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Chris Columbus Will Figure Out ‘How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe’

Posted by , on December 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm 

THR broke the story today that 1492 Pictures, the production company owned by everyone’s “favorite” director Chris Columbus, has acquired the film rights to Charles Yu‘s novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Here’s the plot of the 2010 novel according to Amazon:

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.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was Yu’s debut novel and received tremendous reviews, even ending up on Time’s Top 10 Fiction Books of 2010 as well as one of the books listed in the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2010. Columbus and  partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce, and Brendan Bellomo has been tapped to direct, which will be his debut as a feature film director (he’s done a host of shorts).

The novel certainly sounds interesting, but I don’t know how well it would come off on screen. Seems like the sort of concept that would require dialogue comprised of entirely exposition. I’m definitely on board though as long as it doesn’t get dumbed down. Let its freak flag fly, I say!

Have you read How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe? If so would it make a good movie or should it stay on the page?


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