#EPUB õ How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe ⚤ eBook or E-pub free

The NYTimes blurb compares Yu to Douglas Adams and Philip K Dick, which is like telling me the book is made of chocolate that cures cancer So far I think Yu hovers closer to the Dick pole than the Adams yes, I just wrote Dick pole , and his use of himself as a fictional character attempting to sort his human identity from his fictive one reminds me of Martin Amis or Paul Auster Yet I think the pomo fiction conceit works better here than with those realistic authors science fiction narrative acts as language, as setting, as a commodity, as a kind of physics The author creates himself in the process of creating This creates a few paradoxes that the author character has to sort out I m smack in the middle of the thing, so I m eager to see how it all turns out. Enter the following data META search for definition SCIENCE FICTION search for definition TIME TRAVEL search for definition ComputingTrajectory locked.To find the only way to exit a time loop, please refer to Appendix A of this manual How To Live Safely Inside a Science Fictional Universe When it happens, this is what happens By reading Charles Yu s incomparably original work of fiction, I m realizing, have realized and will have realized that I ve lived and I am still living inside a box that travels backwards in time when I m supposed to propel myself forward into the unknown future of my own makings We are all time machines, he claims, but most people s machines are broken that they get stuck or get looped or get trapped Our greatest anxiety is the box we live inside of everyone s personal TARDIS, if you may and it s something we use to evade the present, re create the past, and deal with the future We are required to move ahead and yet often than not we stay in a standstill, reliving memories and regret as if their tune is all we are and what we can only afford to look forward to.In this inexhaustibly consistent yet still beguilingly self referential novel is where we meet Charles Yu a character you may or may not interchange with the author who is a thirty something time machine repairman working in Minor Universe 31 whose inhabitants tend to get a little loose with time traveling and get themselves in a pickle all the time Yu only has two sustainable personal relationships with TAMMY his vehicle to travel in time , and Ed a fictional space dog of a sidekick One day he encounters a future version of himself and shoots it dead Literally running in a loop where all points in his timeline converse and diverse before his eyes, Charles also has to find his father, a failed time travel theorist who might as well fell in a black hole after he just disappeared with no rhyme or reason, and only a book which Yu himself has written in the future entitled How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is the key to unravel it all.With both unyielding clarity and stupendous lack of linear direction, this book serves as a commentary of the science fiction genre and its conventions, particularly the literary approach to the time paradox, as well as the rudimentary themes of existential crisis, quest for autonomy, and both the illusion and victory of choice Most critics have even compared it to Douglas Thomas Hitchhiker series fused with Philip K Dick s emphatic literary sensibilities, and yet Charles Yu s scintillating book stands apart and all on its ownMost people I know live their lives in a constant forward direction, the whole time looking backward I will attempt to explain why this book can possibly change your life if you re willing to see past through the heavy laden self referential flow of the narrative because underneath that seemingly impenetrable exterior is a story so rife with meaningful insights on human connections and the pursuit of happiness all the while paying respects to what the science fiction genre as a whole contributes to our goals of self fulfillment and progression I would caution, though, that this is never going to be for everyone its writing is eloquently paradoxical, and unmistakably a taste only a few might acquire and those that would will delight in its essence.I ve recommended this book to a close friend of mine who shares my affinity with the NBC now Yahoo sponsored show, Community Created by Dan Harmon, a showrunner as equally kooky as his own creation, Community is a tremendously meta and experimental basketcase of a situational comedy series that continues to push even its own envelope and has just wrapped up its sixth season earlier this week Its unique approach to comedy and storytelling is what made it endearing to its fans that the show acquired a cult following whose passion an outsider can never truly understand unless he joins the circle for himself Much like said show, Charles Yu s novel operates in the same level of manic disregard for what is conventional and safe in telling a story This two hundred and thirty nine paged paperback is INSANE Even though it s fairly written in an understandable contemporary language and style, the conceptual narrative framework can still be alienating to a certain extent since it s mostly an open