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Sorry Please Thank You

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,905 ratings  ·  358 reviews
The author of the widely praised debut novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe returns with a hilarious, heartbreaking, and utterly original collection of short stories.

A big-box store employee is confronted by a zombie during the graveyard shift, a problem that pales in comparison to his inability to ask a coworker out on a date . . . A fighter leads his b
Hardcover, 222 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Pantheon
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,905 ratings  ·  358 reviews

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Kyle Muntz
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This collection was so good I read the first 100 pages in one sitting. It's mostly made up of two types of stories: more narrative, character oriented pieces, that play with genre in the way Yu is really known for. For a lot of people these are probably the highlight of the collection, but I enjoyed the rest of them as well. They're more disassociated, and read like meditations on the poetry of loneliness, subjectivity, meta-textuality, etc--the same themes as the rest of the collection, but mor ...more
Arielle Walker
Great - in small doses. I read this whole collection in one go, and by the end the dialogue grated. The ideas were cute, the execution sometimes fell short.
Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ ✦
I bought this book first, but the very first Charles Yu work I've read was my next purchase which was How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe. I could never begin to tell you just how madly in love I was with it from start to finish.

You can read my review about it in case you're curious.

Now, if I sit still for a moment and think about it again for a whole minute, I might get lost inside my own head and never recover. The only reason I bought this other book was because of one of the quoted reviews in the b
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am in a hospice.

I have been here before. A regular client.

I am holding a pen.

I have just written something on a notepad in front of me.

My husband is gone.

He died years ago.

Today is the tenth anniversary of his death.

I have Alzheimer’s, I think.

A memory of my husband surfaces, like a white-hot August afternoon, resurfacing in the cool water of November.

I tear off the sheet of paper.
Bogi Takács
One of the most promoted SFF short story collections by a minority author I have ever seen in English-language publishing. I bought it several years ago, but then I was constantly moving for a long time, and I just found it in a box. (If you're wondering why I haven't read X, Y, Z big title, this is why. I probably got them while trying to stay alive and moving from one rental to another. Sigh)

I am sad to say this one did not age well. I feel it was published just as short-form SFF w
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Sorry. Please. Thank you. They say that if you knew the words of these three phrases in any language, you can probably get by pretty well. Maybe if you can understand all the stories in here, you'll be able to get by in life? Overall, I found it to be like a less-successful Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (which you should read if you haven't already). Each of the stories in here is a little bizarre in the way Twilight Zone episodes are bizarre.

Unfortunately, the storie
Kaitlyn S.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary, library
I'm still not sure how I feel about this collection, as a whole. If you've read Yu's novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, what he serves up here won't surprise: surreal, experimental, with pop-culture and scifi influences. And yet.

Most of these stories seem to be riffing off the same chords: living in reality, mediated and/or sanitized experiences. I feel like, in writing the first story "Standard Loneliness Package," Yu has said pretty much everything, and the rest of t
Ben Babcock
Charles Yu’s characters are not very happy.

I wasn’t enthusiastic reading Sorry Please Thank You: Stories, for I wasn’t much of a fan of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Nevertheless, I’d acquired this collection prior to reading that novel, from a library sale, so I wanted to give Yu a second chance. I don’t think there will be a third.

The stories in here aren’t particularly bad. They just don’t appeal to me. For one thing, as I mention at the top of this review, his characters are often these sad-sack men wh
In some ways this reminds me of The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, in that there are SO MANY things I love about it, but Yu cannot let you forget, even for a second, exactly what he thinks women are for. The last story was so explicit about it, it left me so upset. (view spoiler)

I liked the first story a lot, Standard Loneliness
Sorry, please, thank you, you're welcome - words to live by.

This was a good is made up of some stories that were just okay, most that were good and two that were great.

This sci-fi collection was easy to get into and highly readable.
Scott Rhee
I have always felt that the short story is the perfect literary form and that a good short story can be as poignant as a novel, lyrical as a poem, and as dramatic as a play. A good science fiction short story can be ground-breaking.

