Columbus Heads For Sci-Fi Universe

And teaches us how to live safely

If you're weeping bitter tears or weighed down with ennui at the news of the Starship Troopers remake, take heart from the fact that there are still some original projects out there. Exhibit A: Chris Columbus, through his 1492 Films banner, has just picked up the rights to the mind-bending How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe.

Charles Yu's debut novel takes place in a world where paradox is monitored like the FTSE100, and time travel is such a common commodity that it's barely under control. Yu's protagonist, whose name is Charles Yu, is a time machine repair man, counsellor and paradox unraveller, whose mother is stuck in a single hour of meal preparation. His father is the guy who invented time travel in the first place, but he then disappeared. Cue Yu's search for the single hour in which the two can coincide. He's helped in his quest by a depressed operating system called TAMMY, and a dog that doesn't exist. And along the way he's given a book by his future self, which he seems to have written, called How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe...

It sounds like Charlie Kaufman directing Primer by way of Douglas Adams, so there's a niggling suspicion that this is going to need to be considerably reined in and calmed down if it's actually going to successfully negotiate its way through Hollywood.

That said, Yu's novel rode the bestseller lists and picked up honourable mentions from both Time Magazine and The New York Times entirely under its own steam. And the first-time director wrestling the project will be Brendan Bellomo, a hotly-tipped NYU film graduate with a background in clever high-concept short films and VFX.

Columbus is producing with his 1492 partners Mark Radcliffe and Michael Barnathan, and the book is published in the UK by Corvus.