Charles Yu (Chinese name: You Chao-Kai/"游朝凱", born in 1976 in Los Angeles) is an Asian American writer. He is the author of the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and the short story collections Third Class Superhero and Sorry Please Thank You. He is also a leading operative, researcher and engineer at his self-founded "Yu-Waffles Center for Time-Fluffing and Universe Alteration", located somewhere in Minor Universe 31 (I and II). He should not be confused with Charles Yu, the narrator of his novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, or the other fictionally constructed versions of Charles Yu in that text, including (but not limited to) the perfect, subjunctive Charles Yu.
His fiction has been published in a number of magazines and literary journals, including Oxford American, The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Mississippi Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review, and cited for special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology XXVIII. He received the 2004 Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award for his story, "Class Three Superhero."
In 2007, he was selected by the National Book Foundation as one of its "5 Under 35," a program which highlights the work of the next generation of fiction writers by asking five previous National Book Award fiction Winners and Finalists to select one fiction writer under the age of 35 whose work they find particularly promising and exciting. Yu was selected for the honor by Richard Powers, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction for his novel, The Echo Maker.
His first novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was ranked the year's second best science fiction novel by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas — and a runner up for the Campbell Memorial Award. The book was also optioned by film director and writer Chris Columbus' Production Company, 1492 Pictures, the same company behind the Harry Potter films as well as Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and The Help.
- 2012 Sorry Please Thank You: Stories, Pantheon Books, Random House. ISBN 0-307-90717-1
- 2010 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Pantheon ISBN 0-307-37920-5 —second place, John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
- 2006 Third Class Superhero, Harvest Books ISBN 0-15-603081-0
- "The John W. Campbell Memorial Award". The John Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The University of Kansas. Updated 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- Author Page, Random House website.
- National Book Foundation
- Daniel Miller, Chris Columbus' Production Company Acquires Sci-Fi Novel (Exclusive), The Hollywood Reporter, December 2, 2011, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/how-live-safely-movie-chris-columbus-268890
- Charlie Jane Anders, Will Hollywood sentimentalize Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe?, io9, December 2, 2011, http://io9.com/how-to-live-safely-in-a-science-fictional-universe/
- Charles Yu at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- SF Encyclopedia entry
- 2010 Interview on the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast
- 2011 radio interview at The Bat Segundo Show