discussion on the theorems and mechanics through philosophical ramblings of the character as the author, and the author as the character This novel essentially reads like the kind of conversation you will have with yourself if you re someone who is too self aware for your own good It breaks itself apart It questions even the act of asking a question It carves itself a special place in the universe where only it can make sense both its own state of being and non existence It s quite difficult to get across just how incredibly complex and frustratingly clever this book is Whatever I type in the review will forever pale in comparison of what the novel itself actually offers the readers, and that is a chance to interrogate oneself in a manner that I can only akin to not only breaking the fourth wall of the plane of reality but hammering it into a shape both familiar and unrecognizableTime isn t a placid lake, recording our rippleswe are too slight, too inconsequential, despite all of our thrashing and swimming and waving our arms about..sure, there s a little bit of splashing up the surface but that doesn t even register in the depths, in the powerful undercurrents miles below us, taking us wherever they are taking us As a self referential ode to science fiction conventions, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a self sustaining metaphor of the genre and formula of writing science fiction itself while also making snide or glib commentary upon itself while it s busy outlining the time paradox via a bittersweet personal experience of the lead character he succinctly and quite pitifully termed as the father son axis In a shallow surface, this is an autobiographical search for family and identity on another level it s a pastiche of humanity s fascination for the concept of time travel and resting on another layer of that is a symphonic composition that poignantly captures how human beings are their own time machines after all We are highly intelligent species with an acute sense of time and therefore we are always able to create and define what is past and future while also simultaneously, laughably and heart breakingly unable to LIVE IN THE PRESENT which is elastic than we ever realize We mourn the past we are eager to discover the future But we never really enjoy what we are and who we are in the present.As Charles Yu s insightful manual claimsWithin a science fictional space, memory and regret are, when taken together, the set of necessary and sufficient elements required to produce a time machineWhat is about time travel that a lot of us are so smitten by and curious of Isn t it the uncanny ability to be able to pass through our lives as observers, to re live our moments of defeat and regret, hoping we can somehow change what happened so it can dictate what will happen next Being able to time travel means we might be able to rewrite what has already been read and discarded worn out stories that we ve desperately clung to because we believe they re the only truths we must preserve in order to live another day Yu s novel forces us to examine these beliefs, to really dissect why we remain stuck in our time machines, going over events as oppose to creating new ones On the other end of the spectrum, some of us like me would rather SKIP AHEAD.Right after finishing the book, I realized that I ve been caught in a time loop myself We all have been everytime we get caught somewhere between mourning of what was behind us and daydreaming about what lies ahead And I for one have this tendency to wish I can fast forward to my life ten or twenty years to the future That s why I like reading science fiction It appeals to my wish fulfillment of envisioning a made up future without having to do the work in the present Hell, while midway through a good book, I would cheat and LOOK AT THE LAST PAGE And I did the same thing with Yu s novel and you know what I got in the end An empty page with this note This page is intentionally left blank I didn t get its significance until I finished the entire novel itself That s when it hit me this self annihilating habit of mine to try and hurry up the steady pace of my life just so I can get over both the small and the big stuff it s how I keep getting trapped Upon having that very epiphany now that I m staring at that said last page of this book for the second time, I actually teared up a little bit It seemed inconsequential at the moment but contextualizing it with the overall pattern in how I live my life, I realized what a damaged fool I have been.So this is what Charles Yu, ultimately, wants to say to himself and to us with his bookFind the book you wrote, and read it until the end, but don t turn the last page yet, keep stalling, see how long you can keep expanding the infinitely expandable moment Enjoy the elastic present, which can accommodate as little as much as you want to put in there Stretch it out, LIVE INSIDE ITRECOMMENDED 10 10DO READ MY REVIEWS AT #EPUB î How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe ⛄ National Book Foundation Under Award Winner Charles Yu Delivers His Debut Novel, A Razor Sharp, Ridiculously Funny, And Utterly Touching Story Of A Son Searching