How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe Is Finally On Sale

Buy: Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Borders: IndieBound : Random House

After a long summer’s wait, National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award winner Charles Yu’s debut “marvel of a novel” (Time magazine) How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is now on sale. The Knopf Doubleday group is also pleased to announce its first enhanced e-book for Yu’s novel.

Check out Yu’s Q&A with the New York Times’ Paper Cuts blog, his interview with, and the fantastic review of How to Live Safely in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, which calls the book “a complex, brainy, genre-hopping joyride of a story, far more than the sum of its component parts,” and compares Yu to Douglas Adams.

Be sure to check out Yu’s tour schedule, and don’t miss his NYC appearances at Word Bookstore in Brooklyn on 9/26 and McNally Jackson in Manhattan on 9/27.

Praise for How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
“An extraordinary work. . . . I read the entire book in one gulp.”
Chris Wallace, GQ

“Glittering layers of gorgeous and playful meta-science-fiction. . . . Like [Douglas] Adams, Yu is very funny, usually proportional to the wildness of his inventions, but Yu’s sound and fury conceal (and construct) this novel’s dense, tragic, all-too-human heart . . . . Yu is a superhero of rendering human consciousness and emotion in the language of engineering and science. . . . A complex, brainy, genre-hopping joyride of a story, far more than the sum of its component parts, and smart and tragic enough to engage all regions of the brain and body.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Compulsively rereadable. . . . Hilarious. . . . Yu has a crisp, intermittently lyrical prose style, one that’s comfortable with both math and sadness, moving seamlessly from delirious metafiction to the straight-faced prose of instruction-manual entries. . . . [The book] is like Steve Jobs’ ultimate hardware fetish, a dreamlike amalgam of functionality and predetermination.” —The Los Angeles Times

“Getting stuck with Yu in his time loop is like watching an episode of Doctor Who as written by the young Philip Roth. Even when recalling his most painful childhood moments, Yu makes fun of himself or pulls you into a silly description of fake physics experiments. In this way, he delivers one of the most clear-eyed descriptions of consciousness I’ve seen in literature: It’s full of self-mockery and self-deception, and yet somehow manages to keep its hands on the wheel, driving us forward into an unknowable future. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is intellectually demanding, but also emotionally rich and funny. . . . It’s clearly the work of a scifi geek who knows how to twist pop culture tropes into melancholy meditations on the nature of consciousness.” —

“One of the best novels of 2010. . . . It is a wonderfully stunning, brilliant work of science fiction that goes to the heart of self-realization, happiness and connections. . . . Yu has accomplished something remarkable in this book, blending science fiction universes with his own, alternative self’s life, in a way, breaking past the bonds of the page and bringing the reader right into the action. . . . Simply, this is one of the absolute best time travel stories . . . even compared to works such as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells or the Doctor Who television series.” —SF Signal

“An intriguing time travel science fiction tale. . . . SF fans who enjoy something radically different will want to read Charles Yu’s escapades in time and space.” —Harriet Klausner

“Within a few pages I was hooked . . . . There are times when he starts off a paragraph about chronodiegetics that just sounds like pseudo-scientific gibberish meant to fill in some space. And then you realize that what he’s saying actually makes sense, that he’s actually figured out something really fascinating about the way time works, about the way fiction works, and the “Aha!” switch in your brain gets flipped. That happened more than once for me. There are so many sections here and there that I found myself wanting to share with somebody: Here—read this paragraph! Look at this sentence! Ok, now check this out!” —GeekDad,

“In this debut novel, Charles Yu continues his ambitious exploration of the fantastic with a whimsical yet sincere tribute to old-school science fiction and quantum physics. . . . A fascinating, philosophical and disorienting thriller about life and the context that gives it meaning.”
Kirkus, starred review

“With Star Wars allusions, glimpses of a future world, and journeys to the past, as well as hilarious and poignant explanations of “chronodiegetics,” or the “theory of the nature and function of time within a narrative space,” Yu, winner of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 Award, constructs a clever, fluently metaphorical tale. A funny, brain-teasing, and wise take on archetypal father-and-son issues, the mysteries of time and memory, emotional inertia, and one sweet but bumbling misfit’s attempts to escape a legacy of sadness and isolation.” —Booklist

“Funny, touching, and weirdly beautiful. This book is awesome.”
Nick Harkaway, author of The Gone-Away World

“Poignant, hilarious, and electrically original.  Bends time, mind, and genre.” —David Eagleman, author of Sum

“Funny [and] moving . . . . Charles Yu’s first novel is getting ready for lift-off, and it more than surpasses expectations which couldn’t be any higher after he was given the 5 Under 35 Award . . . How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe, forthcoming from Pantheon in September, is one of the trippiest and most thoughtful novels I’ve read all year, one that begs for a single sit-down experience even if you’re left with a major head rush after the fact for having gulped down so many ideas in a solitary swoop. . . . Yu’s literary pyrotechnics come in a marvelously entertaining and accessible package, featuring a reluctant, time machine-operating hero on a continual quest to discover what really happened to his missing father, a mysterious book possibly answering all, and a computer with the most idiosyncratic personality since HAL or Deep Thought. . . . Like the work of Richard Powers . . . How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe fuses the scientific and the emotional in ways that bring about something new.” —Sarah Weinman, The Daily Beast

“How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is that rare thing—a truly original novel. Charles Yu has built a strange, beautiful, intricate machine, with a pulse that carries as much blood as it does electricity.” —Kevin Brockmeier, author of The View from the Seventh Layer and The Brief History of the Dead

“Charles Yu is a tremendously clever writer, and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is marvelously written, sweetly geeky, good clean time-bending fun.” —Audrey Niffenegger, author of Her Fearful Symmetry and The Time Traveler’s Wife

“This book is cool as hell. If I could go back in time and read it earlier, I would.” —Colson Whitehead, author of Sag Harbor