“Paradoxical time travel story that is actually the protagonist's search for his own father. Yu treats the fantastic in such an utterly mundane fashion that I found myself disappointed.”Norman H wrote this review Monday, June 13, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I picked up the book solely based on its title and was not disappointed. The book was playful, nostalgic, and interesting. ”Patricia L wrote this review Monday, May 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Highly original and amazingly intricate, Yu created one of the smartest, most emotionally-rendered books I've read this year. Though steeped in science-fictional lingo and logic, the characters were not neglected, developed and guided through the story with a master's hand. ”nanashinigami wrote this review Sunday, March 27, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What starts as a bit of a comical affair develops into some pretty heavy storytelling, and it keeps you intrigued for the entire ride. Well worth the read.”Timothy Hudson wrote this review Friday, March 25, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I enjoyed this novel quite a bit, but I think there was a little more style here than there was substance. Yu is a master of language and nuance, is very funny, and does a fantastic job of touching all his major themes throughout his wandering narrative. A lot of people will be put off by the reference to science fiction in the title or the scientific language. however, this is not really science fiction. This is a narrative, possibly autobiographical, of family, the pain we cause each other, and the nature of failure.
The writing is masterful and witty. The use of the science fiction construct is done well, but in some ways this book reminded me of The Raw Shark Texts - the style sometimes got in the way or the points Yu is trying to make. All in all, I ended up liking this book and I am hoping for more from Charles Yu.”
“This book is a bit hard to speak about - I went into it knowing it was the sort of thing I was going to dislike even as I liked it.
So first the story - in terms of narrative voice, which is the best part, Yu does a great job capturing his character (or possibly himself) and the wonderful absurdity of the background is exceptionally fun to wander around in. The story itself is nearly absent, shunted aside in favor of watching Yu play with language.
My biggest problem with it is that it's either a postmodern exploration of self masquerading as a scifi novel or the reverse. It SHOULD be a marriage of the two, but it just fails to bring them together. If anything, I think Yu was trying a bit too hard to make sure he had, in fact, written something literary and the book suffered especially in the beginning as he swung between the voice of more traditional genre and the conventions of pomo fiction. He did get his stride later in the book, though.
It was good, I'm glad I read it, but sometimes I wonder if this book could have been so much more.”
“Fascinating novel about time travel, yet not geeky or boring or unintelligible - I loved this because it was science fiction-y while still being very emotional and poignant.”Jessica H wrote this review Wednesday, February 9, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Humorous, like Douglas Adams. Fun, quick read.”Nan B wrote this review Monday, February 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“She said: 3 stars
A zany but enjoyable sci-fi about a time-travel machine repairman whose travels between parallel universes, past and future perfect (and not so perfect) time slots revealing the theoretical argument of self will versus determinism. Charming.
JudithAnn said: 3.5 stars.
This is the story of Charles Yu, a time machine repair man. At some point, he comes across his future self and shoots him by accident. His future self has a book on him called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Charles starts to read it and tries to make sense of it. In the process he is stuck in time and re-lives some of his childhood.
What I like about time travel, is exploring different times, the author’s ingenuity of predicting the future or to give an apparently accurate account of the past. In this book, there is nothing like that because Charles Yu is stuck in time. He lives in his time machine, which is rather small, think Tardis without the expansion inside. This situation turned out to be rather too limited for me.
Some of it went over my head and roughly the first half of the book wasn’t all that exciting. When it got to the book that Charles got from his future self, it became a bit more interesting, especially the search for his father (and where he found his father) was quite clever.
The book is all about Charles Yu and his thoughts. Very little actually happens. You have t be a pretty geeky person to enjoy this book, I think. I tried, went into it expecting to enjoy it (I’m half-geek, half non-geek) but the book never really grabbed me.”
“This book has a great premise, and starts off interestingly enough. Time travel machines, an actual science fictional universe that's not quite finished, and a search for a father who disappeared. After a while though, it becomes an existential examination. Who am I? What does my life mean? What is fate and can it be escaped. Interesting in small doses, but it sort of gets beaten to death in the last half of the book. ”tottman wrote this review Sunday, January 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No