Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" by Charles Yu

Well I can't recommend this little novel enough. Let's just get that right off the bat. This is a great book and you should read it. It is witty. It has emotional content to borrow from one mister Bruce Lee. It rocks baby and rolls brothers.

Our protagnonist is just a blue collar type. He's got the job of repairing the time machines in minor universe number thirty one. It's not a bad job, and it gives him access to a time machine. That's good cause our guy has issues. Lots of issues, and he's alienated. So he basically strips the gear of his time machine so he's living in a timeless, tense less now except when called out to a service call. That way he can avoid thinking of how his father disappeared, or that his mom is in a permanent time loop living she same fantasy dinner over and over again. He doesn't need the universe anyway he'd say. He has his low self esteem artificial intelligence also known as TAMMY and he has a dog. What more can a man want?

At this point this book could have been quite a downer, it's to the point where sadness is an important operational perimeter of time machines. Luckily, for all the sadness there is some wicked funny writing to keep people from thinking they accidently bought a novelization of a Bergman novel. Bits like this:

"Thirty-one is a smallish universe, slightly below average in size.  On the cosmic scale, somewhat between shoe box and standard aquarium.  Not big enough for space opera and anyway not zoned for it."

Of course things don't stay in this time limbo the protagnonist wants.  Soon he's shooting at his future self and finds himself in a time loop.  The loop involves a book he gave himself called "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe."  To say what happens next would be crimingal.  Read the book!

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