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Summary

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first stand-alone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times best-selling 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 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 who's found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die. 

©2022 John Scalzi (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Kaiju Preservation Society

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Not for me...

I can't stand Will Wheaton's narration. I like him as an actor, not a voice actor. Took away from the story for me, which I think was okay, but can't be sure.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story. Utterly dire narration.

I've been a Scalzi fan since I first read Old Man's War and have previously bought kindle or book versions. This was my first experience of Will Wbeeton as a narrator and he's just awful. So ridiculously forceful, SHOUTY and over-dramatic, yet simultaneously unable to vary his voice for any character other than a french-canadian.
Loved the story HATED the narration.

2 people found this helpful

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A "just for fun" book, but I DID have fun

First thing to say is that the “Author’s Note” does a LOT of heavy lifting for this book overall, describing the work as it does as a “pop song” and explaining the understandable circumstances which made the past couple of years less than conducive to writing a more brooding, complex novel.

And for sure, KPS is manifestly presented as a bit of fun. I don’t think I understood that at first, and for the initial chapters, I was enjoying and laughing along at the jocular dialogue and the quintessentially Gen Z language. At a point, I became disappointed that this tone actually persists throughout the entire novel and the rubber doesn’t really hits the road with a ‘serious’ story until quite late in the book. Even under threat of a messy demise, the characters still talk in that way young people tend to do when they’re TRYING to be funny, and which can be appreciated in well-targeted doses but became rather grating when it lasted for the entire novel...not to mention the fact that this was the voice of EVERY character, even the antagonist.

It’s possible I’m being a little unfair here, and that the last remark had more to do with Wil Wheaton’s narration, which was exhaustingly enthusiastic and read every slightly amusing aside as though it were a grand punchline. Sure, I can see how he was trying to strike the right tone for this playful novel, but the lack of variety in his performance made for a somewhat relentless experience, and not entirely in a good way. For the first time EVER, I actually considered switching from Audible to Kindle. And, while I’m on it, I can only assume Wil Wheaton does not bill himself as a voice actor, because despite Scalzi’s efforts to populate the novel with a diverse cast of character...EVERYONE sounds exactly the same. The only exception is the French Canadian helicopter pilot, whom Wheatons gives some kind of mild, weird Irish/Native American hybrid accent. (Unless that’s what French Canadian people sound like; I’ve not met enough to say.) Even the Irish character sounds American, and even when they finish their sentences with a very British “mate”.

So, that all sounds very critical. But in truth - and despite the book not quite turning out to be what I’d hoped it would - it does still exhibit Scalzi’s brilliantly creative imagination, his flair for storytelling and the humour (overdone as it is) does hit the spot. I laughed out loud many times. By the end, I understood that this was a “just for fun” book, and I can’t deny that I did indeed have fun.

I intend to read a lot more John Scalzi this year, though if any of his other audiobooks are narrated by Wil Wheaton, I think I’ll probably opt for the Kindle version instead.

2 people found this helpful

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Just pure fun

Super fun listen, a utter mood lifter and perfectly narrated by Will Wheaton. Sometimes a silly fun book is what we all need

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Great story beautifully narrated

I loved the story and Will Wheaton’s tongue in cheek delivery is perfectly pitched. A great listen!

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Scalzi at his best

Humour, excellent story, characters and an overall brilliant book. As always with Scalzi I was left wanting more in the best way.

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Fantastic, very enjoyable.

Another John Scalzi book I'm so glad I got. Great pace, good characters and a story pulled me in.

Wil does a great job narrating.

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NOT shouty

I got this a little hesitantly in the end even though I'd been looking forward to it for a while. The main put off point was reviewer comments that Wil Wheaton was being 'shouty'. Not true folks. He does get comically excitable every so often, but it's entirely appropriate to the prose, and hats off to Wil for a great performance.
The story is instantly engaging, zero boring parts, and a great romp throughout - not slapstick - I mean you know, this is Scalzi. The story made me chuckle a few times but isn't an out and out comedy. Plenty of perfectly serious bits. Overall, it's a light-hearted bit of SF and I enjoyed every minute.
The little glimpse through the author's window at the end was nice too.

