Charles Yu travels through time in Episode 24 of The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

Image for article titled Charles Yu travels through time in Episode 24 of The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, joins us this week on io9's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast to discuss time travel and parallel universes. Plus, what's the best time travel story ever?


The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy is hosted by John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley.

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Read on for this episode's fabulous SHOW NOTES!

0:00 Introduction by

0:25 Dave and John introduce themselves and the show

0:59 Dave Introduces Charles Yu and his novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe

2:22 Info about Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

Interview: Charles Yu

3:11 Interview Begins

3:25 What books inspired Yu to become a writer? They include Asimov's Foundation series and Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality


4:10 Yu's background as a "Director" of feature films

5:24 Yu's first book, Third Class Superhero

6:16 Yu describes his short fiction

7:48 Memorable rejection letters

8:48 The rules of time travel in How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe


10:35 The setting in How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe

12:10 How much research goes into Yu's work.

14:05 The similarities and differences between Charles Yu the writer and Charles Yu the protagonist of How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe


15:47 Any seconds thoughts about naming a character after himself?

17:07 Favorite time travel stories?

19:40 Douglas Adams?

20:08 Any non-Science Fiction novels that might appeal to Science Fiction readers? George Saunders' Pastoralia & CivilWarLand in Bad Decline.


20:34 "Standard Loneliness Package," Yu's story in Lightspeed Magazine

22:14 What is Yu working on now and in the future?

23:15 End of Interview

23:35 Ad spot for The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan

24:36 David and John talk about their favorite time travel tales

24:43 The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

26:26 The Dying Earth sub-genre of Science Fiction

26:54 "Robot Dreams" by Isaac Asimov

28:20 What makes a time travel story believable?

28:43 "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury

29:05 Repercussions of time travel

30:29 Wouldn't time travel drop you off in deep Space?

30:15 Clark Ashton Smith's "The Letter from Mohaun Los"

31:43 Can you travel backward in time? Or just forward?

32:38 The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells

33:54 "The Marching Morons" by Cyril M. Kornbluth and the film Idiocracy

35:24 Starplex by Robert J. Sawyer

36:25 Dave explains how to meet a time traveler!

37:45 Twelve Monkeys

39:01 Millennium, a film based on a short story by John Varley called "Air Raid"

40:00 Changing the past

40:29 Freejack

41:11 Stephen Hawking's theory on time travel. If time travel exists, why haven't we met any time travellers?


42:31 "What year is it?!"

43:43 Have you ever run into a time traveler? Is so, email us at


44:20 Donnie Darko. Does anyone understand it?

46:21 The director's cut of Donnie Darko

46:48 Ad spot for Blackout Connie Willis

48:33 John and Dave discuss the Back to the Future film trilogy

49:34 Flux Capacitors! Find out if Dave was able to convince his dad to build one.


51:11 Should the DeLorean have had an extension cable?

51:26 Poor George McFly

52:37 Doc Brown's pet Chimpanzee? Spaceman from Pluto? Video pirates? Refrigerator time machines? Wait, what?


53:47 Back to the Future: Part II and its plot holes

55:27 The Back to the Future animated series

55:46 Telltale Games' Back to the Future computer game

56:03 A DeLorean mod for Crysis (PC Game)


56:38 Are hoverboards real?

57:06 Back to the Future: Part II is just 4 years away!

57:17 When real life catches up with the predictions made in time travel stories

58:15 John doesn't think they don't use cassette tapes in the future

59:03 David wraps things up with an excerpt from The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

1:00:33 Thanks for listening!

Image for article titled Charles Yu travels through time in Episode 24 of The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

John Joseph Adams is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the bestselling editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, andWastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. His most recent books are The Living Dead 2 and The Way of the Wizard, and he is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds and The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. Barnes & named him "the reigning king of the anthology world," and his books have been named to numerous best of the year lists. In addition to his anthology work, he worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,and is currently the editor of Lightspeed Magazine and Fantasy Magazine.

Image for article titled Charles Yu travels through time in Episode 24 of The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

David Barr Kirtley has published fiction in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Lightspeed,Intergalactic Medicine Show, On Spec, and Cicada, and in anthologies such as New Voices in Science Fiction,Fantasy: The Best of the Year, and The Dragon Done It. Recently he's contributed stories to several of John's anthologies, including The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, and The Way of the Wizard. He's attended numerous writing workshops, including Clarion, Odyssey, Viable Paradise, James Gunn's Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and Orson Scott Card's Writers Bootcamp, and he holds an MFA in screenwriting and fiction from the University of Southern California. He also teaches regularly at Alpha, a Pittsburgh-area science fiction workshop for young writers. He lives in New York.

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Hey, what happened with all PKDick tales about time travel, or in general, messing with time?

Probably one of my prefered time travel stories from him is Medler, a.k.a. how to end humanity with blue butterflies if we dare to watch the future.

But have a lot of other nice ones... in The Skull, goes with the idea that you can't change the past, just make sure it is exactly how its supposed to be (in 12 monkeys the idea is more or less similar). And in The Golden Man (massacred by Nick Cage in the Next movie) the main character wasnt able to go to the future or the past, just see what possible futures could happen, and pick the right path with his actions (ok, you don't travel to the past there, but information does, and that it from all possible futures adds an extra twist).

And from an unrelated author, finally could get Pratchett's Night Watch, that should count as a nice time travel story too.