For His Father Through Quantum Space Time Minor Universe Is A Vast Story Space On The Outskirts Of Fiction, Where Paradox Fluctuates Like The Stock Market, Lonely Sexbots Beckon Failed Protagonists, And Time Travel Is Serious Business Every Day, People Get Into Time Machines And Try To Do The One Thing They Should Never Do Change The Past That S Where Charles Yu, Time Travel Technician Part Counselor, Part Gadget Repair Man Steps In He Helps Save People From Themselves Literally When He S Not Taking Client Calls Or Consoling His Boss, Phil, Who Could Really Use An Upgrade, Yu Visits His Mother Stuck In A One Hour Cycle Of Time, She Makes Dinner Over And Over And Over And Searches For His Father, Who Invented Time Travel And Then Vanished Accompanied By TAMMY, An Operating System With Low Self Esteem, And Ed, A Nonexistent But Ontologically Valid Dog, Yu Sets Out, And Back, And Beyond, In Order To Find The One Day Where He And His Father Can Meet In Memory He Learns That The Key May Be Found In A Book He Got From His Future Self It S Called How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, And He S The Author And Somewhere Inside It Is The Information That Could Help Him In Fact It May Even Save His Life Wildly New And Adventurous, Yu S Debut Is Certain To Send Shock Waves Of Wonder Through Literary Space Time I wanted to like this book a great deal than I did I wanted to be moved But in the end, it left me a little cold.I enjoyed the premise, the set up, the notion of living already in a science fictional universe where, at certain points, the reality ratio went up, but at others, significantly down I liked the idea of born Protagonists, and what happens to all the poor Joes in a science fictional universe who live in the background of the stories, and keep things running Except these things were alluded to, once or twice, but never developed.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook This book is a five star idea with a three star execution, so I ve decided to average it out to 4 stars overall Despite the plot s faults it rushes a bit here, it drags a bit there, it s sometimes metaphorical and sometimes technical and can t seem to decide if it wants to be hyper detailed or gloss over the science of time travel and ends up doing both unsatisfactorily this one really made me FEEL than other contemporary sci fi The mood is achingly heartbreaking, the tone is celebratory and nostalgic, and the sum of this one is much, much greater than its parts. This book, which I misunderstood as something I might enjoy as light bedtime reading, is perhaps the most original work I ve read in the last year It has the same new ground is broken here feel that Abigail Thomas s Safekeeping or Dinty Moore s Between Panic and Desire have not only is the story good, but the prose is new and changes the way it s possible for us to think about narrative itself.It s experimental, but it s also a very accessible book And, at it s heart, it s a very human, very poignant story of fathers, sons, and what it means to be male in a time and place very much like but not quite our own If you let it, this book can break your heart. There went 237 pages of my life that I ll never get back Luckily, I don t live in a science fictional universe I was really expecting something great with all the hype And the premise of the book surely had promise Unfortunately, this is mainly a book where nothing much happens SPOILERS to the THREE things that happen in the book to follow Even the girl he never marries and his time traveling dog companion aren t real In fact, the only thing that happens to the time machine repairman who is the first person narrator of the story is that he shoots his time traveling self in the stomach, finds the book his time traveling self wrote, and brings his dad home from being lost in time Oh no I ve just now given away the only things that actually HAPPEN in the book Please forgive my insensitivity to your need for something to happen in a book beyond the musings in a character s mind.I have no problem with reading books that mainly take place in a character s mind, but this one is ridiculous in its ability to say nothing for 50 pages at a time The author manages to explain the time machine and time travel without actually ever saying anything other than equating it with the time tenses of grammar and explaining that it s all in your head Wait What Was that the point Is this guy really just time traveling in his head this whole time inside a box that really goes nowhere If you really want to know you re welcome to waste 237 pages of your life to find out Some people apparently liked this book Unfortunately, I have a suspicion that they like the book because it s the trendy book to like this month in certain geek circles Note While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I m legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Vine program in return for my review Blah blah blah. Nope Sorry, Charles Yu But just nope This doesn t work.The world in which this novel takes place differs from ours in two key respects 1 Humanity has discovered though it is not made clear when this discovery was made, or by whom