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3 minute pop song but it took 8 hours

I must be out of touch bcs I don't see how any one can say reading this is worth their time.

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needs to be a movie.

I really loved this book. if it was a movie? I could really see Jack Black playing the roll of Jamie. the stories is a new twist on the kiaju. the narrator did a brilliant job. story was a great mix of drama with quite a few well time comedic quips throughout. definitely a re read book. or should I say a re listen book.

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  • Jim
  • 20-03-22

How does one make Kaiju unappealing?

Answer: A big old dose of reality and politics.

I pre-orderd this book the instant I saw it, then I patiently waited for the actual release.

I love Scalzi's other books. I love giant monsters. I want a good story that let's me escape from the crushing reality that is post 2020 life. This book seemed like the ticket.

Then I started listening. I got a bunch of talk about covid, identity politics, actual politics, vaccination, masks, judgment about vaccination and masks, elections, economic issues surrounding covid, and more covid. I've been living it. Now I'm paying to read about it happening to fictional characters.

Then, after doing his best to drain all the fun out of Kaiju by injecting it with miserable current events, the story was just ok. This isn't Red Shirts or Agent to the Stars. After you learn what the Kaiju are and how they operate there isn't much left which is particularly interesting or original. You've probably seen all the rest a thousand times.

You've lived most of it for two years.

It's a book about giant monsters, and we spend half of it complaining about pandemics, presidents, and how billionairs are crappy people. Even when I agree with the politics and judgments, it just reminds me of crappy things that I hate. And, most of the rest of the book is a bunch of generic characters bantering about not very much.

It is occasionally funny. Not funny enough to offset the rest of it, at least not for me.

Sorry Mr. Scalzi. This might be the last time I pay for one of your books.

Mr. Wheton does the same job he always does as narrator. If you like him, you'll like him in this.

108 people found this helpful

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  • BowTieIII
  • 19-03-22

Far too much politics.

leave the politics out in the future I want to enjoy a scifi story from one of my favorite authors not listen to repeated political digs. When listening to a story that otherwise should be a fun trip to another world I was jarringly brought back to our own political devides of where the author clearly makes his own opinion clear and quit painfully it ends up feeling like pandering written to stroke one side repeatedly. At the end there is even a not to club you over the head if the besting in the story didnt quite get the point across. I liked to story but was unable to enjoy it from the contant pushing of politics, it was very unfortunate.

69 people found this helpful

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  • Lucy A. Pithecus
  • 15-03-22

I'm listening with a permanent smile on my face

A fast-paced funny story with current reference and wild imagination, classic John.

Wil also brings his flavor and personality to the story.

For those who are new to John Scalzi or want to get more of him after the KPS book, here are my personal suggestions:

- Start with his "The Dispatcher", two free novellas for Audible members. They are science-fiction and detective stories that keep you in suspense, but with chuckles.

- If you like John's detective stories after the Dispatchers, try out his "Lock-In" Series. These two detective and science-fiction tales are full of surprises and rapport between characters. More thought-provoking but still humous. Also, the main character can be either male or female, depending on which narrator's version you choose (Wil Wheaton or Amber Benson).

- If you like imaginative stories, check out "Redshirts", his Hugo award-winning work in 2013. The story starts as a star-trek-style space science fiction and takes you through a captivating fun ride with unexpected turns. It's not your regular space adventure legend.

- If you are intrigued but still hesitant to spend the precious credits, his "The Human Division" book can be bought by chapter ($0.69 per chapter) - a low-cost-and-low-risk way to check his work out further. This book is part of a more extensive series but also a fantastic stand-alone story. I couldn't stop chasing the story about Wilson and Schmidt - just a tech guy and a low-ranked space diplomat trying to dodge what life (or space) throws at them. Their struggles are real and just as genuine as their optimism and ability to laugh at themselves and life's toughest challenges.

- If you are want to explore more, his "Old Man's War" series is a classic and Hugo nominee. It's a military science fiction series, of which "The Human Division" is right before the final book. Everyone in the series is competent and acts rationally. The rapport among characters and the character development is excellent. The story takes you through a fun and imaginative journey of being a soldier in space during "interesting" times, full of actions and sometimes with ridiculous solutions.

