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How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


*This ebook includes photos, illustrations, and a bonus short story, which add to the ever-expanding world of Minor Universe 31.

Photos and illustrations appear as hyperlinks in text.

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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 05, 2010 – Yu uses futuristic ideas to explore a mundane theme: writing about the self and the moment in Tristram Shandy–esque digressions. The protagonist, who shares the author's name, spends most of the story interacting with entities that either mirror him (TAMMY, an operating system who reflects his personality) or don't exist (Ed, a "weird ontological entity" in the shape of a dog; Phil, a programmed supervisor who thinks he's human). The conclusion tries to mitigate character-Yu's risk-averse solipsism, but is too quick and abstract to really counter the rest of the book's emotional weight. Mainstream readers will be baffled by the highly nonlinear Oedipal time travel plot, but the passive, self-obsessed protagonist is straight out of the mainstream fiction that many SF fans love to hate, leaving this book without an audience.

Customer Reviews


This is a great story that you seldom see in today's books. Anyone who is searching for something should read this wonderful book.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 07, 2010
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings