Book Bingeing: ‘How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe’ by Charles Yu

Book Bingeing
Tigard Public Library.
‘How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe’ by Charles Yu.

Charles Yu works in the time travel industry. Accompanied only by Ed (his dog) and his TM-31 Recreational Time Travel Device, he works to fix the time paradoxes and plot holes that the citizens of Minor Universe 31 don’t seem to want to stop creating. But manipulating space-time to help pay the bills has its share of problems, including but not limited to accelerated aging, infinite time loops and disappearing family members.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe follows a first-generation Asian-American Telemachus trying to locate his father and discover himself. It’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with the wit of Douglas Adams, the imagination of Neil Gaiman and the introspection of Louise Glück.

On the surface, How to Live Safely is a quirky postmodern take on time travel paradoxes and other familiar sci-fi tropes; Yu’s post-time-travel universe is intricately detailed and almost mathematical in its consistency. But past the captivating world-building, the heart of the book lies in its deep exploration of the ways in which time, emotion, memory and freewill affect our experiences.

Sci-fi fans and lovers of literature alike will enjoy Yu’s deep, well-crafted blend of science fiction and literary fiction. How to Live Safely is a book that will stay relevant until the end of time—or at least until time travel.