Link: Best of April 2011 in Audible.com SFF: Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Charles Yu’s short September 2010 novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (Pantheon) finally arrived at Audible.com in April 2011, courtesy of a Recorded Brooks production of a James Yaegashi narration, and it’s my pick for Audible.com’s best Science Fiction and Fantasy release of April 2011.
On to the publisher summary:
Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time travel is serious business. Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do: change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician—part counselor, part gadget repair man—steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls or consoling his boss, Phil, who could really use an upgrade, Yu visits his mother (stuck in a one-hour cycle of time, she makes dinner over and over and over) and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Accompanied by TAMMY, an operating system with low self-esteem, and Ed, a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog, Yu sets out, and back, and beyond, in order to find the one day where he and his father can meet in memory. He learns that the key may be found in a book he got from his future self. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and he’s the author. And somewhere inside it is the information that could help him—in fact it may even save his life.
Yaegashi nails it, where “it” is the voice of this strange, self-referential, trope-playing book-within-a-book-within-a-book of time travel, fathers and sons, virtual dogs, and choosing to choose.
ALSO IN APRIL:
- New productions of the entire Hammer’s Slammers series by David Drake, narrated by Stefan Rudnick (Audible Frontiers): The Sharp End, Paying the Piper, Counting the Cost & The Warrior, and At Any Price & Rolling Hot
- Glasshouse by Charles Stross continues the Recorded Books productions of Stross’s previously published books, removing them one at a time from the “Where’s the audiobook?” list; earlier in the month it did the same for Stross’s The Fuller Memorandum
- The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (1989), narrated by Simon Vance (Blackstone Audio)
- The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1954), narrated by Bronson Pinchot (Blackstone Audio)
- WWW: Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer (Audible Frontiers) continues Sawyer’s award-winning WWW series
- The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth tells the story of Nathaniel Cade, who has been protecting US presidents for 140 years, “the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios”
- Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier by Jack Campbell
- Born of Shadows by Sherrilyn Kenyon
- The Alchemy of Desire by Crista McHugh is a steampunk magic western post Civil War Dakota Territory … thing?
- Orion and King Arthur by Ben Bova, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
- A Kingdom Besieged: Book One of the Chaoswar Saga sees Raymond Feist return to the world of Riftwar
- Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1 by Kevin Hearne
- Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux concerns some folks including the eponymous blogger trapped in a bookstore when the inevitable happens
- Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez is couch-crashing pantheon humor; Monster: A Novel is, well, hard to describe; The Automatic Detective and Too Many Curses round out a busy month for Martinez
- Entangled by Graham Hancock sees a nonfiction author (Hancock, not a character!) putting their research into fantasy motion, timeslipping between modern California and Brazil and ancient Spain
- Shadow Chaser: Chronicles of Siala, Book 2 by Alexey Pehov is Russian epic fantasy
- Dragon Blood: The Hurog Duology, Book 2 is by Patricia Briggs
- Time and Again is Jack Finney’s 1995 novel of time travel, history, and romance (and From Time to Time is the sequel, also out this month)
- City of Fallen Angels: The Mortal Instruments, Book 4 by Cassandra Clare (YA)
- Daybreak Zero by narrated by Susan Ericksen
- Collection: Crack in the Door by Brian D’eon, narrated by the author
- Short: Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and Must Scream appears as the first volume in his The Voice from the Edge series; a bit longer is Volume Two: Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral
- Non-genre alert! The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, published posthumously by Hachette Audio.
- Dark Magick: The Sweep Series, Book 4 by narrated by
SEEN BUT NOT HEARD:
- The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates (Solaris Books)
- The Unremembered: Book One of The Vault of Heaven by Peter Orullian (Tor)
- The White Luck Warrior: The Aspect Emperor, Book 2 by R. Scott Bakker (Overlook)
- The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and the Coin) by Daniel Abraham (Orbit)
- Sea of Ghosts (Gravedigger Chronicles 1) by Alan Campbell (Macmillan) (discovered via Cybermage)
- All the Lives He Led: A Novel by Frederik Pohl (Tor) (update: Audible Frontiers audio read by Oliver Wyman, August 2011)
- Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar (Angry Robot) continues the story of Tidhar’s September 2010 novel The Bookman and joins it on the Most Wanted list
- Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
- Anthology: Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier edited by Jonathan Strahan
- The Hidden Goddess
- by Adrian Tchaikovsky
- Equations of Life by Simon Morden (Orbit, April 1) — update: audiobook from Recorded Books available on August 25, narrated by Toby Leonard Moore
- Non-Genre? There Is No Year: A Novel by Blake Butler (Harper Perennial, Apr 5, 2011)
Note: this post is back-dated from June 21, 2011, for sort order purposes.