The author of the widely praised debut novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe returns with a hilarious, heartbreaking, and utterly original collection of short stories.
A big-box store employee is confronted by a zombie during the graveyard shift, a problem that pales in comparison to his inability to ask a coworker out on a date . . . A fighter leads his band of virtual warriors, thieves, and wizards across a deadly computer-generated landscape, but does he have what it takes to be a hero? . . . A company outsources grief for profit, its slogan: “Don’t feel like having a bad day? Let someone else have it for you.”
Drawing from both pop culture and science, Charles Yu is a brilliant observer of contemporary society, and in Sorry Please Thank You he fills his stories with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and piercing insight into the human condition. He has already garnered comparisons to such masters as Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, and in this new collection we have resounding proof that he has arrived (via a wormhole in space-time) as a major new voice in American fiction.
About Charles Yu
Charles Yu is the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award for his story collection Third Class Superhero, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. His work has been published in The New York Times, Playboy, and Slate, among other periodicals. Yu lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Michelle, and their two children.
Using various narrative strategies (though all but one of these 13 stories is written in the first person), Yu explores provisional identities (including those of a character named Charles Yu) in multiple universes, typically employing a conversational style that makes for easy reading even when the themes are troubling or the formalistic elements challenging. In one story, “Note to Self,” a writer begins writing “Dear Alternate Self,” before the response he receives suggests that his alternate self may simply be another dimension of himself, and then, later, that the person to whom he’s actually writing is the reader: “We are correspondents corresponding in our corresponding universes. Is that what writing is? A collaboration between selves across the multiverse?” Where some stories just seem like gamesmanship, literary parlor tricks, one of the shorter and best ones, “Open,” strikes an existential chord in its meditation on words and what they signify, in its epiphany that “It was like we were actors in a play with no audience.” A couple stories offer heroic epics for the video game generation, while the longest, “Human For Beginners,” begins as a chapter in a self-help book on dynamics within extended families, proceeds into an inquiry on the identity of Charles Yu, and culminates in unanswerable questions such as “What is possible? What is conceivable? Do all worlds have rules? Do dreams?” – Kirkus Reviews
Experimental Fiction At Its Finest — And Funniest
NPR Book Review – July 24, 2012 (Excerpt)
Experimental fiction in North America began with a genius of a doyen in Paris: Gertrude Stein, whose aesthetic assertion that writers shape and form and reform the medium of language the way sculptors work with stone, painters work with light and shape and composers work with sound, changed Hemingway forever and, thus, changed the nature of the American short story — or the American art story, at least.
So much for the Irish storywriter Frank O’Connor’s waggish remark — leading from the strength of his strong realist tendencies — that experimental writing is “what looks funny on the page.” O’Connor meant us to think of “funny” as odd, curious and not very rewarding. But if you think of the founding father of the experimental novel, patriarch Jimmy Joyce, funny on the page in Ulysses often meant funny ha-ha, as well as dramatically comical, mood-transforming and thought-provoking.
By both standards, one dismissive and the other adulatory,Sorry Please Thank You, Charles Yu’s latest collection of short fiction, seems experimental and, at the same time — not always true of the experimental fiction in our time — wonderfully and often comically pleasing, even as it provokes and transforms. I don’t know that there’s a better story-bending talent at work than Yu since the rise of George Saunders. [Read the full article...]
In a Galaxy Not Far Away - ‘Sorry Please Thank You,’ by Charles Yu
The New York Times Book Review – October 26, 2012 (Excerpt)
The useful but terrible thing about growing up with geek culture is that it teaches you very early on that everything is fake. Science-fiction stories and computer games and fantasy movies build blatantly imaginary worlds that can be mapped onto the real one. But spend enough time with them and you start wondering what’s “real,” anyway, and how many of your own experiences and desires are actually a sham.
This is the central anxiety in Charles Yu’s second collection, “Sorry Please Thank You.” The stories approximate the form of science fiction but are mostly an excuse to grapple with the question of what, if anything, can still have meaning when our world seems indistinguishable from science fiction. (Yu’s answer tends to be: familial and romantic love, but only to a point.) The book’s opening story, “Standard Loneliness Package,” gets that idea across with a wicked satirical backhand — it’s narrated by a young man working at an office in India whose employees’ job is to experience painful emotions outsourced by wealthy first worlders. (“Death of a cousin is five hundred,” he notes. “Death of a sibling is twelve fifty.”) [Read the full article...]
UnBound: Battle of the Half-Angels
The Nephillim Chronicles – Book One by Ronnie Massey
Justin and Theo are just normal teenagers with their teenage problems, until the day they meet their biological fathers, Michael and Uriel, two of the few remaining archangels. They learn, they are nephillim, the half human offspring of angels, and they learn they are not the only ones. In the days of old, nephillim walked the earth. Now heaven’s misfits may be all that stands between mankind and the wrath of Lucifer and the Fallen. But how will a handful of teenagers react when they find out, not only are they not human, but they are the most powerful soldiers in heaven’s army? How will they deal with their newly found powers? And will they be able to stop Lucifer?
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
FrogenYozurt.com may generate ad income and accept advertising/ads and links. Paid entries are marked as “Paid Articles.” Entries describing a product (book reviews, etc.) may contain descriptions provided by the manufacturer or other sources (Amazon.Com, etc.).
All entries marked as "Satire" may refer to actual persons or events, however, the content is of a satirical nature based on the writers' personal views and should not be taken seriously. All other entries reflect personal opinions on various topics.
All content on this website has been posted under the impression that they do not infringe any copyrights. However, if this site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner, we believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Should you suspect a copyright infringement or any other legal issues with posts on this website, please contact the editor through the contact form as indicated on the top navigation bar, and we will remove the post immediately. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.