that the fundamental laws of physics are actually the laws of narrative specifically, of science fictional narrative The book s reality is a vast multiverse in which individual universes, and parts of universes, behave like stories from different sub genres of science fiction This can all be described quantitatively It is possible to quantify the extent to which an given person is a protagonist or a hero, for instance The worlds described in existing science fiction stories, such as Star Wars, actually exist and can be travelled to.2 Time travel is possible.At first glance, it would seem that 1 is far interesting than 2 2 is, after all, just a simple consequence one consequence among many of 1, since time travel stories are a certain type of science fiction But Yu s book focuses almost exclusively on 2, using the setting provided by 1 mostly for one off jokes and quips As we will see, this fact exemplifies the book s fundamental flaw.Yu s narrator, also named Charles Yu, is a melancholy time machine repairman He misses his father, with whom he had a close but strained relationship His father, a pioneer in the science of time travel, got lost somewhere in the wilds of space time, possibly on purpose Yu the narrator lives in his time machine, drifting in some null space waiting for service calls, playing with his dog Ed who was retconned from a space serial and nursing a crush on his operating system s AI persona, TAMMY The plot is set into motion in a sense when Yu encounters his future self emerging from his the future self s time machine and, acting on impulse, shoots him his future self This, of course, sets up a time loop, and Yu is left wondering how he will end up emerging from that time machine given that he knows he s facing death by doing so , and whether the shooting which has already occurred can somehow nonetheless be averted.It sounds like a cute, clever story, doesn t it And in some ways it is But it s crippled by a vast miscalculation of tone that made it, at least for me, very irritating to read The basic problem is that, although the protagonist lives in a mind bendingly different world, Yu is intent on telling a conventional story of hipster melancholy, father son emotional dynamics, and self discovery Indeed, Yu actively flaunts the sharp division between his human story and his science fictional conceits The protagonist s memories of his father, and his attitudes toward life in general, are resolutely early 21st century real world American in flavor Bizarrely, there is no sense that the discovery that the world is a bunch of interlocking stories obeying the laws of science fiction has made any impact on the way humans relate to each other Yu s narrator lives in a world in which statements like the following ones are simple statements of fact Reality represents 13 percent of the total surface area and 17 percent of the total volume of Minor Universe 31 The remainder consists of a standard composite base SF substrate.Inhabitants of Universe 31 are separated into two categories, protagonists and back office.Protagonists may choose from any available genre Currently there are openings in steampunk.In order to qualify as a protagonist, a human must be able to demonstrate an attachment coefficient of at least 0.75 A coefficient of 1.00 or above is required in order to be a hero.If the world could actually be described in these terms, wouldn t everything be different including father son relationships If it were to actually occur, the discovery of the narrative nature of reality would revolutionize both physics and psychology it would in fact be the greatest paradigm shift ever to have happened in each of those fields It would fundamentally change the way we see ourselves, our role in the cosmos, our relationships to one another Now wait a moment, Rob, you may want to say Yu s book sounds like a comedy, if a comedy with an emotional core Isn t all that stuff about science fiction just a bunch of jokes You can t blame Yu if he doesn t want to seriously work out the implications of his punchlines There s such a thing as being lighthearted Now you, hypothetical reader, are absolutely right that Yu uses his setting mostly as a source of punchlines Most of the time we get any explicit details about the science fictional multiverse, they re things like this My cousin is in accounts receivable on the Death Star, and whenever we talk he always says how nice it d be if I joined him He says they have a good cafeteria So that s an option.Ha ha See, if cheesy space operas were really real, people would, like, have boring jobs, and say bland grown up phrases like so that s an option, and stuff Oh Charles, how wryly you wreathe together the fantastical and the mundane Of course it should come as no surprise that the cousin, and the Death Star, never come up again This isn t worldbuilding it s stand up comedy.Which would all be fine if this were a raucous, committed comedy But Yu wants to tell a human story and portray a person s actual consciousness in a convincing way And his jokeyness just absolutely screws up his chances there Because the reader is faced with a horrible problem it is impossible to imagine what it would