Looks like Chris Columbus is sticking with books as inspiration for new movie ideas. About a month ago, we reported that he would be the executive producer for ‘Killer Pizza’, a novel by Greg Taylor. Now THR is reporting that he has acquired the film rights for ‘How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe’, the debut novel from Charles Yu.

The book is about a time travel machine repair man (who happens to also be named Charles Yu) and his attempt to find his father. Here’s the official book description from Amazon.com:

Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life.

The book has received numerous honors since its publication in September 2010 including Time Magazine’s Top 10 Fiction Books of 2010 and the New York Time’s 100 Notable Books of 2010 lists. Also impressive was the review written by Lev Grossman, author of ‘The Magicians’:

“How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is a triumph, as good as anything in Calvino or Stanislaw Lem. I wish I could travel back in time with a copy and fraudulently publish it under my own name. Like most people, I thought I learned everything I needed to know about time travel from H.G. Wells and Star Trek, but I thought wrong: In Yu’s skillful hands a worn-out science fiction plot device becomes a powerfully expressive metaphor for how we experience the flickering, ineffable, ungraspable spatio-temporal phenomenon of life. Because after all, we’re all time travelers, blundering forward into the future at the rate of one second per subjectively experienced second.”

Columbus will be sharing the producer’s hat with Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliff. They have also signed on Brendan Bellomo to direct. The name may not be familiar as this movie will mark his feature film debut. Bellomo is a New York University Film School graduate who produced, wrote and directed a cast and crew of over  170 volunteers for his live action sci-fi short called ‘Bohemibot’. The short earned him a bronze medal in the 2009 Student Academy Awards in the narrative category. You can watch a trailer for ‘Bohemibot’ and Bellomo’s director’s reel below.

The videos of Bellomo’s work is quite impressive and I can see why Columbus hired him on. I also like the fact that Columbus is looking at sci-fi books to adapt as there are so many good ones out there. It looks like I’ll have to add Yu’s book to my list!