M.K. Hunter, September 13, 2011 (view all comments by M.K. Hunter)
This book will dazzle you with its constantly shifting perspectives, styles and left turns. Great fun. AND the author appears at Wordstock this October, so you'll able to find out for yourself what sort of mind can create such a crazy quilt of storytelling.
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CWB, September 13, 2011 (view all comments by CWB)
As a fan of Jasper Fforde, I'm surprised the official reviewers didn't mention parallels with Fforde's series of novels about Thursday Next, a SpecOps detective traveling between the real world--or A real world--and the Book World, whose father is a member of the time-traveling ChronoGuard. I'll read Yu "next."
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babychaya, September 7, 2011 (view all comments by babychaya)
Embarking on this book (at least for the 1st third), I wasn't sure WHAT I had got myself into! Confusing? Yes... A little hard to "hang" with the concepts? Yes... But pushing on a bit into the book, I was indeed rewarded. Confusion faded and conceptually things came into my grasp. Best of all with the wonderful plot and creative might of Yu's storytelling, I was hooked! This book is like a flower bud opening into full bloom. It rewards the diligent reader with a thought-provoking story which will stay with you long after you have you consume the very last word. Excellent!
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simmonsr, June 10, 2011 (view all comments by simmonsr)
This book is just simply a major hoot! Twist you brain around various concepts of "time" while roller coasting along with a nerdy protagonist, his not real dog Ed, and his software female companion. Pure fun, and it works!
by The New York Times Book Review,
"Glittering layers of gorgeous and playful meta-science-fiction....Like [Douglas] Adams, Yu is very funny, usually proportional to the wildness of his inventions, but Yu's sound and fury conceal (and construct) this novel's dense, tragic, all-too-human heart....Yu is a superhero of rendering human consciousness and emotion in the language of engineering and science....A complex, brainy, genre-hopping joyride of a story, far more than the sum of its component parts, and smart and tragic enough to engage all regions of the brain and body."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Compulsively rereadable....Hilarious....Yu has a crisp, intermittently lyrical prose style, one that's comfortable with both math and sadness, moving seamlessly from delirious metafiction to the straight-faced prose of instruction-manual entries....[The book itself] is like Steve Jobs' ultimate hardware fetish, a dreamlike amalgam of functionality and predetermination."
"If How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe contented itself with exploring that classic chestnut of speculative fiction, the time paradox, it would likely make for an enjoyable sci-fi yarn. But Yu's novel is a good deal more ambitious, and ultimately more satisfying, than that. It's about time travel and cosmology, yes, but it's also about language and narrative — the more we learn about Minor Universe 31, the more it resembles the story space of the novel we're reading, which is full of diagrams, footnotes, pages left intentionally (and meaningfully) blank and brief chapters from the owner's manual of our narrator's time machine....Yu grafts the laws of theoretical physics onto the yearnings of the human heart so thoroughly and deftly that the book's technical language and mathematical proofs take on a sense of urgency."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"How to Live Safely is a book likely to generate a lot of discussion, within science fiction and outside, infuriating some readers while delighting many others."
by Portland Oregonian,
"A wild and inventive first novel...has been compared to the novels of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Jonathan Lethem, and the fact that such comparisons are not out of line says everything necessary about Yu's talent and future."
by Austin Chronicle,
"Douglas Adams and Philip K. Dick are touchstones, but Yu's sense of humor and narrative splashes of color — especially when dealing with a pretty solitary life and the bittersweet search for his father, a time travel pioneer who disappeared — set him apart within the narrative spaces of his own horizontal design....A clever little story that will be looped in your head for days."
From a 5 Under 35 winner, comes a razor-sharp, hilarious, and touching story of a son searching for his father... through quantum space-time.
Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That's where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he's not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It's called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life.
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