Just Finished Reading – How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I originally started reading this book several months back and had to set it aside due entirely to external factors. At the time, it looked like the text was off to a good start. So, when I picked it up this time, I had high hopes only to see it come crashing down under the weight of gratuitous prose. The story centers around a character, named suspiciously the same as the author, who repairs time machines and hopes to one day locate his lost father, an uncredited co-discoverer of the theory behind time machines. Unfortunately, that’s the entire plot right then and there. More than half the book is exposition about the narrator’s past and just how bad that past was, or rather, mediocre it was.

On top of the near complete lack of story, the prose drove me nuts. Yu likes big words and uses them throughout the text without caring if there is anything to warrant their usage. It seems his overall goal is to add academic weight by the sheer mass of verbiage he uses.

There are numerous points where ideas are drawn out so far past the point of interest that I found it difficult to not skim over them to find the next interesting bit. It’s almost as if the entire point of 75% of the text is for the main character to whine about wallowing in self pity.

Overall, Yu attempts to invoke the whimsical nature of Douglas Adams with a dash of Pratchett on the side and fails miserably. If I could make one suggestion to the author, cut out about 20~30 percent of what’s there in the next draft!

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~ by Chris on .

Reading - The Other Half of Writing

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