How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
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 (an...more
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Another example of high concept literary fiction costuming itself in the tropes, set designs and jargon of genre fiction, while striving to create something unique, penetrating and memorable.
And, in this case, succeeding brilliantly. Bravo, Mr. Yu.
While not an untrammeled success and a bit murky, at times, with its message delivery, I thought this was, overall, an exceptional achievement. I certainly thought it was a terrific contrast to what I found to be the glossy, soulless disingenuousness ...more
Trying to summarize this is going to be like trying to explain Inception to someone who has never had a dream or seen a movie. Essentially, it’s a science fictional universe where time travel is possible. Fiction and reality have blended together so that you may run into Luke Skywalker’s son ...more
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To find the only way to exit a time loop, please refer to Appendix A of this manual (How To Live Safely Inside a Science Fictional Universe)
When it happens, this is what happens: By reading Charles Yu's incomparably original work of fiction, I'm realizing, have realized and will have realized that I've lived and I am still living inside a ...more
The Book Report: I have no bloody idea what this, this hideous waste of a perfectly good tree is about. If anything. Turgid, awkward sentences meander about in a time traveling machine, doing nothing to illuminate a plot that I could discern through the fog of irritated disdain that began to enshroud me on p2.
My Review: DO NOT READ IT. No one on Planet Earth could conceivably be geeky enough to want to read this. It is ungainly in its lineaments and sounds like what would h ...more
It's experimental, but it's also a very accessible book. And, at it's heart, it's a very human, v ...more
This is what time travel is like when you can actually move back and forth through the life narrative inside your own head, because your life narrative has combined with others to form a navigable science-fictional universe, also called a story space, through which you may freely roam in your very own time machine constructed from a, and I quote, “grammar drive built on a quad-core physic ...more
Unfortunately, this is mainly a book where nothing much happens... *SPOILERS (to the THREE things that happen in the book) to follow!* Even the girl he never marries and his time-traveling dog companion aren't real. In fact, the only thing that happens to the time machine repairma ...more
I had more, but GoodReads ate it and produced nothing. Generally, this is a suprisingly smart and fun book that reads far faster than it should, that draws in “genre” and “literary” readers alike with specific terminology and themes, and is especially enjoyable if, like me, one really can appreciate both. ...more
The world in which this novel takes place differs from ours in two key respects:
1) Humanity has discovered (though it is not made clear when this discovery was made, or by whom) that the fundamental laws of physics are actually the laws of narrative -- specifically, of science fictional narrative. The book's reality is a vast multiverse in which individual universes, and parts of universes, behave like stories from different sub-genres ...more
To be honest, this book made my head hurt. It uses big invented words. Your first clue that Yu's time machine is literature because it uses grammatical somethi ...more
I'm really glad my first impressions were wrong because How to Live Safely Blah Blah Blah is a book that's much different and entirely it's own awesome experience. Hilarious at times, nerdy at others, fun, entertaining, with some clever ideas, How to Live Safely is a book of introspection and introduces the serious theme of making something ...more
This is very close to amazing. The only thing that fell off, was the story. The depressed time traveler is after his father. That is the point of the book, but the point changes to the narrative. I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but the narrative was pretty good. It points out crazy ideas and thoughts all of us have had when intoxicated. You know that moment where you think you are so smart? Yep, there are a lot of those, and I enjoy those.
It is also funny. Mentions of Star Wars had me laughing. ...more
I read a lot of books (no duh, I'm on Goodreads) and I think I'm pretty permissible when authors pull tricks because I'm typicall ...more
It sits on our nights ...more
The first time that I predicted that this was going to be my new favorite book was on page 17:
(Yu is a time machine repairman...and these machines only break down when people try to break the rules---change the pas ...more
One of the signs of the vast divide between literary darling and popular appeal (or, vice versa) is wildly divergent ratings by reviewers and general readers.
And yeah, that’s exactly what we’ve got with Yu’s “Ho ...more
I started reading this while sitting on the floor at Books Inc in Mountain View, bought it, and despite having a full weekend - I managed to squeeze in reading this book whenever and wherever possible.
Have just finished it and can I just say it was the most fun I've had reading a book ever -- ok, maybe not ever, but definitely in a LONG time. It twists your head -- not too much, but just enough to be clever. Lots of really funny parts ...more
I'm sure this book will find an audience. It's the kind of thing I might have liked in my early 20s, when I'd read a book and force myself to enjoy it, if only because to do so would increase my own sense of satisfaction. I was just a boy then, insecure, who liked to accomplish things, like reading literary fiction, tha ...more
Charles Yu takes readers along for a ride with...Charles Yu (!), as his fictional self (a time travel machine repairman) zooms through space and time (and quantum physics 101) in search of his father in this fun little adventure which turns out to be more "exercise in logic" than narrative.
The brilliance ends at the premise as we are dragged through the same old scenarios, the same old questions of ...more
I didn’t quit How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe because despite not knowing what was happening for much of those first 50 pages, Charles Yu’s writing was to ...more
Seriously, this was a letdow ...more
What I feel that is lacking in Yu's work is a s ...more
Charles Yu (which is the name of the protagonist, as well as the author) lives in Minor Universe 31, a science fictional world in which famous heroes like Luke Skywalker coexist alongside everyday people. Our humble narrator is a time machine repair man with serious daddy issues who has sp ...more
|Unpulped: Unpulped tries to not just live but thrive in a SciFi Universe||5||4||Jun 12, 2014 08:48PM|
|Beyond Reality: HOW TO LIVE SAFELY...:Roll Call and Initial Impressions||10||41||Oct 30, 2013 09:05AM|
|Beyond Reality: HOW TO LIVE SAFELY...: Finished Reading: **SPOILERS LIKELY**||5||25||Oct 24, 2013 05:48PM|
|Science Fiction A...: * June 2012 Random Read - How to Live in a Sciencefictional Universe||15||63||Jul 02, 2012 06:48PM|
He has received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award for his story collection Third Class Superhero, and he has also received the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. His work has been published in the Harvard Review, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and Mid-American Review, am ...more