1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One helluva ride in time!!!,
This review is from: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (Hardcover)Science fiction is generally not the area I hang out in at the bookshop but I'd heard a lot of good things about Charles Yu's debut. Turning to the first page, I read a short paragraph - the gist? Charles Yu, the narrator (and author of the same name) shoots himself. Hmm, strange I thought and exciting too. What on earth is going to happen in this novel? So, rewind or fast-forward, or goodness knows really (time is not governed in universe-31 like it is for us)... Charles is a time machine repairman, who has been hiding from life for some time. His father disappeared when he was younger, his mother lives in a repetitive time loop of only an hour, he is in love with his operating system (TAMMY) and he has an imaginary dog called Ed. After shooting himself, his future self gives him a book. It's called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and he must use to try and get himself out of the time loop he has created for himself.
This book is bleak in some respects and hilarious in others. The whole set-up is believable because Yu writes it so well. We have the tiny details and the human eccentricities (even for TAMMY who is an operating system and Phil, his manager who doesn't know he's only a computer programme) added in to give real depth to the novel. The narrator, Charles is a bit of a sorry character but spending time with him is absorbing and even though he could do with a bit of sprucing up, you're still on his side. The time travel and technical aspects of the novel were accessible, even for someone like me who barely ever reads science fiction. And I think the difference was I found the characters were strong enough to make me forget the genre entirely and just jump on for the ride. Much recommended!