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Sorry Please Thank You: Stories (2012)
by Charles Yu
Books Read in 2018 (494)
Books Read in 2020 (1,105)
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Quirky, creative short stories, a combo of Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang and George Saunders, with similar 10 Minutes in the Futurism... ( )
You know how it is when you stumble onto the work of a writer you’ve never read before and by the time your only pages into the book, you pretty much know you’ve committed yourself to picking up whatever else comes along from this author. That’s what smacked me upside the head when a couple of years ago I dove into Charles Yu’s debut novel, [b:How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|7726420|How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|Charles Yu|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320449300s/7726420.jpg|10491121]. And now Charles Yu is back with Sorry Please Thank You, his second (after Third Class Superhero, 2006) collection of short stories, a mind-bending collection of speculative postmodernism that is worthy of your attention.
A very nice selection of science fiction stories. I really liked Hero Absorbs Major Damage (a D&D short story) and Note To Self (meeting himself and himselfs in multiple dimensions). Oh, there was even a story about Yeoman Red Shirt. Sorry Please Thank You (the final short story) had a real effect on me, I guess for more personal reasons. A very good read.
I'm still not sure how I feel about this collection, as a whole. If you've read Yu's novel, [b:How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|7726420|How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|Charles Yu|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320449300s/7726420.jpg|10491121], what he serves up here won't surprise: surreal, experimental, with pop-culture and scifi influences. And yet.
Most of these stories seem to be riffing off the same chords: living in reality, mediated and/or sanitized experiences. I feel like, in writing the first story "Standard Loneliness Package," Yu has said pretty much everything, and the rest of the book just puts it a different way. I might also be a little jaded because one of the stories has been done more effectively by John Scalzi in [b:Redshirts|13055592|Redshirts|John Scalzi|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348617890s/13055592.jpg|18130445]: "Yeoman."
This was a fun anthology, but it just isn't sticking to me.
I've finally come to like short stories and this book has one of my all time favorites, "Hero Absorbs Major Damage", a first person narrative about an action hero in a video game. (He's more sensitive than he looks and is struggling with some existential issues.) Also loved "Designer Emotion 47" a snarky/hilarious shareholder's report given by a CEO who'd fit in with the 'Wolf of Wall Street' gang. Most of the other stories are gems too, just not quite the diamonds these are.
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"Drawing from both pop culture and science, Charles Yu is an observer of contemporary society, and in Sorry Please Thank You he fills his stories with equal parts humor and insight into the human condition. 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"--From publisher description.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.