Customer Reviews for

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Average Rating 3.5
( 88 )
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5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(24)

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(19)

2 Star

(10)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 88 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5
  • Posted November 7, 2010

    A great debut novel, I'll be watching to see what he does next!

    In Minor Universe 31 there is one cardinal rule - you can't change the past and trying will only cause trouble. Yet everyday people climb in time machines and go back to undo the wrongs in their past. That's where Charles Yu comes in. He's a time travel repairman and he spends his days rescuing all the hapless time travelers from themselves. His sidekicks are TAMMY, his machine's operating system and Ed, a nonexistent dog. The only problem is Charles, himself, is stuck in the past, brooding on his distant and missing inventor father and his unhappy mother.

    It is interesting to see the wide range of feelings this novel has produced!I'll start by admitting that I am not normally a sci-fi reader, so I was looking for an entertaining novel, not good sci-fi. I was definitely entertained! To begin with the book is written in long, drawn-out, run on sentences and is full of time-travel, science fiction jargon. It took me awhile to get into the rhythm, but before long I relaxed into it and the story seemed to flow easily. The plot felt unique and interesting, the characters likable and well rounded, and the problems they deal with real world and timely. Who doesn't have something they'd like to change about their past? A day they wish they could live differently? Ultimately Yu uses his original and funny protagonist of a time-travel machine repairman to address some serious issues - father/son relationships, living in the past, and failure - yet the book remains light and entertaining throughout. A great debut novel, I'll be watching to see what he does next!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    How To Read Safely "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe"

    Hiding behind subtle and humorous puns that will delight science fiction readers (Skywalker, L. is a client of the main character, the detailed descriptions of the time machine and time travel, the hilarious use of techno-babble and mention of his time machine's "Niven Rings" are some examples), the author weaves a poignant tale of a son not only searching for his father, but his relationship with his father as well.

    Similar to the Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde, Yu's characters know they are living in a fictional universe, in fact in "Minor Universe 31." Indeed, the main character is Christopher Yu, himself, who is given a book written by his future self that he must read (and write) in hopes of unraveling the mystery of his father's whereabouts and is the very book being reviewed here. Confusing? Don't panic, the whole thing arrives at a revealing, and touching, personal conclusion.

    Yu's work will delight those who like a unique, "pushing-the-envelope" kind of book, those interested in exploring the relationships fathers and sons can develop, and sci-fi fans everywhere.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    Gut-Hurting Funny

    "Sometimes at night I worry about TAMMY. I worry that she might get tired of it all. Tired of running at sixty-six terahertz, tired of all those processing cycles, every second of every hour of every day. I worry that one of these cycles she might just halt her own subroutine and commit software suicide. And then I would have to do an error report, and I don't know how I would even begin to explain that to Microsoft."

    Charles Yu is a time travel technician. The title flows off of the tongue as well as any other corporate programming job, but in this truly original debut, Yu not only bends time and the idea of the average 9-5, he bends the line between author and protagonist as he learns that the key to finding what he is looking for may be found in a book written by his future self, "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe."

    Poignant, gut-hurting funny, original to the point of wondering if this isn't some earth-shattering memoir from the real future, Yu's work is a powerful new presence in the literary world.

    Reviewed by J.S. Chancellor, author of "Son of Ereubus" with Suspense Magazine

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    SF fans who enjoy something radically different will want to read Charles Yu's escapades in time and space.

    In Minor Universe 31, time travel is a way of life as is paradoxes caused by someone tinkering with the past. Time technician Charles Yu fixes the stupid actions of those wanting change without comprehending the consequences. He councils these idiots, but does so calmly even when he tries to pacify his harried boss Phil.

    Yu visits his mother, who is trapped in a life of one-hour in which she prepares dinner infinitely. He still seeks his father who invented the machines that enable time travel, but vanished while testing his gizmos. Accompanied by TAMMY the operating system with Yu's personality (to include a lack of self-worth) and Ed the imaginary ontological canine, he continues his personal quest to meet and talk with his dad; having gained hope by a book he will one day author, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

    This is an intriguing time travel science fiction tale starring a stay out of trouble extremist (think of Columbus in most of the movie Zombieland) who as a bureaucrat quietly rectifies the mistakes of others while searching for his lost dad to have a father-son chat. The story line feels like a Moebius series of loops so is difficult to follow yet quite fun to do so. Although the climax is abrupt and seemingly out of character for the safety only lead protagonist, SF fans who enjoy something radically different will want to read Charles Yu's escapades in time and space.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Time travel is an entertaining subject in and of itself, but at its core, this book is a collection of moments. Moments of realization, moments of disappointment and moments of loss and regret.

    Charles is a time machine repairman on Minor Universe 31. Technically, he is like the auto club for time machines. When a machine fails, he travels across time to fix it. But, these "repairs" are often needed because people go back in time to change the past, and that's something that should never be done. He runs into all types of people, with his robotic dog by his side, but he's got problems of his own. In a moment of rash judgment, he shoots his future self. Now, THAT's a problem. To further complicate things, he comes across a book he's written, a survival guide for living in a science fictional universe. But at the point of discovery, he's already gone against much of what it recommends.

    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was wonderful but in a totally weird, quirky way. Parts of it were absolutely touching and sweet and parts of were complete mind benders.

    It's really a book about so many things. The relationship between Charles and his family is achingly sad. Charles yearns for so much more, and he doesn't really understand where things went wrong, so he re-lives moments over and over again in order to gain an understanding. It's a book about self-discovery, about love and loss but it's also very funny. There are lots of funny moments to chuckle over.

    Fans of science fiction will certainly enjoy this one, but readers who enjoy "what if" scenarios will enjoy this one too. I found myself working stuff out in my head (sort of like what I did when I watched Back to the Future III and thought, wth??)

    This was a fun, completely different book. The story was very unique and thoughtful. I'm so glad I read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Recommended

    If your a fan of time travel stories Yu gives the reader a different take on an old theme.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    10/10

    Awsome Book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Fox dung!

    This is foox dung!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Utter garbage

    I really thought this would be a funny, interesting story but it turned out the reading this is a real slog.. With no prize at the end. My advice is to skip this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 24, 2013

    A man and his dog fixing space-time for a living is a surprising

    A man and his dog fixing space-time for a living is a surprisingly groovy book. The book is filled with humorous moments similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide series, but it also brings emotional moments that get you thinking about life's challenges and how it is not impossible but in every way possible to overcome. There are slight references to all those treasured Sci-Fi universes in some way or another, such as the main character describing his machine as small as a "phone booth" on the inside. It is a short read, at least it was for me, so I definitely recommend it. I finished it in about 3-2 hours at a slightly above average reading pace. The book's pacing is also well written. I do not think that it was too slow at any part of the plot, and it was a page-turner.

    If you are looking for a book about time-travel, humor, and some sad bits, this is a must-read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    An apology from my camp

    Were sorry. Some of our campers are rude and immature. Since they most likely wont apologize i will. Again, im very sorry. ~Allissa

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Bree

    I fell asleep! T-T Sorry... Wait.... Only Luna calls me BreeLee? O-o Unless you do too x) .... Hello...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Brooke

    Breelee ish ignoring me :( *walks out*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Hello

    Hello

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Ace

    Im going on a cruise in june!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Cara

    Danced in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Guildenstern

    Hi.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Asmen

    Looks around

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    Percy from the halfblood camp

    I am not sure who did tha. Weve been getting messages to move to other camps. I am terribly sorry for the inconvinence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Sabariam

    Hello anyone here?"" She stumbles into the flearing...a empty cold. Space. She sigh and drags Her feet.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 88 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5