actually be like to live in the book s world Of course Yu tells us what it s like, but it s not convincing, because his narrator seems exactly like a likable loser from the U.S in 2010 AD And we feel that being a likable loser being anything, in fact would be very different in a world in which my cousin is in accounts receivable on the Death Star could be a bald statement of fact.What would it be like to find out that science fiction was real, and that reality was science fiction What would it really be like It would be terrifying, for one thing Terrifying, and awe inspiring, and filled with new opportunities barely possible to imagine, and also with the potential for crushing irony and triviality Imagine, for instance, the humiliation of not just living an unhappy life, but living an unhappy life knowing that you live in a bad work of fiction Among many other things, such an existence would be frequently hilarious This is one reason why it s not, in the end, right to complain that I want to take Yu s premise too seriously Comedy is all about taking things seriously, because absurd things are funnier when you feel like they re really happening Did you notice something else about that Death Star line Did you notice that it wasn t all that funny Cute, maybe The kind of line that makes you nod your head and say, okay, good one But not the kind of line that makes you laugh so hard you feel like you re having some kind of potentially fatal chest spasm For me, anyway, humor of the latter type usually comes not from mere absurdity but from absurdity as experienced by a real, reflective, self aware human consciousness What s funny isn t the phrase my cousin is in accounts receivable on the Death Star, but the experience of a real person having to live in a world in which that is actually true a person who knows, as you or I would, just how stupid a concept that is, and who still has to live with it anyway So the light touch with which Yu treats his setting is not excused by his comedic goals, because this is the kind of material that s funnier if you take it seriously.But anyway Yu wants you to really care about his protagonist and about that guy s relationship with his father The problem is that it is impossible to believe in that relationship because it does not seem to be affected by its surroundings It hovers in some blank imagined America, the supposed Platonic story of father and son, separated from culture and technology and all of that extraneous stuff Yu practically screams at you that he s making this distinction, by treating the father son stuff seriously while turning the setting into a bunch of jokes Whose worldview is this, in which human feeling is this free floating, timeless thing that exists unchanged even in the wildest corners of science fictional universes I ll tell you it s the worldview of someone who doesn t understand science fiction.Science fiction says you can t separate your human story from your culture and science and technology story, because those things affect humans, and the effects they have are interesting Science fiction says there is no such thing as the Platonic father and son story there are many different father and son stories, some very different from others, all results of the interaction between the biological makeup of humans and the many different cultural, economic, and technological situations in which we can find ourselves To take a relatively mild example, the book s Charles Yu lives through a conventional American adolescence, still living at home and viewing himself as essentially a non adult at age 16 In some cultures, he would have been considered an adult, on par with his father, at a much earlier age The stories of those cultures are less familiar, but no less human Science fiction says if we search for human feeling and ignore the details and particulars of our material existence, we re never going to find what we re looking for If you can t imagine what it s like for someone to look for a job my cousin is in accounts receivable on the Death Star , then it becomes harder to understand his deepest relationships Details matter, setting matters, culture and technology matter You, who may never have met me and may live across the globe from me, are using your glowing box to read this thing I wrote on my glowing box an interaction that would have seemed like a fantastical dream 100 years ago That is not nothing.Why am I so damn serious about this silly, knowingly silly book I don t know It wasn t terrible, and I can t say I didn t enjoy parts of it But something about Yu s implicit attitudes toward his creation irks me I think this may be the most anti science fictional science fiction novel I ve ever read Maybe that s the point But maybe it s not, and that s unnerving.And Yu s writing absolutely drips with the sense that he s trying to combine cold reason and human emotion, something that grows and grating in light of his continual failure to realize that the two are not opposed in the way he thinks The book abounds with sentences like The volumetric integral of the function defined by the loop represents the maximum amount of life that CY 1 can have, including joy and