Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four-Hour Bookstore
September 11, 2009 9:36 AM   Subscribe

"Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four-Hour Bookstore," by Robin Sloan. 'A short story about recession, attraction, and data visualization.' (via Boing Boing)

A really nice short story with many choice turns of phrase. Despite having first found out about it from Boing Boing, after reading it, I thought it was just too good not to share with all of you.
posted by WCityMike (18 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Imagine the volume of a normal store turned on its side: It was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall. And the shelves went all the way up—five stories of booksto eleven.
posted by DU at 9:42 AM on September 11, 2009

I haven't read it yet, but: Here is an audio version of the story from one of my favorite podcasts, Escape Pod.
posted by JDHarper at 10:05 AM on September 11, 2009

Just listened to the audio version which is out this week on Escape Pod and really loved it!
posted by Captain_Science at 10:06 AM on September 11, 2009

Ha! Escape Pod looks awesome. Thanks!
posted by ocherdraco at 10:08 AM on September 11, 2009

I liked the primary device in this story, but every single other thing was a cliche from the weird old bookstore to the cute geek girl with the short, cute-but-boyish name. Still, I read until the end...
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on September 11, 2009

Wow, that was awesome. Mind-blowing, even. Great use of technology.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:13 AM on September 11, 2009

Ah, but the old weird bookstore was a cliche on purpose.

But yeah, Kat could have been less I-don't-know-if-I-want-to-marry-you-or-be-you. I work with computational linguists. Most are enthusiastically nerdy. Many are cute girls. None of their lips make a pretty shape when they say the word "corpus."
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

My kind of short story.
posted by Hobgoblin at 10:30 AM on September 11, 2009

I liked this a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on September 11, 2009

Cory loves it? Then I probably won't read it.
I realize how childish this sounds.
posted by Ratio at 11:13 AM on September 11, 2009

Cory loves it? Then I probably won't read it. (Ratio)

I feel you, man. Just remember, it's usually only the actually awesome things that Cory likes that make it off BoingBoing. So if you find out about it somewhere else, all it means is that he is one of the many people that like it, not the only one.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:19 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is there an audio version somewhere?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:21 AM on September 11, 2009

I just heard it on escape pod. I thought it was just alright - it's the kind of writing that is infected by blog style speech; clever asides to the readers, sarcasm, references just for the sake of referencing something. Still, enjoyable for the story. Also, I just discovered escape pod this week, it's wonderful.
posted by Think_Long at 11:47 AM on September 11, 2009

It's not the best short story I've ever read, but I liked enough about it to start poking around the guy's website a little. Found this interesting use for Google AdWords, and an inventive way to drum up support for his new writing project.

I like this guy.
posted by phatkitten at 2:25 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is good. Ditto phatkitten—I did the same thing after reading this.
posted by limeonaire at 8:21 PM on September 11, 2009

This is winsome and charming, but the message seems to be 'the age of the book is over, the age of Google is beginning', and I find that .. depressing.
posted by verstegan at 6:41 AM on September 12, 2009

I don't understand how reading certain books from a certain bookstore in a certain order and wearing certain clothes make the men live "forever." It was OK for a quick 10-minute read, but I didn't really connect. Spoiler alert, I guess.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:45 AM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I liked it. Thanks for posting it.
posted by saucysault at 9:13 PM on September 12, 2009

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