From Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, the story of Mr. Penumbra's first trip to San Francisco—and of how he got entangled with the city's most unusual always-open enterprise…
It is August 1969. The Summer of Love is a fading memory. The streets of San Francisco pulse to the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Marvin Gaye. And of jackhammers: A futuristic pyramid of a skyscraper is rising a few blocks from City Lights bookstore and an unprecedented subway tunnel is being built under the bay. Meanwhile, south of the city, orchards are quickly giving way to a brand-new industry built on silicon.
But young Ajax Penumbra has not arrived in San Francisco looking for free love or a glimpse of the technological future. He is seeking a book—the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. The last record of the book locates it in the San Francisco of more than a century earlier, and on that scant bit of evidence, Penumbra's university has dispatched him west to acquire it for their library. After a few weeks of rigorous hunting, Penumbra feels no closer to his goal than when he started. But late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles across a 24-hour bookstore, and the possibilities before him expand exponentially . . .
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Alex Penumbra 1969
This short story is a prequel to Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. You will be much more able to appreciate the story if you read that novel first. There are many interesting references to the novel including a handful of ancestors whose links to their descendants in the novel are not explained yet. Hopefully, they are meant to be explained in a new Penumbra novel that is yet to come!
If you enjoyed 24 Hour Bookstore, you will enjoy 1969.
A quiet marvel
A fitting prequel to Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. (Read that first, though, or you'll miss half the context.) As with his other efforts, Sloan's prose is charming, elegant and effortless in just the sort of way that implies how much actual *effort* was involved in its crafting.
A wonderful and quick adventure
If you enjoyed Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore, reading this short prequel is a no-brainer. A fun adventure of Mr. Penumbra's early beginnings in San Francisco, as well as a snapshot of Bay Area history, the story fits much in in its few pages. Wonderful.