Author: Charles Yu
Category: Science Fiction
Publication Date: September 7th, 2010
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe… the name and plot for this book gave us very high hopes for it as a funny piece of work that may poke fun of science fiction while simultaneously celebrating it as a genre. The main character is a time machine mechanic. He waits until some one breaks down out of their time and helps them. The main point of this story is when he runs into a future version of himself that he then kills. (Which we will discuss further down in the review) He gets a book from future him, and it just so happens to be the book you are reading, How to Live Safely in a Sciencal Fiction Universe making this book goes all Inception on us.
Imagine you are siting with a grandparent and they are telling you this grand story from their childhood. You sit there at first anxious to hear it but you then realize that they have fallen asleep and they are just rambling random words, never really getting to the point of their whole story. That is almost the same feeling that, at least the beginning, this book gives. This book is worse than that. For two thirds of this book LITERALLY NOTHING INTERESTING HAPPENS. Now to the credit of this book, it does seem to go for a more artistic style. The majority of this book has deep thinking into our lives and the world around us. This might have worked if not for the fact that the author seems to want to tell us everything instead of showing it and letting the reader learn for themselves.
Example: There is one part where the main character’s father is explaining his great idea and is excited. As a child, he is uninterested and flat out ask his dad if they are poor. Instead of giving us a emotional scene of this father being upset, the author constantly keeps saying out loud to us that, “he was upset” about fifty times! We are not dumb, give us a little more credit.
The technology is cool with his time travel device. The fact that other worlds in science fiction, like Star Wars, means that you could have had some real crazy and fun adventure in this world. You give yourself this who universe you can play with, and you stick to a lonely thirty-year old man that masturbates to his ship’s hologram projection. The idea that the author had just is unappealing and boring.
If through the entire book, I am screaming, “ WHO CARES?!” every five minuets, then there is something wrong with your book. I hated English class in high school but this book has made me reach back and pull out one of the thing so remember from those classes. When you want your reader to see or feel something, SHOW IT DONT TELL IT. I want to imagine it in my own mind and question what the author meant at a certain point. I want to think for myself, dammit! The most infuriating thing is that this book would be like, “I was cooking noodles in a pot. It was hot and this is 2 paragraphs on why.” I can see why some would like it because he monologues in his head and brings up thought provoking things… That have little to do what is going on when there is actually something going on! This type of book is not for me and shame on you, guy who made it, for making me think this was a fun book. I do not want to read anything from Mr. Charles Yu, unless God himself comes down and recommends it.
I’ll be totally honest, I DNF’d this book at around 30%. I was just bored the whole time. The entire 30% of the book that I got through read like the opening paragraphs of the book before; the part where you are just meeting the universe and the characters. I just got so bored with it that I ended up skimming the rest of it but not really reading it.