Sorry Please Thank You
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Uncorrected Bound Galley
Charles Yu’s much too slim volume of short stories Sorry Please Thank You is a humorous romp through a wide range of Science Fiction stories and is the perfect platform for Yu’s sense of comedy, command of the language, alternative universe building and speculative fiction skills. So, like the book my review will be much too brief yet hopefully entertaining.
Not every story here is a gem but at least five, maybe six, of the 13 (some of which have appeared elsewhere) are exceptional and definitely worth the read. My favorite stories include “Standard Loneliness Package”, “First Person Shooter”, “Hero Absorbs Major Damage”, and “Yeoman.” I’ve taken this opportunity to record the table of contents below and, following the titles, have included my take on each of the stories.
1. Standard Loneliness Package – What if someone paid you to feel their pain, their guilt, or attend that funeral no one really wanted to go to? What if that funeral was for a child?
2. First Person Shooter – How would you handle a zombie roaming around your store? What if she was primping for a date? (Note: Shotgun is a perfectly acceptable answer.) [P. S. The complete story can be found by clicking here – First Person Shooter ]
3. Troubleshooting – How to be successful in a wish machine universe… A step-by-step guide on how to make winning choices.
1. Hero Absorbs Major Damage – Exceptional story about love, life, and getting whacked hard enough to take Major Damage. Hero dead. Game Over.
2. Human For Beginners – Bizarre and weird and strange and bizarre… did I say bizarre. Extended family relations, indeed.
3. Inventory – “It’s hard to have a relationship in this world. Other people are not the same from day to day.”
4. Open – Be wary of the alternative universe that advertises itself… especially if your relationship is suffering.
5. Note To Self – Alternate universe “us’s” hold an unusual discussion. And, as usual, we still don’t understand myself.
1. Yeoman – Sometimes a guy in a red shirt is just a guy in a red shirt (or Kama Sutra and other things to do with goop.)
2. Designer Emotion 67 – A transcript of PharmaLife, Inc.'s annual report to shareholders in 2050 with interludes by the cocky (and very greedy) CEO. Major hilarity ensues…
3. The Book of Categories – Contains no less than 3,739,164 pages (and counting.)
Also included in the anthology Thackeray T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.
4. Adult Contemporary – Narrating one’s own life.
ALL OF THE ABOVE
1. Sorry Please Thank You – A suicide note on a bar napkin - a melancholy hymn of loneliness and a perfect end to the collection.
3 ½ out of 5 stars
The Alternative One