How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe
Charles Yu, time travel technician, helps save people from themselves in Minor Universe 31, a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction. When he's not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog named Ed, and using a book titled "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe "as his guide, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory.
Every once in a while I read a book which I cannot stop talking or thinking about. How to live safely in a science fictional universe by Charles Yu is such a book. The protagonist is a time machine mechanic. He lives with his dog that is not real and his boss is a computer program. When others try to change their pasts and therefore upset the delicate balance of the universe he shows up doubling as repair man and therapist. If these funny anecdotes about people’s propensity for using time machines not to witness the great events of history but to revisit their own bleak pasts were the entirety of the book I would be happy. But that is just the beginning. Each progressive section of the book takes the reader further into the complex relationship between a man and his computer interface, a son and a father, and a man’s present self and future self. Time travel is not for everyone but for those willing to take the risks this book is a funny, poignant, mind wrenching, and rewarding read.
-- by Mollie H.