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How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Charles Yu

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Corvus

Published : 2010

Copyright : Charles Yu 2010

ISBN-10 : HB 1-84887-680-7
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-84887-680-4

Publisher's Write-Up

With only TAMMY - a slightly tearful computer with self-esteem issues - a software boss called Phil - Microsoft Middle Manager 3.0 - and an imaginary dog called Ed for company, fixing time machines is a lonely business and Charles Yu is stuck in a rut. He's spent the better part of a decade navel-gazing, spying on 39 different versions of himself in alternate universes (and discovered that 35 of them are total jerks). And he's kind of fallen in love with TAMMY, which is bad because she doesn't have a module for that. With all that's on his mind, perhaps it's no surprise that when he meets his future self, he shoots him in the stomach. And that's a beginner's mistake for a time machine repairman. Now he's stuck in a time loop, going in circles forever. All he has, wrapped in brown paper, is the book his future self was trying to press into his hands. It's called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. And he's the author. And somewhere inside it is the information that could save him.

'Brimming with alternative universes, futuristic landscapes and gleeful metaphysics - Yu's spirit of invention is infectious.'

Sunday Times

'If sci-fi is the literature of ideas, Charles Yu is already a master of the form: there are more fascinating, bizarre and clever concepts per page than most writers manage in an entire novel.'

Time Out

''Charles Yu is a tremendously clever writer, and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is marvellously written, sweetly geeky, good clean time-bending fun.'

Audrey Niffenegger
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (310112) Rating (7/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 7/10
This review isn't really going to help you decide whether or not you should read this book, which is weird, clever and at times somewhat rambling in a weird and clever way.

Charles Yu is a time machine repairman stuck in a rut until he shoots his future self and becomes stuck in a time loop. At this point we are taken through Charles' relationship with his parents, mainly his father, in search of the answer to his problem, i.e. how to stay in his current universe without dying at his own hands.

As with most of you reading this the thing that hooked my interest was the write up, sounds very Douglas Adams doesn't it? Well, I personally think this is slightly misleading. If you buy this book expecting a straight forward SF romp with laugh out loud moments I think you would be disappointed. There are some 'funny' bits but as a whole it doesn't really work on this level and so is somewhat mis-sold.

All in all I felt a little cheated, although, in fairness, I probably didn't get 'it' for there are some pretty stunning endorsements so it must have something?

Destined to be a 'cult' novel it is either a work of literary genius or the meaningless ramblings of a geek... you and the future will need to decide. This is definitely a Marmite book, you will either love it or hate it, and, like Marmite the only way to find out is to try it.
Nigel (31st January 2012)

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