Charles Yu has already made a name for himself in the science fiction community based on his debut novel, “How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe”, and two short story collections. I have not read his novel or his first short story collection, “Th
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Charles Yu has been making a big splash. His short story collection THIRD CLASS SUPERHERO won him the 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation. Then he received the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. Last year his debut novel HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE came out to near universal acclaim including being named a New York Times notable book and 2011 Best Book of the Year by such publications as Time Magazine and io9. He comfortably straddles science fiction and liter ...more
Suad Shamma
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2015, favourites
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and devoured it within hours of starting! I had actually picked this up whilst reading Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy, since I found myself in a slump and needed a break from the series, which seemed to be dragging. Boy, am I glad I did! This was exactly what I needed at the time. A series of short stories that are completely bizarre at times, but always entertaining. I can't even begin to choose a favourite, as they all have a little something specia ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
in my experience, there's generally two geographical locations for Charles Yu's works: Out There on the Edge, and So Far Out There I Can't Follow Him. this book is a mixed bag of both locations.

Out There on the Edge is a very very good place to be: reaching to that space is stretching, is moving arthritic thought processes, is growth, and a number of the stories in this book will encourage you, like a really good yoga teacher, on that path. plus, the stories can be very funny in plac
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
So, I liked this more than How to Live Safely. Wasn't a huge fan of the stories with a heavy fantasy/scifi emphasis, but there were some good ones in here. My favorites --

(Warning! There are possible spoilers ahead.)

Standard Loneliness Package: A company has developed a technology for transferring emotional experiences .. and they outsource all the unpleasant experiences (funerals, sickness, losing your job) to a help center in India, where the main character works and falls in love with a
Peter Derk
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
A lot like his last book, this one left me feeling a bit confused, but also kind of awed.

Charles Yu is an awesome writer, and he has awesome ideas. He's a great science-fiction writer because he uses technology and science as an avenue to talking about human emotion instead of using it to talk about big spaceships, haunted spaceships, or really, extra big spaceships.

Does anyone write books about small, humble spaceships anymore?

I also appreciate that he's not
John Pappas
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
With prefatory quotes from Sapir and Whorf, Yu's fun and inventive meta-science fiction stories about longing and language revolve around the human need to think and feel and imagine in words in order to create or recreate one's self or one's world. The strongest ("Troubleshooting", "Standard Loneliness Package", "Hero Absorbs Major Damage") do this with maximal heart and pathos. Some of the stories ("The Book of Categories") have an inventive form along with that heart and sincere longing (alth ...more
Clarisa Doval
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update: I loved it. it might just be because the stories were different, or because of the way Yu writes, but so far, this is my favorite book this year.


So far... it is fucking great.

Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This collection of stories on the human condition are incredibly creative, profound and thought provoking.
Amie Whittemore
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I wanted to love this collection, and certainly do love the opening story, "Standard Loneliness Package," and the one with the Walmart Zombie (can't remember what it is, but also there should be an anthology of zombies in walmarts because this wasn't the first such story I've read), I didn't find myself enamored, for reasons I can't quite articulate. Overall I liked the book, its intelligence and play with form, but it just didn't sing to me as much as I thought it was going to.
Ryan I
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
The words 'sorry', 'please' and 'thank you' can be thrown around so fast and furious that the meaning of the words can feel thin – especially in an apology-happy country like Canada. But the ideas behind those words form the entirety of human interaction, observes the narrator in Charles Yu's final story from his short story collection (not coincidentally titled) 'Sorry Please Thank You.'

