Author to Author: A Chat with Charles Yu – How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Author Shawna Yang Ryan, on behalf of TaiwaneseAmerican.org, interviews fellow Taiwanese American author Charles Yu during his recent book tour.

Charles Yu’s debut novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a funny, quirky, touching story of a time machine repairman, also named Charles Yu. Set in a science fiction universe, the story cleverly deals with issues of family, the father son relationship, the immigrant experience, regret, and the human tendency to be forever fixated on the past, all the while maintaining a light touch and a smart sense of humor. It’s a cleverly written piece, a quick read, and a great use of the science fiction genre. Here’s a quote from the book:

People rent time machines.
They think they can change the past.
Then they get there and find out causality doesn’t work the way they thought it did. They get stuck, stuck in places they didn’t mean to go, in places they did mean to go, in places they shouldn’t have tried to go. They get into trouble. Logical, metaphysical, etc.
That’s where I come in. I go and get them out.

Charles Yu received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award for his story collection Third Class Superhero, and he has also received the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. His work has been published in the Harvard Review, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and Mid-American Review, among other journals.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is available online and in major bookstores everywhere.

Check out these recent reviews & interviews:

wired.com
nytimes.com
suduvu.com
io9.com
thedailybeast.com

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