47 pages 1 hour read

John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2022

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Summary and Study Guide


The Kaiju Preservation Society is a kaiju science fiction novel written by American science fiction author John Scalzi and published by Tor Books in 2022. The novel follows Jamie Gray, a Manhattan delivery driver who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, gets a job at an animal rights organization caring for kaiju on an alternate Earth. The novel explores themes of The Importance of Conservation and Environmental Stewardship, Humans’ Impact on Ecosystems, and Teamwork and Community in the Face of Global Catastrophe. Scalzi is a renowned science fiction writer whose other works include The Old Man’s War series (2005-2015), the Interdependency series (2017-2020), Fuzzy Nation (2011), Redshirts (2012), and Starter Villain (2023). The Kaiju Preservation Society received nominations for the 2022 Dragon Award and the 2023 Hugo Award for Best Novel and won the 2023 Alex Award and the 2023 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

This study guide uses the 2023 Tor paperback edition.

Plot Summary

In March 2020, Jamie Gray goes for their six-month performance review at füdmüd, the company where they work. When their boss, Rob Sanders, fires them and encourages them to become a delivery driver, Jamie initially refuses. Ultimately, however, they change their mind, worried about not having enough money to pay their bills. Seven months later, Jamie delivers food during the pandemic. One day, they deliver food to an old acquaintance, Tom Stevens, who gives them his business card for an animal rights organization called KPS and recommends they get a job there. Jamie agrees, completing an interview process and getting vaccinations before leaving for Greenland. On the flight, Jamie meets three other new KPS members: biologist Dr. Aparna Chowdhury, organic chemist and geologist Dr. Kahurangi Lautagata, and astrophysicist Dr. Niamh Healy.

In Greenland, the KPS members enter the organization’s camp, where KPS leaders use a nuclear reactor to send them to an alternate Earth where Greenland is hot, humid, and full of kaiju, large creatures that feed on nuclear energy. Tom reveals that “KPS” stands for “The Kaiju Preservation Society,” which researches and protects the kaiju. Jamie and the others travel to Tanaka Base, in the alternate Earth’s version of Labrador, Canada. On the way, they encounter two kaiju fighting. At Tanaka Base, Jamie and the other new members settle in before receiving their jobs.

Jamie settles in their role lifting and carrying things. One day, Jamie and Kahurangi work with French Canadian helicopter pilot Martin Satie. Together, they deliver mating pheromones to an endangered male kaiju, Edward, so he can mate with a female, Bella. After this successful mission, they answer a call to check on a kaiju whose reactor is failing. The kaiju lost the battle they saw on the way to Tanaka Base. The kaiju explodes, releasing nuclear energy and thinning the barrier between the two Earths. Bella sits at the barrier and begins nesting, drawing concerns that she will cross over to the main Earth. Aparna assures the others Bella will not move until the barrier has already closed. The KPS begins researching Bella and her eggs. Meanwhile, Jamie begins hosting powerful and influential tourists that fund and support the KPS. Jamie undergoes ground and weapons training at the jungle floor and learns how to defend themself and others.

Satie takes Jamie, Aparna, Niamh, and biologist Ion Ardeleanu to set up cameras and instrument packages to gather data on Bella and the eggs. When a parasite attacks Ardeleanu, Niamh and Jamie fight it off while Aparna tends to Ardeleanu. Back at base, the KPS celebrates and rewards Ardeleanu, Jamie, Aparna, and Niamh for fighting the parasite. Tom tells Jamie that Rob Sanders, their former boss, visits Kaiju Earth as a tourist, which annoys Jamie.

Sanders and US Major General Tipton visit to go over the nesting situation. During a tour of the site, Sanders reveals he sold füdmüd for billions and fired Jamie randomly on a bet that they would become a delivery driver. Sanders asks to see Bella’s nest in person and tries to bribe Satie with $100,000. Satie appears to accept but lands Sanders on the jungle floor, far from the site, telling him he will not take bribes. Sanders apologizes and Satie accepts on the condition that Sanders remain silent for the rest of the trip. Aparna and Niamh assure Tipton that Bella will not be a problem. Brynn MacDonald, the head of Tanaka Base Gold Team, tells Sanders that Sanders’s grandfather had a shady history with KPS and that Satie reported his attempted bribery. Sanders apologizes and, when Tipton asks about his conversation with Jamie about füdmüd, Jamie covers for him. MacDonald gives Sanders a warning. Telling Sanders they did not want to humiliate him further, Jamie scares him into revealing that he intends to get a sample of Bella’s eggs. Jamie bans him from Kaiju Earth.

After Sanders leaves, Tom takes a team to replant the instrument packages at the nesting site. When his aerostat and chopper’s signals go out, Jamie and Satie fly to the site to investigate. They find the helicopter crashed and Bella and her eggs gone. Tanaka Base tries to figure out what happened while Jamie, Satie, and Kahurangi investigate. At the nesting site, they find the cameras and instrument packages destroyed and a phone hidden inside a fallen tree. Jamie shows the rest of Tanaka Base a video from the phone, in which Tom runs to replant the packages, explaining that the aerostat and helicopter were attacked and soldiers are firing at him and the crew. A soldier confronts and kills Tom. Creatures attack, and the soldiers use a machine to create a perimeter around Bella and the eggs, sending them to the main Earth.

Later, Niamh, Aparna, and Kahurangi inform Jamie that Bella has gone critical due to the cold weather on the main Earth. If they do not get her back to Kaiju Earth, she will explode, killing thousands of humans in Labrador. With Satie’s support, the four decide follow Bella through the barrier using uranium pellets. They encounter and stun a soldier on the way to the encampment where Bella is. Before the KPS crew can send her back, Sanders and his crew stop them. Sanders tells them they need his USB key and reveals his crew took Bella and the eggs to use their nuclear reactors. He wants to make a profit and does not care if Bella explodes.

Kahurangi releases an aggression pheromone into the air, causing Bella’s parasites to attack. In the chaos, Jamie takes the USB key from Sanders. Sanders tries to kill Jamie, but a parasite attacks and kills him. Satie appears through the barrier and Jamie, Satie, and Aparna coax Bella to follow them to the perimeter. Niamh uses the USB key to send Bella and her eggs back. Back at KPS, Satie and the crew are rewarded. After their tour ends, they all go to back to the main Earth and their ordinary lives. In Manhattan, Jamie learns their former coworker, Qanisha Williams, was fired and now works as a delivery driver. Jamie gives her a business card for the KPS.

Related Titles

By John Scalzi

Study Guide


Starter Villain

John Scalzi

Starter Villain

John Scalzi