Even though the title suggests a bland and polite collection of pleasantness, Yu’s tales crackle with wild,
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Brilliant Short Story Collection from Charles Yu

One of the most celebrated emerging writers of literary science fiction of our time, Charles Yu’s magnificent “Sorry Please Thank You” is yet another remarkable literary achievement, demonstrating both the ample originality and vitality of his writing. Yu has breathed astonishingly new life into such time-honored fantasy, science fiction and horror tropes as zombies, space opera and Artificial Intelligence into his latest short story
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoy the work of Charles Yu. I liked his first collection of stories, Third-Class Superhero, and his novel, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe, for their New Yorker-meets-quantum physics style. There's something inherently funny and interesting about the combination of worrying about marriages, employment, and family ties in the context of time travel, space travel, and alternate universes. That said, the well runs a bit dry in Sorry Please Thank You. About half of the stories ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I loved Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, about a time travel machine repairman searching for his lost father. Most of Yu's short stories in this collection lean heavily on the same concept of a science fiction trope explored as an allegory for some deep crisis of introspection in adult life. When you come across that idea on its own, as I did reading How To Live Safely, it's brilliant. But when you read a bunch of those similar stories back-to-pack, it starts to seem less ...more
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was lent an advanced copy of this book, and was fairly excited. The cover was nicely textured as was the book itself and the stories discussed on the book jacket intrigued me.

Little did I know that those stories were in the first section and the rest just would not be up to par.

The "Sorry"section is full of stories that are unique, intriguing, and attractive to anyone who likes sci-fi. I quickly read the whole section when I meant to only read one sorry.

Mark Flanagan
You know how it is when you stumble onto the work of a writer you’ve never read before and by the time your only pages into the book, you pretty much know you’ve committed yourself to picking up whatever else comes along from this author. That’s what smacked me upside the head when a couple of years ago I dove into Charles Yu’s debut novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. And now Charles Yu is back with Sorry Please Thank You, his second (after Third Class Superhero, 2006) collection ...more
David Gorgone
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I am old fashioned when it comes to my choice in fiction I do appreciate when writers do things that are surprising and unusual. When it is done right. Sadly this is not the case with Charles Yu's book. I found maybe 3 stories in this book to be entertaining. Otherwise I felt like he just kept repeating the same themes and tropes over and over again. Even though I had only about 20 pages left in the book I finally gave up on it. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems that people are trying too h ...more
Gayla Bassham
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are a couple of masterpieces here--I especially liked "Hero Absorbs Major Damage" and "Standard Loneliness Package"--but most of the stories share the same bleak, world-weary mood (imagine Alice Munro and Greg Egan collaborating on a story together). Toward the end the stories began to feel a little too samy, which detracted from their impact. But this is my fault for reading the whole book in two sittings instead of pacing myself. I should know by now to pace myself when I'm reading a sin ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the first two stories of Yu's collection, I felt that my expectations for the rest of the book were not fully met. His prose, as brilliantly succinct and poignant as it is, failed to keep me interested in the storylines of most of his short stories. The more experimental pieces are worth noting however for their emotionally charged undertones. That being said, his thoughts of the growing commodification of the human experience was very compelling and push me to think ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A very nice selection of science fiction stories. I really liked Hero Absorbs Major Damage (a D&D short story) and Note To Self (meeting himself and himselfs in multiple dimensions). Oh, there was even a story about Yeoman Red Shirt. Sorry Please Thank You (the final short story) had a real effect on me, I guess for more personal reasons. A very good read.
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CHARLES YU is the author of three books, including the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, and was nominated for two WGA awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC and ...more
“I hope you read this, whoever you are, and imagine that there is a hypothetical person out there who needs your love, has been waiting silently, patiently for it all his life, is flawed and downright ugly at times and yet would have just eaten up any tiny bit of affection you had been willing to give, had you ever stopped your own happy life to notice. And then imagine that this hypothetical person is real, because he probably is.... Wish I’d met you. Wish I wasn’t your hypothetical. But you’re reading this, which means a few minutes ago, I went into that bathroom and pulled the trigger. You probably heard it. Sorry. You’re welcome. Thank you. And please. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please.” 20 likes
“This is what you have to ask yourself: Do you want to be good, or just seem good? Do you want to be good to yourself and others? Do you care about other people, always, sometimes, never? Or only when convenient? What kind of person do you want to be?” 19 likes
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