"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, September 30, 2016

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

TITLE: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
AUTHOR: Charles Yu

This book's central conceit is that time travel exists and the main character, who shares the author's name, repairs time machines for a living. His father invented time travel, though that's a story in itself, and the author, uh, I mean the protagonist is searching for his father who disappeared years ago.

There isn't much story here. The main action takes place in flashbacks/memories and the protagonist's narration of his past. In a way, the book, and the time travel conceit, is a metaphor for life and how people get stuck in their life while searching for something that may or may not really matter.

I really don't want to say too much. The book needs to be experienced, not explained. It likely will mean different things to different people. I put it on my To Read list back when it was published, in 2010, because it sounded intriguing. But I never spotted it at Barnes & Noble, and since my To Read list is very, very long, I never sought it out. But I spotted it on a table in The Strand bookstore a couple of months ago and the title tickled my memory, so I bought and now have read it. I'm glad I did. It was different, and I enjoy different. If you like different, you might like it, too.