Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)

By Robin Sloan

Rating: 3 stars

I heard the short story of the same name as this novel on the Escape Pod podcast some time ago. It was a quirky and fun story which I enjoyed, so when I heard that the author had expanded it into a full novel, I was intrigued.

The novel retains many elements from the story, but takes them in different directions. The biggest change, perhaps, is the excision of any supernatural elements, which was a bit of a disappointment for me, but the expansion of the relationships, particularly between Mr Penumbra and our protagonist (Clay Jannon in the book, I think unnamed in the story) was nice.

There’s also a feeling of almost hero-worship regarding Google. This feels a bit weird to me, now that “don’t be evil” seems to have been left behind in pursuit of the usual corporate agenda and sucking up every possible datum about its users.

The mystery at the heart of the book is interesting and the resolution is nice. It’s also nice to read a novel in which typography features prominently.

Book details

ISBN: 9781782391197
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Year of publication: 2012

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