Book Review: Robin Sloan ~ Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore (2012)

I’d read two books by favoured authors consecutively and had a Monty Python moment – I wanted something ‘completely different’. But what? So I did a search for an elusive ‘completely different’ book by putting key indicators into Mr Google. Out popped a few (ha-ha) suggestions which I filtered and, unusually, I read reviews for guidance. Normally I trust my own snap judgement. Reviews on this occasion were vital as a filter.

And I was richly rewarded. Sloan’s book is what I wanted: ‘Something completely different’. It’s fantasy mixed with irony, Google-world satire, San Francisco, and books, books, books! Museums, Kindle, ancient artefacts, Wit and Wisdom, obsession (I identified strongly with this) and joy. I loved it.

Try this:

Speed-dating for nerds,” she says. “They have one every month at Google. The male-to-female ratio is really good, or really bad. Depends who—”

You went to this.”

Yeah. I met a guy who programmed bots for a hedge fund. We dated for a while. He was really into rock-climbing. He had nice shoulders.”

Hmm.

But a cruel heart.” pp 57-58

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