How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu (2010)

Genre: Science Fiction
Interest level: Adult
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseI am cheerfully admitting I requested this from the library solely based on the title. Shallow, I know. But ultimately a smart move. I loved this book! It is perhaps the most original book I’ve read, ever, and like so much of the nonfiction I’ve been reading, first-time author Yu made me work pretty hard to keep up with his imaginative and self-referential world where fiction and science and reality blend into a weird world where time travel is possible, the book in your hand is an important element in the book you are reading, Luke Skywalker exists and has a son who, oh irony, feels overshadowed by his dad, and computers have emotions and inferiority complexes. I’ll bet Yu did a double major in physics and English literature and then followed up with an MFA in creative writing. A bit about the book. Our protagonist, Charles Yu, is about 30, a time machine repair technician who is looking for his father, lost in time. Charles drifts about in time, avoiding the present, immersing himself in memories both tragic and touching. His writing is complex, creative, exquisite in its details as he wakes up your senses. Here, he describes his dad opening a packet of graph paper pads: “He would worry the cellophane in a spot just a bit, just enough to pinch between his fingers a bit of the clear wrap and tear the membrane, making that delicate fine-structured sound of it being torn.” He’s also very funny – I laughed out loud on the bus several times reading this gem. Can’t wait to read more from this guy.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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