Jurassic Park was one of the first films I really properly remember seeing in the cinema. Probably because we sat on the front row. I also really enjoyed reading Redshirts, John Scalzi’s homage to Star Trek so when Black Crow PR reached out about receiving an ARC of his new release The Kaiju Preservation Society I bit their arm off! Thanks Jamie and Stephen and Tor for the gifted copy.
About the Book
The Kaiju Preservation Society is a thrilling standalone adventure from bestselling author John Scalzi. With bucket loads of Scalzi traits – pacing, humour and tension – this is a light, uplifting escapist story in a Jurassic Park-like alternate world, perfect for fans of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Charles Stross, and epic monster movies.
In New York City, Jamie Gray is a 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 animal 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.
“Scalzi’s latest is a wildly inventive take on the kaiju theme”
―Booklist, starred review
“Equally lighthearted and grounded―and sure to delight.”
―Publishers Weekly, starred review
About the Author
John Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man’s War, won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, The End of All Things and Redshirts, which won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter @scalzi
What I Thought
In the author note at the end of the book I admired how open John was with us about the challenges he faced in writing in a pandemic – particularly as it sounds like he may have also being experiencing Long Covid at points.
He scrapped the idea he was working on and was supported in a deliverator delay (read the book – you’ll get the reference). And, KPS was the outcome of being allowed to put aside one project and being allowed to follow it with this soul cleanser. Something written for pure joy. A “pop song” amidst the “brooding symphonies” as he calls it.
I really enjoyed it. Fun, pacy, easy to read. Full of characters you want to root for and not see ripped limb to limb. COVID-19 does get a mention early on but then we get to go to a whole new world full of Godzilla type nuclear reactor ecosystems who are called things like Edward and Bella and who need help from the humans to ‘get it on’.
Despite the fun there is serious discussions to be had – if you want them. But you can also just simply read this for pure enjoyment – and isn’t that what we need right now. COVID-19 has been a terrible thing but the rays of light that have shone from the darkness are worth holding onto and this will be one of mine.
Main character Jamie has a serendipitous encounter that leads him on another adventure. Not one he thought he’d be on but one he is eminently suited to. Isn’t life funny that way?
Full of lots of pop, poop and Hamilton references it is very much a book for the now – although soon, the now will be history, and I think this will stand up for future sci-fi readers. It does also include a fair bit of science – so one for the biology, physics and chemistry nerds too – and there is power in being the one who lifts things – look at Luisa in Encanto and everyone who has kept society going through the pandemic.
And if that wasn’t all excellent enough then Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook – so I’m going to get that for when I’m ready for a re-read.
Ps. He needs a part in the movie adaptation please.
Do check out the rest of the tour which you can follow along with on Twitter and Instagram and using #KaijuPreservationSociety. Opinions and geeking out are all mine.
@scalzi @UKTor @BlackCrow_PR #KaijuPreservationSociety
@Panmacmillan @jscalzi @BlackCrow_PR
About the Book
Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction.
Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.
When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations.
Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.
Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.
Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.
About the Author
Olivie Blake, is a lover and writer of stories, and is the pen name of Alexene Farol Follmuth. Many of her stories involve the fantastic, the paranormal, or the supernatural, but not always. More often, her works revolve around the collective experience, what it means to be human (or not), and the endlessly interesting complexities of life and love.
Alexene tripped and fell into writing after abandoning her long-premeditated track for Optimum Life Achievement while attending law school, and now focuses primarily on the craft and occasional headache of creating fiction.
What I Thought
This book appears to be very much a marmite book but that’s often the case with books that have been hyped and when people go in with pre-conceptions about what it should be like.
I try and go into everything I read with an open mind and all I really knew about this one was that it was Dark Academia, which having loved Nevernight and A Deadly Education, I knew I was here for.
First up, it’s important to know that this is a multipoint of view book. All of the characters are so intriguing that I think it is necessary to get into each of their minds to unpick what is going on but I know that not everyone is a fan of switching heads so often. The cast of characters is diverse so there’s bound to be one who’s sections you want to skip forward to – but don’t.
Second, the book starts a little slowly. This is an adult title, and I’m currently doing a writing course for children and young people where the focus is very much on letting the reader know up front what is going on. Here we get introduced to each character in turn along with the mysterious Atlas but they, like us do not yet appreciate what we are getting in for.
I showed a friend the back of the book and they said the stakes weren’t high enough if five of the six get to walk away, but if you like more than one character the stakes even then are plenty high enough imho.
The magic in this is dynamic, and political and definitely has the potential to be manipulated.
In fact much manipulation and double crossing happens and who doesn’t love that in their fiction?
As you might expect with a story about knowledge it does get cerebral at times (and the tiny font in the ARC didn’t help my Long Covid brain). I love books that challenge me and make me think but the timing has to be right. That’s why I restarted this book a few times because I knew it was a story that would be more demanding for me as a reader, I was definitely intrigued from the first line’s of Libby’s section (just after the prologue). Demanding does not mean unenjoyable it just means be prepared to brain.
To help with some fun to get you in the mood here’s some artwork of our six.
Illustration by @LittleChmura
And a quiz to find out which character you are most like. Supposedly I’m Parisa!
The Atlas Six is out now and the sequel The Atlas Paradox is out in October 2022.
Use the hashtag to follow the blog tour and check out the tour events coming up in April too. Thanks to Jamie and Stephen at Black Crow and the publisher for the gifted ARC. All opinions are mine.