Vanessa's Reviews > How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
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Sep 23, 13

Read in February, 2012

While basically enjoyable, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe doesn't succeed as science fiction, and it doesn't succeed as literary fiction, so really what I'm saying is, it doesn't succeed. The author names the main character after himself, which he shouldn't, but does anyway, presumably because he think it gives the story an extra depth and/or poignancy, which it doesn't. The main character then messes about in his science fictional universe, and what fun there is to be had is in teasing apart the rules of this universe (which are mostly grammatical) but don't completely hang together or create a fully realized world for the reader to explore, which means it never satisfies the greedy, geeky, acne covered science fiction fan within, and thus it doesn't ultimately succeed as science fiction.

Why it doesn't succeed as literary fiction is that, apparently, Charles Yu isn't a particularly interesting character, and his family relationships aren't much to read about, and his inner psychology is lame and contains no new revelations or insights to merit the reader spending 200 odd pages stuck inside his head.
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