Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to live safely in a science fiction universe

The protagonist is a time machine technician whose father had helped to invent time machines. He is interested in finding more about his father. They inhabit a world that is kind of like are world, but is also a science fiction world. They also know it is a science fiction world. It seems like a cool concept. As a repair guy he gets a lot of work from people that are trying to change their past. However, they can't do that, and all they usually do is relive the worst events of the past. On one visit, he gets out of the time machine, sees a future version of himself and shoots him. He is now worried that he may be stuck in a time loop, and much of the book is spent trying to come to terms with himself and his family and figure out the message from his future self. Eventually he writes the book that he has written and comes to terms with his family. And then he comes to the event where he will get stuck in the "loop". But it turns out he didn't die after all, and he can go on with his life.

I wanted to like this book. I loved the "self-aware" science fiction approach. The characters are often quoting from a book "how to live safely in a science fiction universe." The world they inhabit can be at time just like ours, and other times a totally unique science fiction world. All of this had great potential. However, I had trouble getting engaged with the characters and the plot. The people and the things they did seemed to be just a mechanism for holding together the thoughts and insights. It almost worked.

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