I hope you find this helpful, and you can find some laughs and ponders from John Scalzi's works.

58 people found this helpful

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  • Roswatheist
  • 15-03-22

Fun, Hardcore Geekery

Disclaimer: I am incredibly biased and am sure that bias will be heavily reflected here.

Scalzi and Wheaton are always a pleasure for me, but this was the story I needed most in this horrendous time. Without spoiling anything, my imagination frequently heard a rusty, grumbly gate opening in the background of my mind while listening. The Kaiju Preservation Society is so much fun that anyone who grew up between the 70s and 90s can enjoy. Good-naturedly poking gentle fun at Millennials added some pleasant seasoning to the story; stir in a dash of telling a genuinely inconsiderate billionaire to his face exactly what he could do with himself and his money was like molten chocolate cake warming my gooey bits.

To paraphrase the author, this is the right novel for a really awful time. Please do yourself a favor and read/listen to it.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Ethan Kirkness
  • 18-03-22

Great for Fans of Ready Player Two

I'm a giant Kaiju fan, but it was very difficult for me to finish this one. Between Wheaton's cringey narration and Scalzi's dialogue, I just couldn't stop rolling my eyes. Every character talks like what edgy teenagers wish they were like in their fantasies, and I could barely tell them apart. Scalzi also threw in a lot of heavy handed topical pop culture references, if that's your thing. For a book about giant monsters and transdimensional travel, it was surprisingly boring. I would skip this one.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Grace M-T
  • 15-03-22

So so

If you really really really REALLY —and I do mean really—like Scalzi, then enjoy. But for me, either the charm has worn off or…

Returning for credit

32 people found this helpful

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  • Tom D
  • 18-03-22

Not his best work

Maybe it was his need to show all the other important people how Liberal he is but it didn’t work for me .. not horrible but definitely not great

30 people found this helpful

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  • Moshe F. Saraf
  • 26-03-22

Scalzi's Worst Book

Characters:

All the characters read like a single character, an edgy, whiny teenager with zero motivation or personality.

Plot:

There is no plot


Politics:


it isn't even a proper propaganda, just random virtue signaling (Trump sons want to hunt a Kaiju, mask mandates are sacred, random pronouns). Politics are part of Scifi, but they have to be part of the story, Scalzi is just checking woke boxes


29 people found this helpful

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  • Just an anonymous listener
  • 20-03-22

Depending on your perspective, you may not like it

Typically, the combination of John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton has been a surefire success for me. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with this book, so much so that I returned it.

To be clear, Wheaton was not the issue for me on this book. His narration continues to remain solid, and his delivery did a good job of matching the story's narrative and dialog. While he doesn't deliver unique voices like many narrators (e.g., R.C. Bray or Ray Porter), Wheaton's narration is not monotone by any stretch, and it still keeps things lively and the reader engaged.

And, Scalzi's story was briskly paced, with an interesting take on Kaiju. The dialog was often witty, too. So, why couldn't I finish the book?

My primary issue was the regular presentation of characters, issues, and story beats from a decided "politically correct" vantage point. It was almost as if the story was written to be some sort of textbook example of how to include as many modern political and cultural issues as possible, but only from one perspective. Certainly, it's Scalzi's story, and he can include any or all of these things as he sees fit. However, I prefer a book that focuses on telling an engaging story having a true diversity of opinion woven into it, with characters with all kinds of viewpoints, flaws, motivations, and growth. Better yet, I prefer stories that don't at all need to be so pervasive with the "correct" political and cultural issues to prove some kind of point.

I'm sure this book will be well-received by many readers; however, if any of the above raises concerns for you, or you're tired of thinly-veiled political jabs, you may want to skip this book.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Julie
  • 19-03-22

Indulgent, overdramatized, too much language

I love Scalzi, but this was annoying to listen to given the amount of language, the over the top performance by Wheaton and the feeling that this was written as a self-indulgence. I wish I hadn’t spent money on it.

24 people found this helpful