Six things about The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

  1. I read the inside flap only after I’d read the whole book and I was frankly nonplussed by the amount of plot the blurb gave away. I mean, it’s under 260 pages, so to give away anything is too much. I read it from a position of almost complete ignorance. So if you too know nothing about this book, just read it first. I promise you’ll enjoy it more that way.
  2. All I knew about this was the following: John Scalzi is a good writer, who has a light, breezy style that can be very funny and is hard to replicate. Scalzi takes a hard thing and makes it look easy. I didn’t even know what a kaiju was, and my only clue was the dinosaur-like silhouette on the cover*.
  3. 258 pages, and yet the cover price for the hardback is £17. We’ve been here before, with the alarmingly slim Silverview by John Le Carré. £17 is a lot of money for something this slim. I did not pay this amount: in fact, someone loaned me their copy. I would not pay this amount, even though this is very entertaining.
  4. The friend who loaned me this copy recommended I read the Author’s Note at the end, first, which I did. Scalzi is very entertaining on how this book came to be and how the book he was supposed to be writing didn’t.
  5. Jaimie Gray works in marketing for a food delivery company. He goes in for his six month performance review, full of ideas about how to make more money for the company and is promptly fired. This is the realistic frame story to this book: there’s a pandemic, and precarious work is about to get even more precarious. Pointless office jobs are going to be revealed as truly superfluous to society’s needs. For Jaimie, the gig economy beckons.
  6. I don’t want to say more because it truly was a joy to read this knowing nothing about it. There’s a lot to be said for the complete media blackout. This is a quick read, a fun read, and you can’t help thinking that it would also make great telly. It’s full of cultural references (films, games, other books) that went right over my head, but I didn’t care.

*I really didn’t! I’ve never seen any of those films, never even been remotely interested. None of which matters at all.

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