If you were to gather up all of the science fiction that exists in the universe and kind of put it somewhere, what would that look like? Obviously we would need a way to move between stories, to organize things, to make sense of it. What happens when a typically chronologically linear story no longer has need of something, say, a canine sidekick?

The base-model TM-31 runs on a state-of-the-art chronodiegetical technology: a six-cylinder grammar drive built on a quad-core physics engine, which features an applied temporalinguistics architecture allowing for free-form navigation within a rendered environment, such as, for instance, a story space and, in particular, a science fictional universe.

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I believe that’s what Charles Yu (the author) is pondering. The main character, by contrast, having grown up in a science fictional universe either implicitly understands all this stuff or doesn’t care. Regardless, Charles Yu (the character) spends his time somewhere between here and nowhere looking for his time-machine-inventing father who disappeared at some point in the past.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Charles Yu is a time machine mechanic in a science fictional universe who ends up writing a book called “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe” which is the title of the novel I just read by Charles Yu.

Confused? Yup, me too. Which is why this is on our bookshelf.

Rating (4 stars)

I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. Perhaps I just don’t understand the metaphysical and chronological implications of time and fiction well enough.

But, the book stuck with me for a few weeks as I tried to work it all out. It’s definitely worth a second read, just don’t expect a space opera– Minor Universe 31 just isn’t big enough to support one.