the pandemic. Working a soul-grinding job in food delivery, he comes across a client with an intriguing job offer - join a shadowy animal-protection corporation. He quickly discovers that the job requires him to travel to a parallel Earth where instead of humans, the planet is populated by giant radioactive lizard-monsters called kaiju. (Think any skyscraper-sized creature from a "Godzilla" or "Pacific Rim" movie.) The kaiju Preservation Society studies these creatures - at a great distance - and uses the scientific advances to help us back on our Earth. However, the Society quickly discovers that they're not the only ones who know of these beings, and when a mysterious group tries to interfere with the for their own reasons, the radioactively-powered (and very cranky) kaiju pose a very grave threat to everyone, no matter .
In interviews, Scalzi has admitted that he deliberately wrote this novel as an antidote for the oppressive lack of hope that the pandemic represented. He referred to this novel as a "pop song," written to be catchy and addictive. He has a lot of fun with the novel's premise and gleefully explains not only how the kaiju function but how these group of scientists on a parallel dimension live and get along with each other. There are plenty of chase scenes and action to move the plot along and at the end of the novel the readers are not only left satisfied but wondering when the sequel will be out. (And knowing the publishing world, if THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY is a hit, there will, indeed, be a sequel.)
Ideal for fans of science ficiton - and yes, casual readers - who are looking for a summer escapist novel with a lot of wit and heart. (And I don't know about YOU, but two years into a pandemic, I think this might be something all of us might need.)
Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next time!