James Koppen's Reviews > Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
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's review
Oct 02, 2012

really liked it
Read from October 02 to 05, 2012 — I own a copy

This was a fun, fast read. As anyone familiar with Robin's internet presence knows, he has a lot of geeky energy for old and new media. That all comes out in his debut novel. It's a somewhat meta enterprise: a book about books and the people who care deeply about them, with obsessive focus on the evolution of reading technology. Robin knows his stuff, which is a great strength for this book, but also distracting in a way. Neither the book's title character nor the narrator who works for him are fleshed out enough to really obscure Robin's personality. And that is fine, it just means that this book doesn't feel much like a novel, but rather like a long, informal, celebratory think-piece. Basically, it feels like fan fiction about stories and their vehicles. And very much an artifact of the now, intoxicated with the internet and how it is reshaping the cultural landscape. It also has a great jacket that glows in the dark and looks like someone wrote on it with Sharpie and pencil. Congratulations to Robin on his accomplishment. It's been fun watching him grow, from reading him on SnarkMarket and thinking he was a she, to finding out otherwise through Twitter and exchanging some friendly words. I'm sure this is only a sign of things to come.
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10/02/2012 page 33
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