How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
A Novel (Vintage)

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Synopsis

*This ebook includes photos, illustrations, and a bonus short story, which add to the ever-expanding world of Minor Universe 31.

Photos and illustrations appear as hyperlinks in text.

National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award winner Charles Yu delivers his debut novel, a razor-sharp, ridiculously funny, and utterly touching story of a son searching for his father . . . through quantum space–time.
 
Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time travel is serious business. Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do: change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician—part counselor, part gadget repair man—steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls or consoling his boss, Phil, who could really use an upgrade, Yu visits his mother (stuck in a one-hour cycle of time, she makes dinner over and over and over) and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and Ed, a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory. He learns that the key may be found in a book he got from his future self. 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 help him—in fact it may even save his life.
 
Wildly new and adventurous, Yu’s debut is certain to send shock waves of wonder through literary space–time.

 

About Charles Yu

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Charles Yu 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, among other journals. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Michelle, and their two children.
 
Published September 7, 2010 by Vintage. 258 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

The New York Times

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Charles Yu wraps his lonely story of a time machine repairman in glittering layers of gorgeous meta-science-fiction.

Sep 03 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

The Guardian

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It might seem like I'm veering off the path here a little, but I promise this is time travel-related, especially if you read chapter three, "Lingering in the Woods", in which Eco lays out his explanation of the concepts of "story time", "reading time" and "discourse time", and explains how a text...

Oct 20 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

BC Books

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A delicious blend of fine literature and genre.

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

BC Books

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How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu is simultaneously a commentary on contemporary society, as well as an adventure into the real universe layered with playful meta science fiction.

Aug 29 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

BC Books

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For ten (subjective) years, Yu has spent most of his off-duty time living in his phone booth-sized time machine, the shifter jammed between gears, just whiling away his lifespan in the non-existence between the past- and future-tense.

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

BC Books

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The fictional Charles Yu (hereafter called Charles for clarity) travels through Minor Universe 31 in a TM-31 Recreational Time Travel Device, ostensibly repairing the temporal errors of hapless time-travelers, but also searching time for his father.

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

NPR

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In How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu grafts the laws of theoretical physics onto the yearnings of the human heart. His time paradoxes are playful and clever — but he also describes a universe-wide emotional gap with a haunting, melancholic air.

Oct 02 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

AV Club

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A writer who’s been compared to Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams finds his own feet in these clever stories of Star Trek redshirts and videogame failures. 

Aug 13 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

This "Charles Yu" repairs time machines for a living, in a future where time travel is part of everyday existence and Time Warner's "Time" division owns and operates the universe.

Sep 08 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

About.com

I'm speaking of Charles Yu the character, the protagonist of How to Live Safely in Science Fictional Universe, rather than Charles Yu, the author of same.

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The Columbus Dispatch

The event honors Columbus women who have made extraordinary contributions to family, workplace and...

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Seattle PI

The fictional Charles Yu (hereafter called Charles for clarity) travels through Minor Universe 31 in a TM-31 Recreational Time Travel Device, ostensibly repairing the temporal errors of hapless time-travelers, but also searching time for his father.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

With the reading of this book, How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, the sum of my science fiction reading experience is expanded to just five books: Asimov’s three-volume Foundation Trilogy and Ursula K.

Sep 08 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

SF Signal

Ultimately, time travel stories come down to stories about free will and destiny, and often there is a level of disappointment with how the story plays out: the character embodying free will learns that he cannot escape destiny, or destiny turns out to be free will: Yu manages to navigate between...

Aug 05 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Chamber Four

Yu works for Time Warner Time, which rents time machines to sad sacks who go back and relive their most painful life moments (because you can’t change the past, you can only watch it happen).

Jan 06 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Wired

I mentioned earlier that I was really excited about this new book by Charles Yu, and I’d been planning to save a review until closer to the release date, in September, but since Yu has been generating a lot of positive buzz* I figured I might as well tell you about it now, and then remind you aga...

Aug 01 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Austin Chronicle

It's telling that the protagonist in Charles Yu's debut novel is named Charles Yu – it's one of the first clues we get in this parallel narrative, one that defies the tenses of past, present, and future.

Oct 29 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Strange Horizons

Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a clever, quirky, jargon-infused debut novel about a man in a time machine trying to find his father.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

California Literary Review

Pop open the hatch of your time machines and “step out into the world of time and risk and loss … Enjoy the elastic present, which can accommodate as little or as much as you want to put in there.” Charles Yu the writer and Charles Yu the protagonist both reach the same startling conclusion.

Sep 21 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Critical Mob

As the protagonist loops back through memories of his father's attempts to create a time machine, Yu literalizes Cartesian dualism in a sense, fictional Yu's soul learning what his future body has not, and at the same time turns dualism on its head as Yu's father, both body and soul, become stuck...

Sep 07 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

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Live Journal

These scenes, though, occur really late into the novel, so as readers, the risk that Yu-the author relies upon is in keeping interest focused most specifically on the protagonist’s admittedly catchy slacker, self-deprecating humor and the “science fictional” quirks of the “universe 31.” Neverthe...

Nov 20 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Live Safely in a Scien...

Reader Rating for How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
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