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rionafaith

rionafaith

Currently reading

Fire Watch
Connie Willis
Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a shoestring
China Williams, Greg Bloom, Celeste Brash, Andrew Burke
Fodor's See It Thailand 2008
Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe - Charles Yu I loved this one. It's both really clever and heartbreakingly sad at the same time. The plot is kind of crazy and my summary might not make sense unless you actually read the book, but I'll give it a go anyway:

Charles Yu (which is the name of the protagonist, as well as the author) lives in Minor Universe 31, a science fictional world in which famous heroes like Luke Skywalker coexist alongside everyday people. Our humble narrator is a time machine repair man with serious daddy issues who has spent the past 10 years avoiding the world and only interacting with his ship's computer, TAMMY, and his boss, Phil, who is an AI but doesn't know it. He also has a dog named Ed that doesn't actually exist. His mother is still alive, but she's stuck in a one-hour recreational time loop because making dinner for a holographic representation of her son again and again is better than reality. Charles' father invented time travel and then promptly disappeared, leaving him with the aforementioned daddy issues. And then one day Charles meets the future version of himself, coming out of his own time machine. Oh, shit.

I was totally absorbed from the first paragraph, which goes like this:

"When it happens, this is what happens: I shoot myself.

Not, you know, my self self. I shoot my future self. He steps out of a time machine, introduces himself as Charles Yu. What else am I supposed to do? I kill him. I kill my own future."


Okay, I guess technically that's two paragraphs. Whatever.

It just gets better from there. The time travel aspect is done really well, with clear rules and just enough mindbendyness, but one thing I didn't expect was the beauty in this book. The writing is excellent, with fantastic, eloquent descriptions, especially those pertaining to his memories of his father. There are a lot of big ideas in here, about math, language, the nature of reality. It's supremely touching. I was expecting a humorous, light read, but I'm glad it ended up being something different. This one might even end up making it to the favorites shelf.