January 26th, 2012


Review of How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe

About a third of the way through the book I remember reading somewhere that the author wrote it more as a memoir than a novel. I'm still unsure if that is true or not.

Ultimately the book is actually two books in one. A memoir of a son and his relationship with his father. A stream of consciousness book of a time traveling fix-it man trying to make sense and explain what he does for a living.

I would have rather had the time traveling guy and his world more expanded. There were some really interesting tidbits in there. I was left with several unanswered questions about the nature of the "science fictional" world he lived in. Was it kind of meta like the Thursday Next novels where he actually was patrolling the interior of fiction and helping to fix it? The memoir portions were written like he grew up in our world in the 80's until he and his father started becoming successful with their tie machine building. I had a difficult time bridging the world the narrator existed in and the one he reminisced about. That may have been why the book felt so…split and confusing.

I even thought about putting the book down and not picking it back up again, but since it was so short (and it is difficult to judge how far into a book I am when "reading" an audiobook), I just kept going. Fortunately, the last few pages were absolutely sublime. I actually found myself caring for a narrator I did not connect with in any way. That kind of made the whole thing worth it. :)

Book is the January selection for calico_reaction's Theme Park Book Club.