pain.What is the purpose of adding including joy and pain He s talking about someone s lifespan, and of course that includes everything they can experience, joy and pain being two essentially arbitrary examples of the general principle The only point of including those four words is so that Yu can have written a sentence that includes both the phrases volumetric integral and joy and pain Look at him, juxtaposing reason and emotion There is supposed to be something here about the ways in which science and life interact through technology But there isn t anything there because none of this feels like it s coming out of an authentic human consciousness There are no people in this book. If anyone is ever crazy enough to make a movie version of this, they better hire Charlie Kaufman to do the adapted screenplay Even he would probably be left scratching his head and saying, What the hell Trying to summarize this is going to be like trying to explain Inception to someone who has never had a dream or seen a movie Essentially, it s a science fictional universe where time travel is possible Fiction and reality have blended together so that you may run into Luke Skywalker s son or know someone who works on the Death Star, yet the Star Wars movies are still somehow movies Confused yet Charles Yu is a time travel technician who has spent ten years living in his own time machine set in a stasis mode Notice that the author s name is also Charles Yu He has aged and still gets and answers service calls, but he has existed outside of the normal time flow His only companions are TAMMY, a computer operating system that suffers from low self esteem, and Ed, a dog he saved from being retconned out of a western He s like a anti social version of Doctor Who.Charles spends his work time assisting people who have screwed up their time machines by trying to change their own pasts He uses his free time to brood about his lost father, an engineer who had invented his own form of time travel When Charles makes an error, he finds himself stuck in a time loop where his only clue is a book that he is both reading and writing at the same time.The whole concept of time travel is presented as a weird form of narrative that s based on English grammar rules Or something like that Hell, I think I had a mild stroke trying to figure this out It s original and funny at times The stuff with Charles memories of his father and his preference to spend years in a time machine rather than move forward with his life are sad and touching However, this ended up being a book that I wanted to like than I actually liked it.My main issue is that Charles Yu arranged a big Homecoming Metafiction Parade down Metafiction Avenue, and he s the Metafiction Parade Marshal waving to us from his big Metafiction Float just in front of the Metafiction Show Horses who will take a big steaming Metafiction Dump right in the street in front of us I get it, Charles You wrote a book with a bonkers sci fi concept so you could tell us about your daddy issues in the guise of a time traveler who is creating a sci fi book as he s living it I would have liked it if he would have spent a bit time telling us about the science fictional universe, and a little less time showing us how clever he was being Not a bad book, but a little story and a little less showing off would have suited me better. Rating 0.125 of fiveThe Publisher Says National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award winner Charles Yu delivers his debut novel, a razor sharp, ridiculously funny, and utterly touching story of a son searching for his father through quantum space time Minor Universe 31 is a vast story space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time travel is serious business Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do change the past That s where Charles Yu, time travel technician part counselor, part gadget repair man steps in He helps save people from themselves Literally When he s not taking client calls or consoling his boss, Phil, who could really use an upgrade, Yu visits his mother stuck in a one hour cycle of time, she makes dinner over and over and over and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self esteem, and Ed, a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory He learns that the key may be found in a book he got from his future self It s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and he s the author And somewhere inside it is the information that could help him in fact it may even save his life Wildly new and adventurous, Yu s debut is certain to send shock waves of wonder through literary space time.My Review I have no bloody idea what this, this hideous waste of a perfectly good tree is about If anything Turgid, awkward sentences meander about in a time traveling machine, doing nothing to illuminate a plot that I could discern through the fog of irritated disdain that began to enshroud me on p2.DO NOT READ IT No one on Planet Earth could conceivably be geeky enough to want to read this It is ungainly in its lineaments and sounds like what would happen if you gave Stephen Hawking a big dose of ketamine and stood back to watch.Unpleasant.